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North Carolina Speaker Ban Collection

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 0097

Scope and Contents

The North Carolina Speaker Ban Collection dates from 1965 to 1988 and contains depositions, exhibits, testimonies and other documents from judicial hearings.

Dates

  • 1965 - 1988

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

The North Carolina General Assembly passed the North Carolina Speaker Ban Law on June 26, 1963. The law forbade known members of the Communist Party and individuals who had invoked the fifth amendment in connection with congressional investigations of communist activities from speaking on any of the campuses of the University of North Carolina.

Many students and faculty members at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) opposed the speaker ban law. They invited Herbert Aptheker (an outspoken, self-described communist) and Frank Wilkinson (a well-known critic of the House Un-American Activities Committee) to speak on their campus.

UNC-CH Chancellor Joseph Carlyle ("Lyle") Sitterson denied the students' request to allow Aptheker and Wilkinson to speak on campus. This denial was used as the basis for a lawsuit that resulted in a U.S. District Court in Greensboro, North Carolina overturning the speaker ban law in 1968.

Extent

1.50 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

The North Carolina Speaker Ban Law was passed in 1963 to forbid communists from speaking on any of the campuses of the University of North Carolina. Students and faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill opposed the law and requested permission to invite controversial speakers Herbert Aptheker and Frank Wilkinson to their campus. Chancellor Joseph Carlyle Sitterson denied the request, which was used as the basis of a lawsuit that resulted in a U.S. District Court in Greensboro, North Carolina overturning the law in 1968.

The North Carolina Speaker Ban Collection dates from 1965 to1988 and contains depositions, exhibits, testimonies and other documents from judicial hearings.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in 3 series: 1. Court documents; 2. Hearings Before the Speaker-Ban Study Commission transcripts; and 3. Audio recordings of interviews.

Method of Acquisition

These materials were gathered by librarian Charles M. Adams with the assistance of McNeill Smith and others.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at scua@uncg.edu if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff.
Title
North Carolina Speaker Ban Collection
Author
Archives staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
eng

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Contact:
P.O. Box 26170
320 College Ave.
Greensboro NC 27402-6170 US
336-334-5246