NC State University  | campus directory  |  libraries  |  mypack portal  |  campus map  |  search

Posts tagged: diversity

Jun 28 2017

Wolf Tales 2016-2017 Diversity Mini-Grant Wraps Up

Participants in Wolf Tales recordings made possible through the 2016-2017 Diversity Mini-Grant.

Participants in Wolf Tales recordings made possible through an NCSU OIED 2016-2017 Diversity Mini-Grant.

Wolf Tales has wrapped up a busy and productive spring thanks to funding from an NCSU Office for Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED) 2016-2017 Diversity Mini-Grant, supporting partnerships and recording events to create a more diverse and inclusive picture of our community in the archives.

Beginning in December 2016, the Wolf Tales team began targeted outreach to campus groups and student organizations to build awareness of the mobile video oral history program, and to plan recordings at major events throughout the spring of 2017.  With the planning and partnerships underway, Wolf Tales brought recording stations to 6 different events, capturing a total of 31 recordings with 44 participants in March and April 2017.  Events included student group EKTAA’s Oak City Revolution South Asian dance competition, Native American Student Affairs’s NCSU Pow Wow, the GLBT Center’s Lavender Graduation, and the Ebony Harlem Awards of Excellence Celebration presented each by the African American Cultural Center in conjunction with the Department of Multicultural Student Affairs, in addition to two open recording days in the Talley Student Union where all members of the NCSU community were invited to participate.

These partnerships and outreach allowed Wolf Tales to capture an increasingly diverse and inclusive range of stories and voices now documented in the archives, representing GLBT, Latinx, South Asian, East Asian, African American, Muslim, Native American, and other communities. The recordings will be a resource for research and teaching about NC State history and about issues around diversity within the campus community, as an important foundation of a collection that will continue to grow in the years to come.

Many of the recordings from the Diversity Mini-Grant period are currently available online as part of the Wolf Tales digital archive, with more on the way!  Recordings are shared through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections site, so stay tuned as more become available in the future.  For more information on the Wolf Tales program or to discuss a partnership please contact

Jan 23 2017

Wolf Tales Receives 2016-2017 Diversity Mini-Grant

We’re happy to announce that the SCRC’s mobile oral history program, Wolf Tales, has received a 2016-2017 Diversity Mini-Grant from the NCSU Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity (OIED). As described in this announcement from NCSU Libraries, the grant will support focused outreach to campus groups to document the voices of historically underrepresented students at NC State.

Shima Idries and Shamms DiarBakerli, Wolf Tales recording, 5 May 2016

Shima Idries and Shamms DiarBakerli, Wolf Tales recording, 5 May 2016

In its first year Wolf Tales has captured 41 recordings with a diverse range of voices, from current students to alumni of the class of 1943. The Wolf Tales video recordings and transcripts are archived and shared online through the Libraries’ Rare & Unique Digital Collections site. The Libraries has brought Wolf Tales recording stations to events ranging from annual reunions of the NCSU Alumni Association to “open days” in the Libraries where participants are invited to sit down individually or in groups of 2-3 people to make a 10-20 minute recording.

Student and alumni participants in the first year of Wolf Tales recordings.

Student and alumni participants in the first year of Wolf Tales recordings.

Having partnered with the African American Cultural Center to record student and alumni voices at Harambee! 2016, Wolf Tales will work with other campus organizations that support current and former students whose experiences have not been fully represented in written documentation, including in African American, LGBT, military veteran, Muslim, Latinx, and Native American communities.

Elwood and Diane Hill Becton, at the African American Cultural Center's Harambee 2016, 8 September 2016

Elwood and Diane Hill Becton, at the African American Cultural Center's Harambee 2016, 8 September 2016

Cynthia M. Sharpe, Destinie Statum, and Jakini Kauba at Harambee! 2016, 8 September 2016

Cynthia M. Sharpe, Destinie Statum, and Jakini Kauba at Harambee! 2016, 8 September 2016

Plans are currently underway to bring Wolf Tales to the GLBT Center’s Lavender Graduation in April 2017 to gather stories of the experiences of GLBT students and their allies. Wolf Tales plans to extend this framework to other underrepresented voices through partnerships with other OIED units and student groups to create a more diverse, inclusive record and to prevent future silences in the archives.

If you’re interested in making a recording or discussing a possible partnership with Wolf Tales, please contact, and visit the Wolf Tales website for more information. We are actively seeking partners and would love to hear from you!

Oct 17 2016

New GLBT Timeline

Special Collections has recently created a new timeline showing the history of NC State’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community. The timeline shows important events and milestones since the 1970s.

The timeline reveals the various student groups that have existed throughout this time period to support and promote the GLBT community.  In the 1980s there was the NC State Gay Community, and in 1990s the Lesbian and Gay Student Union.  In the late 1990s Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian and Allies (BGLA) became active, and since 2007 there has been an NC State chapter of AEGIS (Accepting and Embracing Gender Identity and Sexuality). These groups have brought attention to and support for the GLBT community through such activities as Blue Jeans Days, Gay Awareness Days, and various rallies, as well as such programs as Project Safe.

The timeline shows the evolution of GLBT inclusion in the university’s non-discrimination policy.  In 1991 official university statements only went so far as to state that sexual orientation would not be relevant to educational and employment decisions.  By 1998, sexual orientation was considered a factor in making a diverse student body.  In 2003 the university included sexual orientation in its Equal Opportunity and Non-Discrimination Policy Statement, and in 2012 it added gender identity and gender expression.

Such milestones as the GLBT Center’s creation in 2008 and the first Lavender Graduation in 2009 are included in the timeline, as is recent campus reaction to HB2.

The GLBT timeline has been created as NC State celebrates Diversity Education Week this week.  You may also be interested in looking at the timelines showing the history of African Americans and women on our campus.  Additional timelines and other resources on university history exist on our Historical State website.

Mar 14 2016

Enhancing Research on Women in STEM

In honor of Women’s History Month, two NCSU Libraries Fellows, Heidi Tebbe and Virginia Ferris, organized an event at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library, co-sponsored by Kathy Titus-Becker and the WISE Village, using the iPearl Immersion Theater to demonstrate how resources at the NCSU Libraries can assist researchers and others wanting to learn more about the legacy of women in STEM at NC State, from its earliest pioneers to today.

SCRC materials highlighted in a visualization in the iPearl Immersion Theatre at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.

SCRC materials highlighted in a visualization in the iPearl Immersion Theater at the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.

Dr. Christine Grant, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Special Initiatives in the College of Engineering at NC State, gave introductory remarks on the importance of advocacy and mentoring to increase diversity in the STEM fields. Dr. Grant became the first African American woman to join the faculty of the College of Engineering at NC State when she arrived in the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1989. In addition to being a leader in her field she is widely recognized for broadening the participation, promotion, and retention of underrepresented minorities in STEM. Dr. Grant is co-editor of the book Success Strategies From Women in STEM.

Dr. Christine Grant gives opening remarks.

Dr. Christine Grant gives opening remarks.

Following remarks in the Duke Energy Hall, Tebbe and Ferris debuted a visualization in the iPearl Immersion Theater, highlighting a selection of materials from key collections on women in STEM in the Special Collections Research Center, as well as more recent institutional data. The visualization featured materials from collections of pioneering women in the STEM fields at NC State, including Mary Yarbrough, Katharine Stinson, Gertrude Cox, Frances M. Richardson, and the NCSU Chapter of the Society of Women Engineers.

Included in these selections were photographs, documents, and oral history clips that offer insight into the experiences and perspectives of these early women leaders in STEM at NC State. A letter from Gertrude Cox offered words of encouragement to a young woman interested in entering the field of statistics in 1959:

The field of statistics is certainly wide open to women. If you are willing to take the mathematics and science courses and then work very hard to get beyond the junior level, there are all sorts of opportunities to go as far as you wish.

- Gertrude Cox, 1959

Katharine Stinson’s collection contains several oral history recordings that allow us to actually see and hear her tell her story, in her own voice.  She tells the story of meeting Amelia Earhart when she was a teenager working at an airport in Raleigh. When Stinson told Earhart that she wanted to become a pilot, Earhart told her to become an engineer instead, so she could be in charge of the planes that pilots flew. With this, Stinson made the decision that she would go to NC State to become an engineer.

Oral history with Katharine Stinson, conducted by Gene Nora Jessen, 1990.

Oral history with Katharine Stinson, conducted by Gene Nora Jessen, 1990.

The interview includes this story and the story of what happened when Stinson arrived at NC State to enroll in the College of Engineering:

After I graduated from high school, I found out that at North Carolina State University they taught Mechanical Engineering with an Aeronautical Option. So I went up to enroll in Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Option. When I got there – I guess I was sort of stupid – I didn’t notice that there weren’t any other girls around, but anyway.

When I got up to the place to enroll, this man looked up at me and said, ‘What are you doing here, little girl?’ And I said, ‘I’ve come here to enroll in engineering.’ He said, ‘Girls don’t go to school here. Girls don’t study engineering.’ I said, ‘Oh, I want to be an aeronautical engineer.’ And he said, ‘We don’t take girls here.’

- Katharine Stinson, oral history with Gene Nora Jessen, 1990

The man that Stinson refers to in this excerpt was the dean of the College of Engineering at the time, Wallace C. Riddick. Stinson went to Meredith College and in just one year she earned two years’ worth of academic credit. She returned to apply to NC State and was admitted in 1937 as the first woman student in Engineering. She graduated in 1941 and went on to become a founder of the Society of Women Engineers, the first woman woman engineer hired by the Civil Aeronautics Administration (now the FAA), and a lifelong advocate for women entering STEM fields.

The complete video oral history with Katharine Stinson, conducted by her colleague Gene Nora Jessen in 1990, is available online in our digitized collections.

While these materials and collections provide an important foundation for documenting this important history, it is an area where the SCRC continues to grow and build. Using the high technology spaces at the Hunt Library for this event allowed us to engage the NC State community to create greater awareness of what we have in our collections, and of our efforts to continue to build collections on women in STEM at NC State. We look forward to continuing to build partnerships with students, faculty, alumni, and other members of the community in our efforts to capture an increasingly inclusive and diverse record of the university.

Kathy Titus-Becker and students from the WISE Village discuss the visualization in the iPearl Immersion Theatre.

Kathy Titus-Becker and students from the WISE Village discuss the visualization in the iPearl Immersion Theatre.

Visit for information and resources related to research on women in STEM at NC State University, and contact us if you have questions or ideas about using or building upon these collections.

Feb 02 2016

Celebrating African American History Month: An Interview with Irwin Holmes

In 1956, four African American undergraduate students enrolled at North Carolina State University (or NC State College, as it was named at the time), marking the first early steps in desegregating the campus. Irwin Holmes, Walter Holmes, Ed Carson, and Manuel Crockett began their time as students here that fall, and in 1960 Irwin Holmes became the first African American undergraduate student to receive a degree from NC State, with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering.

Irwin Holmes, first African American athlete and undergraduate student to receive a degree from NC State.

Irwin Holmes, first African American athlete and undergraduate student to receive a degree from NC State.

As a student, Irwin Holmes made history by joining the tennis team, making his team the first integrated athletic team in NC State history. Holmes’ teammates also elected him co-captain of the tennis team his senior year, making him the first African American athletics team captain at NC State.

Mr. Holmes sat down with us to record an oral history interview in the fall of 2014. The interview is now online in our digital collections, where researchers can watch the full video interview and read the interview transcript to learn more about Mr. Holmes’ life and his experiences as a student at NC State.

Irwin Holmes' oral history interview in the SCRC's digital collections.

Irwin Holmes' oral history interview in the SCRC's digital collections.

In the interview, Mr. Holmes describes growing up in a vibrant African American community in Durham, where he says, “I grew up seeing that black people can do whatever they want to.” He describes then coming to NC State where he was the only African American student in all of his courses, with professors who in some cases refused to teach him because of the color of his skin. He also describes his tennis coach, Coach Kenfield, as an ally and mentor to him during his time as a student, and tells the story of his teammates walking out of a Chapel Hill restaurant that refused to serve him.

Mr. Holmes generously shared these stories and many others with us, helping to fill some of the gaps and silences about the experience of African Americans in the official records of the university during the early years of desegregation. Thanks to Mr. Holmes’ contribution to our ongoing efforts to document university history, researchers can better understand what it was like to be in the shoes of the first African American students on a previously all-white campus.

Learn more about Irwin Holmes and the history of African American students at NC State by exploring our digitized collections, Historical State Timeline, and Mr. Holmes’ interview online.

May 30 2012

Spotlight on Student Leaders: Ada Spencer

Contributed by Samantha Rich

When it comes to NC State history trivia, many students may be quick to identify Jane McKimmon and Mary Yarbrough as the first women to receive degrees from NC State. However, students may not be familiar with the name Ada Curtis Spencer, the first female to graduate from NC State after entering as a freshman.

Ada Spencer

Ada Spencer

Spencer, a Raleigh native, entered State College in 1926 as journalism student. As a freshman, Spencer donned the mandatory freshman cap and carried matches for upperclassmen alongside hundreds of male freshmen. Students soon realized that women like Spencer would one day become a major part of the student body. A 1929 Technician article declared, “Our campus is quickly becoming filled with co-eds. It will be only a matter of time until they will be as numerous as the boys.”

In 1929, only four campus buildings were equipped with “toilet facilities” for women, including D.H. Hill Library (now known as Brooks Hall) and Holladay Hall. In an effort to make female students feel more comfortable on campus, the college introduced a “rest room for women” in the Southeast Seminar room of the library in 1929. The rest room contained tables, “comfortable chairs,” and a mirror. Perhaps Spencer spent time in this room in between her classes or while preparing for an exam.

In 1929, the Technician noted that Ada Spencer was the “most popular co-ed” on campus. It is possible that Spencer’s popularity was linked to her stunning academic record and her involvement in student organizations. In the summer before her senior year, Spencer took summer courses at Columbia University where, according to Technician, she received an ‘A’ on all her coursework. Technician declared, “Such an achievement is regarded quite excellent, considering the standard of that university and that many teachers and professors of journalism strive for lesser grades.”

Spencer also was a pioneer of the State College Women’s Student Government, serving as the temporary chairman of the women’s government committee. According to Technician, “Miss Spencer was appointed as the head of the committee on choosing the flower, the motto, and also the name for the baby organization.” Ada Spencer was also a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society, the Leazar Literary Society, and Pine Burr honor society. At the time of Spencer’s graduation in 1930, approximately sixty female students were enrolled at NC State, most of who were enrolled in the School of Education or in the journalism program. Ada Spencer successfully paved the way for the thousands of women who have followed in her footsteps.

Technician (21 September 1929, 28 September 1929, 26 October 1929)

Feb 29 2012

State College’s Response to the Greensboro Sit-ins

Contributed by Samantha Rich

On February 1, 1960, four African American college students sat down at a lunch counter in Greensboro, NC and politely asked for service. After employees refused to meet their requests, they remained in their seats. Their passive resistance ignited a student-led movement across the South challenging racial inequalities.

Stokely Carmichael

Activist Stokely Carmichael speaks on NC State's campus in the 1960s. The civil rights movement was slow to take hold at NC State.

While articles describing the events of that February day appeared in newspapers across the state, NC State College’s Technician remained silent on the protest and subsequent sit-ins until March 10, when it picked up a story describing the arrest of student protesters in Nashville, TN. This total lack of discussion may have stemmed from the poor integration policies at NC State during this time; NC State had begun admitting African American students to its undergraduate programs only four years earlier (1956). Irwin Holmes, one of the first four African American students enrolled at State, would graduate from the electrical engineering program later that year.

Campus silence broke again on March 21, following the annual North Carolina Student Legislative Assembly meeting at the state Capitol days earlier. In an article entitled “Student Legislature Passes Lunch Counter Legislation,” the Technician reported that students at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College (A&T), a historically black college, proposed legislation that declared “all establishments offering service to the general public be hereafter and forever forbidden to refuse service to anyone on a basis of creed, color, or ethnic origin.” The bill passed 51 to 17, however the article noted, “It might be pointed out at this point that about half of the assembly was made up of Negro students.” While this suggests that the author believed the bill would not have passed had African American students not been present, the actions of the State College Student Government that followed indicated that students at A&T presented a persuasive argument in support of the bill and anti-discrimination laws.

Two-weeks after the Student Legislative Assembly, State College Student Government passed a Civil Rights Declaration that stated that North Carolina businesses should not refuse to serve any member of the public based on their appearance. It is important to note, however, that NC State student legislators utilized the word “appearance” not “race” or “color” within the declaration. Further, Student Government declared that the bill reflected “no particular concern for the rights of any race or minority group,” only “each and every citizen of the State of North Carolina in general.” This emphasis on vocabulary may have been meant to ease the minds of more conservative senators who would not discuss discrimination in terms of race. The bill went on to state that any discrimination based on appearance could “[set] the precedent that [placed] the rights of every other citizen in jeopardy.”

It would be three years before Hillsborough Street businesses integrated and more than ten years before NC State began implementing serious integration and African American recruitment programs. However, the discourse surrounding anti-discrimination laws during the sit-in movement did prompt a previously silent campus to develop a response to contemporary segregation practices.

To learn more about African American history at NC State, please visit Historical State or check out the Red, White & Black mobile walking tour.

Sources: Technician (10 March 1960, 21 March 1960, 11 April 1960); Smithsonian National Museum of American History, “Sitting for Justice: Woolworth’s Lunch Counter,” Separate is not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education, available from, accessed 17 February 2012; “Media/Headlines,” Greensboro Sit-ins: Launch of a Civil Rights Movement, available from, accessed 17 February 2012.

Feb 20 2012

“Totally, truthfully, and faithfully”: The Founding of NC State’s African American Newspaper

Contributed by Samantha Rich

Since 1921, Technician has served as NC State’s primary student newspaper. Although other student publications have attempted to supplement or compete with Technician, such as the State Sentinel (published between 1973 and 1974), none have influenced the NC State community as much as the Nubian Message, described as the “sentinel of the N.C. State African-American community.” The paper has published news, opinion, and entertainment articles dedicated to African American history, culture, and current events weekly since 1996.

Tony Williamson, first editor of the Nubian Message

Tony Williamson, first editor of the Nubian Message

Tony Williamson, an NC State student, founded the paper following allegations from the NC State African American community that Technician was racially biased. Students declared that Technician did not adequately cover news and events for African American students. In September 1992, more than two-hundred students gathered in the Brickyard to burn copies of the campus newspaper. The protest resulted in students’ calls for an African American run student paper, a request that Williamson and his staff fulfilled two months later.

On November 30, 1992, Williamson described the Nubian Message in its inaugural issue as the “media voice” for African Americans at NC State. He also stated his intention to “totally, truthfully, and faithfully . . . cover every aspect of African American life at NCSU” and his hope that the Nubian Message would become “a publication where people can learn about different aspects of [African American] culture, as well as find useful information about State’s campus.”

Initially, the Nubian Message received no university funding and Nubian staff were prohibited from utilizing NCSU Student Media equipment. Due to the lack of university support, Williamson turned to North Carolina Central University for assistance. He credited NC Central’s Campus Echo staff for helping to publish the first issue, “It was a real pain to have to go all the way to Durham to work, but the people at Central were very helpful and understanding. We owe them a lot. If it wasn’t for their newspaper staff, we probably would never have had a first issue.”

Cover of the November 30, 1992 edition of the Nubian Message

Cover of the November 30, 1992 edition of the Nubian Message

Students released the first edition of the Nubian Message on December 2, 1992 in front of approximately seventy-five students in Talley Student Center. The first issue featured articles outlining the history of the NC State African American Cultural Center and the importance of an “Afrocentric Christmas.” Noting the success of the first issue, the University allowed Nubian staff to utilize campus media equipment to publish the paper’s bimonthly issues. On March 9, 1994, the Student Media Authority voted 7-0 to make the Nubian Message a permanent NCSU newspaper.

For more information about the Nubian Message or to view archived copies of the newspaper, please visit the NCSU Libraries Special Collection Research Center. To learn more about African American history at NC State, check out the Red, White & Black app and take a self-guided walking tour of campus.

Sources: Technician (25 September 1992, 4 December 1992, 26 August 1996); Nubian Message (30 November 1992, 10 March 1992)

Nov 14 2011

Student legislation brings echoes of the past

Contributed by Samantha Rich

Protesters gathered outside of the General Assembly Legislative Building on Halifax Mall on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, © 2011 NCSU Student Media

Protesters gathered outside of the General Assembly Legislative Building on Halifax Mall on Tuesday, September 13, 2011, © 2011 NCSU Student Media

Recent vandalism to the N.C. State GLBT Center in Harrelson Hall has prompted the university community to create a dialogue on hate crimes and campus diversity. Amidst discussion of support of the GLBT community, N.C. State Student Government passed a bill expressing disapproval of N.C.’s amendment 1, which, if passed in May, will declare gay marriage illegal in North Carolina.

This is not the first time students have passed legislation related to marriage in North Carolina. On November 7, 1957 the North Carolina State Student Legislative Assembly met in Raleigh to conduct a mock assembly. Approximately 250 students from colleges across North Carolina, including N.C. State College Student Body President Jim Hunt, and then Vice President Eddie Knox, attended the meetings at the State Capitol. During the course of the three-day assembly, legislators passed a resolution that called for all states to rescind laws against interracial marriage.

Politicians throughout North Carolina expressed displeasure with the student legislators, specifically the bill related to interracial marriage. Representative Harold Cooley stated, “You have shocked the sensibilities of our people. I regret very much the actions taken by this assembly. NC Governor Luther Hodges declared the assembly displayed “immaturity” in its actions and called for future review of student legislative business prior to its presentation to the press. Additionally, on November 13, 1957, W.S. Hamilton, a North Carolina superintendent, wrote a letter to UNC Consolidated University President William Friday stating: “I am in agreement with Representative Harold D. Cooley and numerous newspaper editors throughout North Carolina that the state student legislature should adopt a more constructive agenda or adjourn permanently….It is obvious that the state student legislature is in need of much closer faculty supervision.”

While the student legislators received little support from the political community, N.C. State Chancellor Carey Bostian openly supported the actions of the students. In a letter to William Friday dated November 12, 1957, Bostian declared, “I urge that no attempts be made to restrict the freedom of students to assemble and discuss any items which they consider to be pertinent to our current problems…Delegates from State College go uninstructed and should be free to debate any topics they choose.”

The shared experiences of the 2011 Student Government and the 1957 North Carolina Student Legislative Assembly demonstrates that N.C. State students have a history of promoting diversity within North Carolina legislation. Current student leaders should take comfort knowing many students and alumni before them have tread the same difficult path.

To learn more about the North Carolina Student Legislative Assembly or to view the documents described above, please visit Special Collections.

Citations:Technician (7 November 1957, 11 November 1957, 14 November 1957); W.S. Hamilton to William Friday (13 November 1957), North Carolina State University, Office of the Chancellor, Carey Hoyt Bostian Records, UA 002.001.003, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC; Carey Bostian to William Friday (12 November 1957), North Carolina State University, Office of the Chancellor, Carey Hoyt Bostian Records, UA 002.001.003, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC