"It wasn't slavery time anymore": foodworkers' strike at Chapel Hill, spring 1969 Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Williams, J. Derek
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of History
  • Intolerable working conditions provoked UNC cafeteria workers--most of them black women--to walk off their jobs. Although unprecedented, the strike came at a time and place that were already ripe for confrontation over labor, racial, and student issues. With negotiations at an impasse, scuffles between student strike supporters and opponents prompted campus administrators to close Lenoir Dining Hall. At the insistence of North Carolina's governor, Lenoir was reopened under guard of the state patrol, thereby invigorating debate about academic freedom and the university's political integrity. Later, the governor forced the evacuation of the building which strike supporters occupied. The four-week strike ended when, after extraordinary procedures, state employees throughout North Carolina received a twenty-cent increase in the minimum wage. This study surveys conditions prior to the walkout, outlines strike events chronologically, and assesses the assumptions and strategies of participants.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted
  • Hall, Jacquelyn
  • Til, Len
  • Williams, Joe
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 1979
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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