Friday, January 29, 2016

New Exhibit: African American Staff at State Normal, 1892-1919

A new exhibit titled "African American Staff at State Normal, 1892-1919" is now on display in the case in the Elliott Center University connector. This exhibit features photographs of many of the African Americans who worked on the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNCG) campus during its earliest years.

While the student body of the State Normal was limited to white women, nearly all of the support staff (cooks, maids, janitors, handymen, etc.) were African American. There were at least 21 African American support staff employees at State Normal during its opening year (1892-1893). Two years later, that number had doubled to 42. These African American employees were essential to the operations of the campus, ensuring that the lights operated, the buildings and grounds were clean, the students and faculty were fed, and the general operations proceeded smoothly and did not disrupt the school's educational mission. But sadly many of their stories -- and some of their names -- have been lost to history.

Housekeeping Staff, late 1890s

One person featured in the exhibit is Ezekiel "Zeke" Robinson. Robinson was hired by State Normal's founding president Charles Duncan McIver soon after the school opened. In addition to managing the African American support staff, Robinson performed numerous tasks that were critical to the function of the school, including ringing the campus bell, waiting table at state dinners, delivering the mail, and serving as porter for three college presidents. Ill health forced Robinson to retire in 1944 after a 52-year career. During his time on campus, he saw the transition from horses to automobiles, from oil lamps to electricity, from fireplaces to central heating, and from wells and pumps to running water. He saw the acreage of campus increase tenfold, and saw the student body grow from 200 to over 2200. On December 1, 1960, Ezekiel Robinson died at a local nursing home at the age of 93. He was the last surviving member of the faculty and staff from the first year of State Normal.

Ezekiel "Zeke" Robinson

Please stop by the exhibit to learn more about this important part of UNCG's history. The exhibit will be available through March 1, 2016.

Friday, January 8, 2016

The women detectives and sleuthing young ladies found in the Robbie Emily Dunn Collection of American Detective Fiction Collection and Girls Books in Series Collection of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives share three things in common: a sharp intelligence to unravel the intricacies of the criminal mind, a fearless tenacity in engaging unknown dangers, and a time period appropriate wardrobe to blend into the varied environments into which their investigation leads them.

This collaborative exhibit features selections of books from Special Collections and matching period textiles and accessories generously loaned by Dr. James V. Carmichael.

The exhibit can be found in the three display cases next to the reference desk on the first floor of Jackson Library. The exhibited items will rotate every two weeks, from January 8th through March 1st, 2016.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

2015 Annual Women Veterans Luncheon

The Annual Women Veterans Luncheon was featured in the January 2016 issue of the O. Henry magazine!  You can view it here:

For more images, you can check out the Flickr photo album here: 

2015 Women Veterans Luncheon

Top 10 Spartan Stories of 2015!

It's the time of year for Top 10 lists and countdowns to recap 2015, and we're here with the Top 10 Spartan Stories of 2015. These are the ten stories that were read by the most people during the past year. Have you read them all? And did your favorites make the list?

#10  [tie] The Fiftieth Anniversary Time Capsule (January 12, 2015)
        The Development of the Weatherspoon Art Museum: Bridging Art and Education (October 26, 2015)

#9   Pieces of the Past: Gwendolyn Magee Quilting for a Better Future (February 2, 2015)

#8   The Little Log Cabin on Campus (July 13, 2015)

#7   "Gays Go Home:" The Strong Hall Protest of 1979 (June 1, 2015)

#6   Trailblazing "Human Computer" Virginia Tucker (class of 1930) (March 2, 2015)

#5   Eduard Lindeman, Julius Foust, and the Ku Klux Klan (September 14, 2015)

#4   A History of Adult Students at UNCG (November 30, 2015)

#3   The Tradition of the Daisy Chain: A Link to the Past (April 27, 2015)

#2   Sister Mary Michel Boulus (class of 1947): Educational Leader (March 9, 2015)

And the #1 most popular Spartan Story from 2015 was Another Twist of Fate for Chinqua Penn Plantation (June 29, 2015).

You can read a new Spartan Story every Monday morning by visiting the Spartan Stories blog at On the site, you can subscribe via RSS feed or email to receive notification of new posts (see the right side column). You can also learn about new Spartan Stories -- and more about UNCG history -- by following us on our social media outlets. We're UNCGArchives on FacebookTwitterTumblr, and Instagram.