Black in Chapel Hill

A campus event at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill led students to realize that being black in Chapel Hill is like living in a bubble.

On Wednesday, the Carolina Union Activities Board and Carolina Association of Black Journalists showed “Black In America,” a CNN series of documentaries about issues faced in black communities. The viewing was arranged to get faculty, students and staff hyped for Soledad O’Brien, who will speak Jan. 19 at UNC’s 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture. O’Brien is a correspondent for CNN who hosts and reports the documentary for “Black in America.”

About 25 students filed into the Union Auditorium of the Student Union. After the viewing, black students reflected on the issues presented in the documentary.

“Being black in Chapel Hill is a very interesting concept,” said senior Kirstin Garriss. “Chapel Hill is a bubble.”

Similarly, Marquise Hudson, junior, said that Chapel Hill is like a utopia, which makes it harder for him to parallel its black community to those outside the town. Despite this, he said that he still feels the burden of being black. “I still have a positive image of my race,” Hudson said, “but I do still believe that America is racially biased.”

According to the students, stereotypes and misjudgments of the black community are unfair. However, Trey Green, senior, said that he doesn’t succumb to those “labels.”

Instead, he identifies himself individualistically. “You just have to declare yourself,” Green said. He continued explaining how black men should be more aware of racial prejudices than black women.

Garriss said that blacks can overcome bigotry by embracing their culture and past. She knows that racial ties have bettered the future, and she is optimistic about it.

Courtney Blackmon, senior, said that the documentary served as an eye-opener for her.

“I just felt that [the documentary has] a lot of things that you know that goes on in the black community,” she said, “but seeing it on the screen is different.”

-Ebony Shamberger

For more information about the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture, go to Free reserved-seat tickets will be made available to the general public at the Memorial Hall Box Office staring Thursday, Jan. 13. Web site:

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1 Comment

  1. another steve

     /  January 14, 2011

    By every standard I can use Chapel Hill/Carrboro is in a bubble for all its citizens. I think the african-american experience in Chapel Hill has been strange and painful. The area’s history is mixed and the university’s place in sustaining and finally ending repression not flattering.

    My question is how do african-americans relate to the wider AA community when you visit or return home? Also interested in how the african-american community views President Obama. Obama strikes me as apart from the majority experience of the AA communit and also, in many ways, part of the African-American experience. Would be interested in the writers and other thoughts as we come to MLK birthday.