Monday, April 23, 2018

UNC Greensboro Coming Out: Queer Students in the 1990s


The 1990s saw considerable change for the campus climate for UNC Greensboro students.[1] For the first time in newspaper articles, LGBTQ+ students were identifying themselves by name. Literally a century after the doors of the school first opened (1892-1992), there is a published interview with a UNC Greensboro sophomore, Keith Hill, who identified himself as a black, gay male. Hill was a member of the Gay and Lesbian Student Association (GLSA), the current name of the UNC Greensboro LGBTQ+ student organization of the time. The interview was titled, “Dialogue with a Homosexual,” appearing in The Carolinian. Hill’s candid responses provide insight into the lives of LGBTQ+ students on campus, as well as the intersectionality of race and sexuality.


When asked about how other UNC Greensboro students reacted to him coming out, Hill responded,

“Surprisingly, my heterosexual male friends are very supportive… For me, the biggest problem I get is from black students here on-campus because I think blacks are less.. They have less doings with homosexuals than, say, Anglo-Saxon Americans simply because in the black community, it’s not something - since the black community is so steeped in religion and Christianity - and that tradition says homosexuality is wrong. So it’s not something they’re willing to try and accept or even come to terms with.”[2]

When asked about if he feared any discrimination for being openly gay at UNC Greensboro, he says “No, because the way I see it is that, while I’m in school, it is up to me to set the direction I take once I graduate. And if I live that direction openly… every advance that I make, I make it because who I am consists in me being gay.”[3] Additionally, Hill, who was single and twenty-three at the time of the interview, described the difficulties he experienced in trying to find steady relationships.

“I will soon be 24. Based on the average age, this is the time when you meet somebody and start settling down…  But (homosexuals) don’t have the same means for meeting someone that a heterosexual does. You don’t have the same comfortable environment for going out and finding meaningful relationships.”[4]

Not giving up hope, later in the interview, Hill continues to say he wants “to meet another man, fall in love. I want to adopt kids, to have a family… I want to have a big wedding one day!” Among the more thoughtful perspectives Hill offers in the interview is the plight of young gay men looking for role models.

“You have to understand also that in being gay, you don’t have any role models to identify with. The role models you see portrayed are very effeminate in nature or some creature - unnatural, lustful. And so you have to go against all of that programming and begin to identify with the things that give you a sense of well being, of who you are. And most of those things that give you a sense of well being are very atypical - the perfect bod, the perfect clothes.”[5]

Overall, Keith Hill’s interview was a landmark event in UNC Greensboro history, as it was the first time a named student spoke extensively about what it was like to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community on the record. Not only was 1992 the year of Hill’s article, but five months later, the city newspaper, the Greensboro News and Record, covered UNC Greensboro’s National Coming Out Day, interviewing sophomore, Robert Woodard. At UNC Greensboro, National Coming Out Day, observed October 11th, is celebrated with an information booth and ceremony in front of the campus dining hall. Pamphlets, magazines, and buttons relating to LGBTQ+ education are handed out to students, and there is a "coming out ceremony" in which students can publicly identify as LGBTQ+ to the campus. The writer of the article, Bill Morris, begins the piece stating, “He’s a courageous young man, this Robert Woodward.” While the piece was short and the interview only included very basic questions, the tone was very positive for the local media.[6]

About a week after the publishing of the article, Morris was compelled to write a second article describing reader responses to Woodward’s interview, starting with, “It never fails. Every time I put forth the unthinkable notion that homosexuals are human beings - as I did last week while praising students at UNCG for organizing “Coming Out Day” - the yahoos get riled up.”[7] One of the letters to Morris accused him of homosexuality for writing such a positive article, to which Morris replied, “You assume that anyone who supports the human dignity of homosexuals must be homosexual. Wrong. I support the human dignity of a number of groups to which I don’t belong…”[8] While more students were coming out, even though they were still facing attacks, allies to the LGBTQ+ community were doing so, as well.

Being attacked did not deter Morris’ coverage in the News and Record. A few months later in January of 1993, he reported on the creation of a hotline for gay teens.[9] The group that developed the hotline was Alternative Resources of the Triad (ART), founded in 1988. Brian Riggs, graduate student in the counseling program at UNC Greensboro, wrote the grant to fund the project with the support of Charlie Hawes, Episcopal priest of St. Mary’s House, adjacent to the campus of UNC Greensboro. The Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina awarded a small sum to Rigg’s proposal, allowing for the creation of the support resource that was the first of its kind in Greensboro area.[10] With more youth coming out, more support was needed. Although the grant was only for two hundred dollars, funding from a major organization, such as the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, was a major victory. Although personal acceptance of the LGBTQ + community was becoming common in the 1990s, institutional support, even ceremonial in nature, was lacking. UNC Greensboro would not confront this dilemma until forced to do so in 1996.   



[1] 1992 also was the year the World Health Organization declassified homosexuality as a mental illness.
[2] Anubha Anand, “Dialogue with a Homosexual,” The Carolinian, April 16, 1992, UA42.4.01, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[3] Ibid.
[4]Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Bill Morris, “Homosexuals Have Family Values, Too - UNCG Sophomore: No Rights in Closet,” Greensboro News and Record (Greensboro, NC), Oct. 13, 1992, p. B1.
[7] Bill Morris, “Defense of Gays Unpopular with Yahoos - ‘Coming Out Day’ Strikes a Nerve,” Greensboro News and Record (Greensboro, NC), Oct. 22, 1992.
[8] Ibid.
[9] The article begins with the sentence, “I hope all you Southern Baptists are paying attention.”
[10] Bill Morris, “Church Grant to Help Gay Teens Will Create Hot Line,” Greensboro News and Record (Greensboro, NC), Jan. 4, 1993, p. B1.

Monday, April 16, 2018

A Second Look at UNC Greensboro's Response to AIDS in the 1980's

LGBTQ history in the 1980s was dominated by the AIDS epidemic, but there is little information about UNC Greensboro’s students’ perspective of the epidemic. The Carolinian featured an article titled, “AIDS - The Mystery Killer,” surprisingly early in the epidemic’s history, 1983.[1] Major coverage in the student newspaper did not start until 1985, at which time the University of North Carolina system implemented a task force to address AIDS on campus. The number of students on the UNC Greensboro campus who were infected with the disease is unknown, but a 1986 article mentions “There was a case of AIDS detected on campus… and that student ‘had since left.’ Whether the student was asked to leave or left voluntarily was not specified.”[2] It should be noted that to protect the university in the event of potential legal liability, it was advised that if a student living in on-campus housing contracted AIDS, their roommate was to be informed, “preferably by the individual.[3]
The Carolinian, December 11, 1986, page 1

Institutionally, UNC system administration began addressing the AIDS epidemics across campuses beginning in 1985. All heads of universities were sent information published by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, providing basic information about the disease.[4] There is no singling out of gay men in the brochure, just an overview of the virus and how it spreads. One week later, William Friday, President of the UNC system, released an official summary of the Administrative Council accounting their meeting regarding the system’s proposal to address the AIDS epidemic.[5] The Administrative Council proposed the creation of a task force to address the epidemic, comprising representatives from all sixteen UNC campuses. This sixteen member task force was composed of four student health service physicians, four student affairs officials, four attorneys, and four health educators. UNC Greensboro had three representatives on the taskforce.[6] It was deemed by the Council that the primary responsibility of the Infectious Disease Advisory Committee was to develop and disseminate information about the virus and how it spread. The actual handling of AIDS cases on each campus would be the responsibility of the chancellors of each campus, but the system task force would provide expert advice and guidance as necessary.

Student Health Services at UNC Greensboro developed a preliminary policy for dealing with AIDS patients. This included procedures such as “advise the patient of possible social problems, particularly in residence halls, if it is known or rumored that he/she has AIDS” and “suggest that if he/she elects to remain in school that it might be in their best interest to consider residing off campus” due to the social consequences. The policy also clearly stated that AIDS victims (as they were described) would not be barred from classes, from using university facilities, or from public gatherings.[7] There is no mention of homosexuality in the policy.

Through most of the documentation relating to UNC Greensboro’s handling of the AIDS epidemic, there are surprisingly few mentions of homosexuality. Some of the materials acknowledged that the gay men fall into the high risk population for the virus, but emphasizes that,

“... this is not, in any endemic sense, a ‘homosexual disease.’ The disease did first gain a substantial foothold within that segment of our population, and its rapid spread among homosexual men is attributable, among possible factors, to certain sexual practices that constitute particularly efficient means of transmitting the virus. Thus, as in the case of Hepatitis B and Syphilis, AIDS is primarily a sexually transmitted disease, and for all such diseases there is a higher incidence among homosexual members of the population. AIDS has remained relatively confined to the population because its members constitute a relatively closed social and sexual grouping.”[8]

Documents, such as the one quoted above, demonstrated that UNC Greensboro officials wanted to curtail the condemnation of AIDS being a purely homosexual disease, not only simply to provide proper information, but also to avoid “the widespread anxiety that otherwise understandably attends discussion of this highly dangerous disease.”[9] In the handwritten minutes from the presentation of the President’s task force, it is indicated that they needed to “communicate that gay doesn’t = to AIDS… Gays already endure discrimination.[10] UNC Greensboro records indicate that the information released to the public was crafted with great intention to avoid negative incidences from occurring on campus, but the documents relating to what the task force and university officials discussed among themselves differed in tone.

One document titled, “Analysis of AIDS-Related Issues in the University Context,” while not overtly anti-gay, does single out the population. This document was used to guide members of the task force and university officials. One highlighted section reads,

“Viewed in the broadest possible precautionary terms, all members of a high risk group (e.g., homosexual males) ought to assume (in the absence of specific, current and definitive medical evidence to the contrary or in view of a counterindicative personal lifestyle) that they are infected with the AIDS virus, and those contemplating intimate contacts with members of such a group should proceed on the basis of the same assumption. This approach disregards (for purpose of maximizing prophylaxis) the fact that only a minority of homosexual makes in fact have been infected with the AIDS virus.”[11]

The message is clear; AIDS may not be a gay disease, but it is best to treat all gay men as being infected until they are tested. How this assumption played out in interactions with students on campus is unknown. There are no oral histories at present in which gay former-UNC Greensboro students discuss the AIDS epidemic on campus, and for any student who may have undergone testing for the disease, health records are confidential. Tragically, it must be noted also that any student who contracted AIDS during this time would be unlikely to be alive today.

Overall, UNC Greensboro’s response to AIDS in terms of providing information to educate students and staff was respectable, but there is no information as to how the epidemic unfolded on a personal level. There was no measurable form of assessment to judge the effectiveness of the campus’ educational resources.




[1] Bob Pearson, “AIDS - The Mystery Killer,”  The Carolinian, Nov. 22, 1983, UA42.4.01, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[2] Firdous Bamji, “Senators Sworn in Tuesday,” The Carolinian, Feb. 20, 1986, UA42.4.01. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[3] [Handwritten Notes from Task Force Meeting],  AIDS Notebook, MS, Office of the Provost Records, UA 3.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[4] Allan W. Ostar, “Memorandum to Presidents & Chancellors of the State Colleges and Universities and Heads of State Systems,” Nov. 13, 1985, AIDS Notebook, MS, Office of the Provost Records, UA 3.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[5] William Friday, “Memorandum to the Chancellors,” Nov. 20, 1985, AIDS Notebook, MS, Office of the Provost Records, 1922-2015, UA 3.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[6] “AIDS Task Force,” MS, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Records, 1937-2015, UA 42.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[7] “UNC-G Student Health Service Preliminary Policy for Dealing with AIDS Patients,” AIDS Notebook, MS, Office of the Provost Records, 1922-2015, UA 3.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[8] “Guidelines for Campus Programs/Policies Re: Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome,” AIDS Notebook, MS, Office of the Provost Records, 1922-2015, UA 3.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[9] Dick Robinson, “Memorandum,” Oct.31, 1985, MS, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Records, 1937-2015, UA 42.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[10] “Notes from the Presentation of the President’s Task Force on AIDS,” Feb. 11, 1986, AIDS Notebook, MS, Office of the Provost Records, 1922-2015, UA 3.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
[11] “Analysis of AIDS-Related Issues in the University Context,” MS, AIDS Notebook, Office of the Provost Records, 1922-2015, UA 3.1, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives and Manuscripts, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Chronicling the Founding of the UNCG LGBT Student Organization (1971-1975)

Carolinian, Oct. 4, 1971 (p.7)
Although our University enjoys the benefits of a culture promoting equality and inclusivity, UNCG’s reputation for embracing diversity as an educational foundation was constructed over decades by student and staff advocacy. Among the more hidden stories of Civil Rights struggles at UNCG is that of the formation of a university-acknowledged student organization for LGBTQ students.

There are few records on the lives and activities of the University’s LGBTQ students, but the first evidence for the need of such an organization on campus can be found as early as 1971. By this time, the university had been reorganized as a co-educational institution, and although there is some evidence of a lesbian student population on campus for several decades (1), discrimination against gay male students provoked the first plea for tolerance in the student newspaper:

Last year it was decided by some members of the fraternity and a few other males that their image was being threatened by the gay men on campus. It was felt that those gay men were becoming too blatant to be tolerated. They had the audacity to be themselves occasionally...

There was some talk among the homosexuals of starting a gay liberation movement here at school. When this “uppity” talk reached the ears of the other men they decided to act. They all got drunk and set about threatening people with violence. (2) 

It would be unlikely that the victims of such bullying would be willing to report threats, as homosexuality was not (and still is not) a protected class of minority by state law. Additionally, as homosexuality was officially classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association during this time, there was no pressure for University officials to investigate such situations.  However, the landscape for gay rights shifted in 1973, when the APA removed homosexuality from the list of diagnosable mental illnesses. It did not take long for LGBTQ students to organize, and by 1974, a “gay political social group” was forming on campus.

In November of 1974, a flier promoting the first meeting of a gay student organization was attached to a bulletin board in the School of Music. This flier was brought to the attention of Jim H. Allen, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Chancellor James S. Ferguson. In a letter to the Office of the UNC System President, Bill Friday, Allen requested for legal advice, asking:

  • What are the state statues for dealing with homosexuality?
  • What statutory prohibitions, if any, are there regarding the funding of a homosexual organization out of student activity fees?
  • May it be argued that to provide meeting space on the campus for a homosexual organization is to provide a form of support through the public revenues…?
In response, David N. Edwards, Jr., Special Assistant to the Office of the President, advised Allen that withholding institutional support from a student organization meeting the necessary requirements would be legally precarious, providing citations from three federal cases in which the court overruled university prohibitions against gay student organizations. Essentially, a gay student organization, with a mission to support its members and to educate the public, does not pose a danger to the campus or inherently violate university regulations. Also, the cases of the federal court overturning the prohibitions of other universities provided the administration of UNCG with legal support in permitting a gay student organization, should dissension arise from formal recognition.

The documentation formally requesting the recognition of the Gay Student Union of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro was submitted and approved in 1979, with Rev. Joe Flora, Presbyterian Pastor for Campus Ministries, as the faculty adviser. The stated mission of the organization was:
  • To educate the public about legal, social and personal aspects of homosexuality
  • To provide a support system for those in the organization
  • To represent the homosexual portion of the student body in matters relevant to homosexual students
The initial meeting of the Gay Student Union occurred in September 25, 1979, but the first meeting as a university-recognized organization occurred one month later, on October 25th. (3-4) Unfortunately, there is not a record of the founding members of the organization, but the initiative of these students established a network of support for LGBTQ students that has lasted over 30 years.

The Gay Student Union underwent many changes and overcame many obstacles over its history. The organization encountered many challenges through the 1980s well into the 1990s, but the struggles have led to the cultivation of a campus culture of support and advocacy. In fact, the 2012 Homecoming included the first homecoming for UNCG’s LGBTQA Alumni. As stated by attending Alumni, it was their first “homecoming-out.”


(1) Oral history interview with Key L. Barkley, 1991 [OH003]. UNCG Centennial Oral History Project Collection, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
(2) "The Last Liberation," The Carolinian, October 4, 1971 [UA42.4.01]. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
(3) "Gay Academic Union Formed," The Carolinian, October 30, 1979 [UA42.4.01]. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.
(4) "Corrections," The Carolinian, November 6, 1979 [UA42.4.01]. Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Off the Record: sharing the story of the LGBTQ+ history of UNCG

University Archives is beginning the celebration of UNC Greensboro's PRIDE Month with the story of our LGBTQ+ history in the words of our current students, alumni, and faculty. In April of 2017, the University Libraries and the Office of Intercultural Engagement sponsored a panel of volunteers, who identify as LGBTQ+. The perspective of the LGBTQ+ history of UNC Greensboro, based upon these panelists, spans from the 1970s until present, elaborating upon the gap-filled evidence represented in the university's historical record.




[This video is closed caption enabled]

This panel, “Off the Record: sharing the story of the LGBTQ+ history of UNCG,” is inspired by the oral history project underway as part of the 125th anniversary of the opening of the State Normal and Industrial School (now UNC Greensboro). With Chancellor Gilliam’s sponsorship, the University Archives of UNC Greensboro Libraries is conducting a two year project (2016-2018) of oral history interviews. This ambitious project hopes to capture oral histories from a wide variety of interviewees with connections to UNC Greensboro, such as faculty, administrators, alumni, staff, and current students.

Of the 19,000 students enrolled at UNC Greensboro (at the time of the panel), the school's Fall 2016 ACHA-National College Health Assessment (NCHA) estimated that 23 percent of these students self-identify as nonheterosexual or nongender-binary.

Panelists: Dane Hansen; Kathleen Williams; James V. Carmichael, Jr.; Jay Poole; Zachary Johnson
Moderator: Stacey Krim

For more information about the LGBTQ+ history of UNC Greensboro, please see:

Monday, March 26, 2018

Dining at the Home Economics Cafeteria

From 1929 through 1982, the institution now known as UNCG hosted a unique and popular campus resource that served not only as a teaching laboratory but as a meeting and dining space for people across the University. The Home Economics Cafeteria allowed students in the School of Home Economics an opportunity to learn about "the scientific and artistic principles of cookery as they apply to quantity food production and service in a real situation."

Home Economics Cafeteria, 1951
Located in Home Economics (now Stone) Building, the cafeteria focused on providing lunch, initially only three days a week and then on all five weekdays. Beginning in 1973, the cafeteria also offered a 45-minute "coffee break" from 9:30-10:15 "to help brighten your morning." Students worked with a number of full-time employees to ensure that a variety of healthy meals were prepared in sanitary conditions.

Menus from the cafeteria demonstrate the wide range of foods prepared by the students and staff. Students in 1941 served a variety of soups as part of their work to assist in the revision of Army and Navy cookbooks. Often, the student cafeteria managers would select themes for the week's menu, and plan accordingly by researching and selecting appropriate recipes and soliciting comments for future planning.

The week of September 16-20, 1974, was deemed "International Week" in the Home Economics Cafeteria. Each day of the week featured food from a different culture. Monday was "German Day," and included red cabbage, sauerbraten, and reuben sandwiches. Tuesday was a celebration of Jewish New Year, and included potato soup, lox, and bagels. Italian cuisine was featured on Wednesday with lasagne, minestrone stoup, and garlic bread. "French Day" was Thursday, and included French onion soup, beef bourguignon, and broccoli almandine. And, finally, on Friday, the cafeteria returned to "American Day," with fried chicken, cornbread, and, of course, "Mom's apple pie."

Stone (previously Home Economics) Building
The cafeteria proved a success as a meeting place for University faculty members. Charles Adams, the head librarian at UNCG, noted that the cafeteria's "very friendly and open atmosphere makes it a good place to visit with colleagues." Augustine La Rochelle, a professor of Romance languages, declared "it's the best food in the city!"

In spite of its success, the cafeteria ceased operations on Wednesday, December 8, 1982, due to the increasing costs of operation. Much equipment was obsolete or in need of major repair, and administrators felt the cafeteria "no longer provided an up-to-date, relevant educational experience." Dr. Jacqueline Voss, dean of the School of Home Economics, stated that "we all recognize the significant role the cafeteria has played on campus. It has provided over the years a place where faculty and staff members from across the campus and from different disciplines could gather and talk and get to know one another. However, given the current restraints under which we are currently operating, it is no longer feasible for us to maintain the operation of the cafeteria."

Monday, March 19, 2018

The History of the College’s Yearbook Part II: 1930s to 1950s

As the college moved into the 1930s, it underwent transformations that reflected the unsettled economic trials of the country. The stock market crash of 1929 threw the nation into a financial crisis, resulting in a drop in enrollment and faculty pay for the North Carolina women’s college. Faculty took an additional hit when Greensboro banks failed in 1933. In the midst of these calamities, and under the watchful eye of President Julius Foust, the school officially consolidated with the University of North Carolina and the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Engineering, and was renamed the Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina.

Students representing "Sportsmanship," 1931 Pine Needles

Yet during these tumultuous times, the Pine Needles yearbook maintained its high quality with a combination of photographs and interesting graphics. Most of the yearbooks from the 1930s had themes which gave the publications a visual focus. The 1932 edition featured the “melting pot” of American culture with chapter illustrations that represented various groups of North Carolina settlers. The theme of the 1933 yearbook was mysteries and superstitions, incorporating drawings of stylishly dressed young “detectives” who resembled the recently created heroine, Nancy Drew. This edition also reflected an unusual part of the college’s history when men were briefly admitted as day students during the Great Depression. It was during this time that Pine Needles began to consistently include photographs of the faculty and students; campus buildings; “superlatives;” class mascots; and societies, organizations, and clubs. Dedication and In Memoriam pages saw older faculty members and students remembered by the campus community.

Image from the 1933 Pine Needles

The 1941 Pine Needles ushered color into the annual publication and featured the 50th anniversary of the founding of the college. This yearbook, as well as the 1942 – 1946 volumes, covered the years when World War II was a major part of the daily life of the school and the country. Through the War Service League, the students and faculty, led by Chancellor Walter Clinton Jackson, contributed a great deal to the war effort. Yet, beyond the war, 1940s yearbooks also reflected the growth of the college, with events such as the Arts Forum and Social Science Forum and the founding of the Weatherspoon Art Gallery. At the end of the decade, the school was the largest women’s college in the United States and Pine Needles attempted to modernize its design by replacing quaint themes with a look to the future.


Chancellor Jackson with Woman's College Students, 1941 Pine Needles
 The 1950s brought a great deal of change to the campus. Chancellor Jackson retired in 1950 and many older campus buildings were replaced by more functional structures. The decade also saw the desegregation of the campus in 1956 with the admittance of JoAnne Smart and Bettye Ann Davis Tillman. Although JoAnne and Bettye were included in individual and dormitory group photographs, it would take years before African American students were truly represented in Pine Needles. As the college moved into the 1960s, enrollment was at an all-time high, but Woman’s College was facing many challenges which reflected larger national issues, such as Civil Rights and the Vietnam War. Part III of the History of the College’s Yearbook will cover the school’s move to co-education, campus activism, and the demise of Pine Needles.


JoAnne Smart in a Shaw Dormitory Group Photograph, 1957 Pine Needles

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dr. Gove Goes to War

When the United States entered World War I in April 1917, Dr. Anna Gove, resident physician at the North Carolina State Normal and Industrial College (now UNC Greensboro), began preparing to become part of the effort.  Because female doctors were not allowed into the Army Medical Core, Dr. Gove looked for other opportunities to serve oversees.

By September 1917, Dr. Gove's personal papers show that she had purchased French textbooks from the Cortina Academy of Languages to prepare for European war work.  She had also sent a letter of resignation to Dr. Foust, President of the State Normal.  In his return letter, Dr. Foust expressed his hope that "after conditions become normal that you may yet find it possible to be with us again."

On January 29, 1918, a letter from the American Red Cross offered Dr. Gove a salary of $1800 a year for "general medical relief work among the refugees."  She was to set sail for France around March 1st.  Additionally, she was provided with a $200 stipend to purchase equipment and uniforms. "Goods to be bought a Abercrombie & Fitch Co., Mad. Ave. & 45th St., New York City."

List of equipment and uniform items to be purchased from Abercrombie & Fitch.  Not the handwritten list of addition items purchased by Dr. Gove.
Dr. Gove made the journey to France and was stationed at a clinic in Marseilles.  Her letters home paint a picture of her daily life and environment.  Marsielles, in the south of France, remained removed from front-line battle.  Dr. Gove writes, "With all this frightful struggle going on this city seems a place remote and unmoved by the fortunes of the contest."  She goes on to speak of the unsafe areas of the city where nurses cannot travel, the inflated prices of food and necessities, and the importance of having good shoes and clothing.


Dr. Anna Gove in American Red Cross uniform, ca. 1918

Gove spent her time in France with the Children's Relief Unit.  They worked with women and children fleeing the war in Eastern Europe.  Often, malnourishment and harsh travel conditions resulted in children arriving with serious and chronic illnesses.  Dr. Gove worked to educate mothers on the importance of hygiene to prevent sickness, an area that she continued to study after she returned from the war.

The armistice ending the war was signed on November 11, 1918.  Dr. Gove continued with the Red Cross.  She was sent to Aubenas, Ardeche, France to set up a dispensary, a small clinic to provide care for refugees.  In December, she wrote to her superior describing several unique and severely sick patients she had seen during the past month.  She finished the letter with a word about the rest of her cases that were "the usual run of people who never are well because they have never lived properly and are worse now from hard conditions."

Dr. Gove's service to the Red Cross ending in early March, 2019.  She took the opportunity to travel to Paris to sight-see. In April, Dr. Foust sent a telegram to Dr. Gove.  It simply read, "Expecting your return as physician need you salary exceeds two thousand write us." Rather than return to the States, Dr. Gove found work with the Smith College Relief Unit in Grecourt, Somme, France.  The Relief Unit was comprised of young students and alums from Smith College who wanted to volunteer for the war effort.  Gove continued to assist the unit with providing aid throughout the summer.  Her health took a turn for the worse, affecting her eye sight drastically.  In August, She went to her childhood home in New Hampshire and spent the Fall recovering.  She traveled to Greensboro in January 1920, helping out at the school part-time until her health returned fully.