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MAY 22 , 2002

 

 

More Stories

•  Parking and transportation to be disrupted
  Journal ranks Carolina high in percentage of black faculty
•  Benefits, incentives top survey's concerns
•  Researchers receive $1.79 million for cystic fibrosis
•  OWRR handles huge influx of trash and recyclables
•  Which Jefferson?
•  Janken helps tell story of Walter White, black writer
•  Ueltschi service-learning grant recipients announced


Parking and transportation to be disrupted

Several upcoming construction projects will have implications for parking and transportation around campus.

They are:

Porthole lot area. The Town of Chapel Hill was scheduled to begin its Streetscapes project immediately after commencement on May 19. The town plans to install a duct bank in the drive on Franklin Street that leads to the Porthole Building.

This will disrupt N2, Service and RAT permit holder parking for several days because the construction will require closing the drive to allow the concrete to cure properly.

Raleigh Street. Raleigh Street between Cameron Avenue and Franklin Street was scheduled to be closed from May 20 to Aug. 10 for hot water system upgrades. Access to the Emerson, Davis, ATM and library loading lots will remain open during this construction.

South Columbia Street. The N.C. Department of Transportation was scheduled to begin curb repairs on May 20 on South Columbia Street between Cameron Avenue and South Road to repair damage near the bus lane. The right lane of South Columbia Street will be closed during construction, which should last two to three weeks.

Manning Drive. Electric Systems was scheduled to begin installing duct bank on May 21 at the northeast corner of Manning Drive and Morrison Drive, with the work to extend about 50 feet to the yard area of Morrison Residence Hall. Planners anticipate blocking Morrison Drive's north lane. The work should be completed by May 24.


Journal ranks Carolina high in percentage of black faculty

An article in The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, "A JBHE Report Card on the Progress of Blacks on the Faculties of the Nation's Highest-Ranked Colleges and Universities," has given Carolina high marks for its percentage of full-time black faculty.

In fact, among the nation's most-prestigious universities, Carolina has the most tenured black faculty, with 51.

The journal conducted the survey to determine the number of black faculty at both the nation's highest-ranked universities and highest-ranked liberal arts colleges. Carolina, as a major research university, falls into the former category.

According to the article, which appears in the Winter 2001/2002 issue, Carolina, Columbia, Emory and the University of Michigan have 100 or more black faculty members.

In total numbers and on a percentage basis, Columbia University has the most black faculty members: 212 out of 2,941 total faculty, or 7.2 percent. Carolina has 114 black faculty members out of 2,587 and comes in fourth with 4.4 percent. Twenty-seven schools were ranked. The second and third-place schools were Emory and the University of Michigan; Duke was seventh.

Columbia and Carolina kept the same positions of first and fourth when 26 schools were compared according to tenured black faculty, but in that ranking, Brown was second and Emory was third. Duke made the top ten.

Among the nation's highest ranked universities, blacks make up only 3.6 percent of the 40,747 full-time faculty members, up just two-tenths of a percent from 1999. "In 1996," according to the article, "blacks made up 3.1 percent.

"At this rate of progress," the journal noted, "it would take more than a century for the highest-ranked universities to achieve faculty diversity that mirrors the racial makeup of U.S. society."

The journal was not able to come to firm conclusions in looking at the wide disparities among universities' rankings. "Overall, it appears that results largely depend on whether the faculties that control hiring at particular universities have a strong commitment to developing a racially diverse teaching corps."

A connection was made between low percentages of black faculty at science-oriented institutions and the fact that there are few blacks pursuing Ph.D.s in engineering and the natural sciences.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Robert Shelton said he was pleased with the journal's report but that "it represents only a current state of affairs, and we must work harder to diversify our faculty."

"Although the number of black faculty at Carolina documents us as a leader, we cannot be satisfied," he said. "We still have a long way to go to prepare, attract and retain highly qualified faculty from African American and other underrepresented groups in our select universities."

Shelton's office encourages deans to incorporate diversity in their hiring goals and helps with advertising strategies to target racially and ethnically diverse populations of prospective professors.

The Provost's Office works with the Office of Minority Affairs, which also serves as a liaison with the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, a faculty support group on campus.

According to Archie Ervin, who heads minority affairs, his office arranges for minority candidates to meet on campus with the caucus to get a feel for the environment and community.

Minority affairs also works with the Carolina Post Doctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, which has resulted in several new black faculty hires, Ervin said.

Such efforts are well worthwhile, Shelton said.

"All universities, and particularly Carolina with its tradition of leadership in the South, need a diverse faculty to bring the full range of life experiences to our students, staff and faculty -- indeed to shape the community where we work and learn," he said. "A diverse faculty leads to better education, better decision making and a student body better prepared for our society."


Benefits, incentives top survey's concerns

Complaints about benefits and stronger incentives to do a better job topped the list of concerns expressed in a recent survey conducted by Carolina's Personnel Flexibility Committee.

Employees responding to the survey mentioned a lack of dental and vision benefits, as well as the lack of different health insurance plans to choose from. The last of the health maintenance organizations to offer managed care plans to state employees stopped doing so last summer. The state's plan is now the only one available.

As for incentives for better performance, an overwhelming majority of respondents said that pay raises should be based more on performance than years of service or anything else.

In one question, employees were asked if they would like to see performance-based pay increases or cost-of-living increases emphasized in a new pay system. And 64.6 percent of respondents wanted performance-based pay to be emphasized, compared to only 35.4 percent who wanted cost-of-living increases to be the main determinant for raises.

The Input Subcommittee of the Personnel Flexibility Committee initiated the survey. The full committee was appointed by Chancellor James Moeser in response to proposed legislation that would have given each UNC system school the authority to design its own personnel system, separate from the Office of State Personnel.

Although the legislation was not approved, the N.C. General Assembly did create a committee to study the issue and report its findings to the 2003 session of the legislature.

In addition to the lack of benefits and pay incentives, the survey revealed other general themes.

They included the need for competitive salaries and benefits to attract the best candidates to fill job openings, as well as flexible work hours to allow an employee to deal with family needs or avoid peak hours for traffic congestion. Some respondents suggested more freedom should be given to telecommute.

Respondents also raised concerns about inequities among various classes of employees between EPA and SPA, and also within the ranks of SPA, saying positions with the same titles do not always carry the same salaries or responsibilities or workloads.

People also called for efforts such as Human Resources offering employees more help with career planning.

A total of 3,237 people completed the campuswide survey, which amounted to a response rate of 31 percent.

Laurie Charest, associate vice chancellor of Human Resources and co-chair of the Personnel Flexibility Committee, said she was delighted to receive so many thoughtful responses.

Elmira Mangum, the committee's other co-chair and associate provost for finance, commended the work of the Input Subcommittee as well as other employee organizations that helped promote the survey.

"The campus community has done a tremendous job in responding to an important concern with thoughtful ideas," she said.

Mangum said the survey results will serve as an "integral part of the development of the final recommendations" and will be merged with information gathered by another subcommittee that researched personnel practices at other institutions. The committee hopes to submit its final recommendations to Moeser by the end of June. For complete survey results, see www.ais.unc.edu/ir/personnel/flex


Researchers receive $1.79 million for cystic fibrosis

Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics Inc. (CFFTI), the drug discovery and development arm of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, has awarded $1.79 million to scientists here to harness the powerful biomedical research strategy of proteomics in the search for new therapies and diagnostic tools for cystic fibrosis (CF).

Recently, the CF Foundation gave a proteomics research award to M. Jackson Stutts, associate professor in the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at the School of Medicine.

"By supporting proteomics, the CF Foundation opens a brand new door in our search for a cure or control for CF," said Robert J. Beall, president and chief executive officer of the CF Foundation and CFFTI. "We are particularly hopeful about the potential of proteomics because it offers the possibility of discovering drug targets to correct the root cause of the disease."

A protein produced by the CF gene -- cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) -- normally is found in cells that line certain organs including the lungs, the pancreas and the sweat ducts. In CF, the protein fails to perform its job -- either in part or completely -- leading to the production of thick, sticky mucus that causes progressive respiratory and digestive problems.

Since mutant CFTR proteins often retain partial function, restoring the ability of some of them to reach cells may counter the defect in CF cells.

Stutts's study aims to identify as many of the proteins as possible that interact with CFTR in cells lining the airways. Some of these proteins may represent novel targets for new drugs to promote better processing of mutant CFTR. The results of this study will provide the groundwork for collaborations with biotechnology companies that will translate the findings into drug screening and drug design strategies.

Proteomics has the potential to accelerate our understanding of the formation and function of CFTR, explained Stutts. "The life cycle of a CFTR molecule involves interactions with many different other proteins within multiple subcellular compartments. Some of these interactions are known, but it is thought that many more remain undiscovered. It is among these undiscovered interactions of CFTR that we hope to recognize junctures that can be manipulated to improve CFTR function," he said.

To accomplish such a monumental task, a group of investigators with expertise in protein chemistry, epithelial cell biology and epithelial cell physiology has been assembled, including Christoph Borchers, assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry; and Sharon L. Milgram, associate professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, both at the School of Medicine; and Jack Riordan, at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., who was co-discoverer of the gene that causes CF.

In addition, this proteomics endeavor is complemented by the state-of-the-art scientific resources at Carolina, including the Mass Spectrometry Core Facility, as well as a supply of many types of human airway epithelial cell lines -- a type of cells where CFTR is found. These cell lines are available, thanks to the cutting-edge work of Scott Randell, assistant professor of medicine and cell and molecular physiology.

"For the proteomics approach we proposed, large quantities of airway epithelial cells are essential," said Stutts. "However, to identify proteins interacting with CFTR in these cells requires a method of isolating CFTR and associated proteins. This is possible because of highly specific antibodies against CFTR developed by our collaborator, Jack Riordan. His expertise is key to recognizing and understanding any novel interactions of CFTR that our proteomics efforts uncover."

Another use of proteomics in this new CF Foundation-funded research strategy involves identifying proteins that could function as biomarkers of the disease's status, such as a patient's degree of lung damage or response to treatment. These studies will be carried out at several other institutions and companies.

The CF Foundation's support for proteomics research at Carolina follows the announcement last year of a public-private investment in a campuswide genome sciences initiative representing at least $245 million over the next decade. That commitment included a $25 million anonymous gift to create the Michael Hooker Center for Proteomics to help place Carolina at the forefront of this rapidly emerging scientific field.

The University already has a robust history of taking a leading role in many of the CF Foundation's research and patient care initiatives. The UNC Cystic Fibrosis Care Center is the site of one of the CF Foundation's eight Therapeutics Development Centers, which coordinate clinical trials of cutting-edge new treatments. It also is the location of the first-of-its-kind CF National Bioinformatics Center, where functional genetic data from CF research around the world are consolidated into a central repository to promote information sharing. Furthermore, the University's center has been a part of the 10-member CF Research Development Program since it began in the 1980s. Scientists from many disciplines are brought together through this program to maximize their collective expertise for CF. Carolina also is the site of one of seven Gene Therapy Centers, where the technology to make CF gene therapy a success is being developed.


OWRR handles huge influx of trash and recyclables

Special to the Gazette
By Matt Todd, waste reduction coordinator

The exodus is complete. Students have moved out for 2002. Most of the 6,500 residence hall occupants had to vacate their rooms by 6 p.m. on May 11. It's an annual ritual that leaves a trail of debris like no other time of year.

Last year, the amount of trash generated from the residence hall dumpsters -- just during the final weekend of May 12 -- and temporary 30 cubic yard roll-off containers totaled about 75 tons, compared to an average two-day period when about 30 to 40 tons are collected from the entire campus. That doesn't count the trash collected from the regular residence hall dumpsters during exam week -- when some students get a head start on the weekend rush.

In preparation for the "move-out" event, the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling (OWRR) starts planning in early March. Operations need to be coordinated within Facilities Services (Housekeeping, Grounds, Housing Support), with contractors, volunteers and the Department of Housing and Residential Education.

Apart from coordinating the collection of trash, OWRR also has developed programs to decrease the amount of debris taken to the landfill. In addition to the collection of regular recyclables, donation stations are set up in the lobbies or lounges of residence halls across campus to collect a variety of reusable and recyclable material. Each ton of material students divert from the landfill during this crunch time saves Carolina money. The most direct benefit to Carolina is bypassing the $45-per-ton disposal fee paid at the Orange County landfill.

This year, donation stations were set up in 12 of the 29 residence halls: Hinton James, Ehringhaus, Craige, Morrison, Carmichael, Cobb, Winston, Aycock/Graham, Kenan, Mangum, Grimes and Old East. Ninety-gallon carts are used to collect clothes and shoes, food, office supplies and personal care items. Furniture and small appliances also are accepted for collection. Most donation sites have four carts at each location with posters and signage alerting residents to their existence.

Material dropped off in the carts is bound for different destinations. PTA Thrift Shop collects clothes and shoes and also takes any small appliances or furniture. PTA Thrift Shop personnel also collect any food and personal care items and drop these off at the Inter-Faith Council Shelter located on Rosemary Street. OWRR collects school and office supplies. These will be stored over the summer to be given away in the Pit Aug. 20, during the first day of classes for fall semester. This event was held last year, and school and office supplies that filled four carts were gone in an hour.

Last year, as part of a pilot project, OWRR collected five tons of nylon carpet for recycling. Since the manufacturing plant that accepted this material last year has shut down, OWRR was unable to recycle carpet this spring. As a substitute, a mixed paper collection program was run at the high-rise residence halls on south campus. This program did not quite make up for the five tons of carpet OWRR recycled last year, but it made a pretty good dent. OWRR was able to collect 14 90-gallon carts of mixed paper totaling more than two tons.

The donation stations and mixed paper program collected a fair amount of material. Initial estimates put the diversion total at approximately 11.5 tons. This amount comes from an estimated 66 carts of clothes and shoes (13,200 lbs.), 18 carts of food and personal care items (5,400 lbs.), 14 carts of mixed paper (4,200 lbs.) and seven carts of school and office supplies (700 lbs.).

Regular recyclable collections from outdoor recycling sites (newspapers and magazines, bottles and cans) during move-out weekend totaled an additional 24.5 tons for May 10 -May 14. This included the cleanup of all residence hall recycling sites from move-out weekend.

Estimated results for move-out 2002: 75 tons of trash and 36 tons of reused or recycled material collected in a few furious days in May, which would have cost the University $1,620 to dump at the landfill.


Which Jefferson?

Did Thomas Jefferson father a child with his slave, Sally Hemings? Or was it his brother, Randolph? For playwright Karyn Traut, the possibilities were dramatic. For Thomas Traut, this was a question for science.

Editor's note: This story is reprinted from the Spring 2002 issue of Endeavors, a magazine highlighting research at Carolina. It is published three times a year by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research. Neil Caudle serves as editor, and Angela Spivey is associate editor. Catherine House wrote this piece. Employees who would like a free subscription to Endeavors should send their name, job title, department and campus address to the Endeavors office via campus mail (Endeavors, CB 4106), e-mail (endeavors @unc.edu) or use the subscription form at the magazine's web site (research.unc.edu/endeavors).

Cast of characters

Karyn Traut, a playwright and adjunct assistant professor of social medicine in her late fifties with long, naturally graying hair pulled back in a single braid. She wears round, oversized eyeglasses, loose fitting clothes, and a long flowing scarf.

Thomas Traut, professor of biochemistry and husband of Karyn Traut for 38 years. He, too, is in his late fifties, and he has graying hair, a mustache, and oversized eyeglasses.

[Curtain up.]

Act I: The Media and the DNA Test

Time: November 1998

Karyn Traut's day begins as usual. She gets up, pours herself a cup of coffee, and sits down at a small kitchen table. Then she starts jotting down notes on a notepad, brainstorming a character for a play. Her husband, Thomas Traut, walks in carrying the newspaper, sits down at the table across from his wife, and begins reading.

"Take a look at this would you," Thomas says as he turns the paper around and places it in front of his wife.

Karyn can't believe her eyes. There in black and white is the headline "DNA Test Pinpoints Jefferson Offspring. President Fathered Child with Slave Hemings." The article goes on to tell about a DNA test and, unknown to Karyn at the time, erroneously reports that blood for the test was extracted from living descendents of Jefferson's brother. It correctly reports that blood was also extracted from male descendents of Sally Hemings' last child, Eston, as well as from a group of blacks whom many think also descended from Jefferson. (This last group -- the Woodsons -- is ruled out.)

"This story makes it sound like they've proven Thomas Jefferson fathered Sally Hemings' children," Karyn says. "There's not even a mention here of his brother Randolph as the possible father."

A week later, Karyn is further frustrated when she reads the original article in the journal Nature, which had been scooped by the American press. Here, it states that blood was actually drawn from descendents of Thomas Jefferson's uncle, Field Jefferson, but again, doesn't even mention Randolph -- in fact, leaves him off the family tree.

ACT II: Just the Facts, Ma'am

Time: Flashback to the 1970s

Karyn, living in California, receives Fawn Brodie's book Thomas Jefferson, An Intimate History from the Book-of-the-Month Club, sits down on her sofa, and begins reading. She soon becomes intrigued with the character of Tom Hemings, whom Brodie portrays in her book as the illegitimate son conceived in France by Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings.

"Here is my character for a play," Karyn thinks. "A son born to the most compelling American founding father, who would under a completely free country have been an obvious candidate for president, but because of slavery and miscegenation, could only at best pass into oblivion."

Still mulling over a play, Karyn moves with her husband and sons to Chapel Hill. She seeks out some of her neighbors, many of whom are history professors. They tell her no one in the historical community believes the Jefferson-Hemings liaison, so she decides to do some research of her own. Sitting outside on a sunny day, she starts reading through Brodie's footnotes and appendages.

Karyn is stunned. "There's no evidence that the historical character I wanted to center my play on ever existed at all," she says. "There's no record of such a birth in the Monticello (the Jefferson family homeplace) ledger, and Madison Hemings, Sally's second-to-last child, claims Tom Hemings died at the age of 2." It seems to Karyn that Fawn Brodie has thrown out the pieces of the puzzle that don't fit her model, and where she leaves holes, she fills in with conjecture, using often the word "innuendo" to defend her position.

Suddenly, Karyn has no play. She takes six months off from her day job scoring writing samples from state competency exams and begins research on Thomas Jefferson. After all, she wants her play to be historically accurate.

Time: Seven years later.

Traut is still doing research.

"I'm beginning to realize I could spend my life researching Jefferson," Traut says.

What she finds out is "a mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly."

"Jefferson was a slave owner and a racist," she says. "But he was also a visionary man in so many ways, even as a slave owner because in his time it was radical to consider slaves as human beings. While he spent his life trying to abolish slavery, he still believed in separation of the races."

As for the Jefferson-Hemings liaison, Karyn finds no documents or firsthand accounts acknowledging the existence of such a child -- only the coincidence of residency linking Jefferson to the paternity of the other children of Sally Hemings. She wonders, "Even if a child were conceived in France, most men in France were white, including the servants, so why would a white child born to Sally necessarily be linked with Jefferson?"

She also notes that Hemings did not conceive a child every time Jefferson was in residence and that there was no child born to Hemings after Jefferson's retirement (in which he permanently moved back to Monticello) when Hemings was only in her mid-thirties.

"And why," Traut asks, "would Jefferson have fathered children into both slavery, which he found abominable, and African descent, which he found inferior?"

But if not Thomas Jefferson, then who?

She hits the books again and finds out that Thomas Jefferson had a brother -- Randolph Jefferson, who was 12 years his junior. "Until now, I hadn't realized Jefferson had a brother," Traut says.

Karyn learns of Randolph while reading a book titled Thomas Jefferson and Music, in which a reference is made to his brother. Apparently Jefferson paid for Randolph's violin lessons, but Randolph used his skill only for "country fiddling" with the servants. Traut also finds out that Randolph had been married twice, unlike his older brother who promised his wife on her deathbed never to remarry. "Hmmmm," Karyn says. "I'm starting to see Randolph as possibly a rebel to his older more famous and authoritative brother. By `dancing with the servants,' Randolph seemed to be living with the times rather than trying to change them as was Thomas Jefferson."

Further digging reveals a few more facts in favor of Randolph as father of Sally Hemings' children, including that Randolph Jefferson lived 20 miles from Monticello, within easy visiting distance.

"Ah ha," Karyn thinks. "I have an original answer to an historical question. There were two Mr. Jeffersons."

Time: 1988

Karyn finally feels capable of writing a historically accurate play. The result is Saturday's Children. The premise of the play is a conversation among three characters, two of whom try to talk the third, an African American actor, into playing Thomas Jefferson in a performance-art project. In the play, the actors battle out Jefferson's attributes by reading aloud passages from his writings. "The point is that while we may not always agree with or like everything about Thomas Jefferson's character, he is a person enormously worth looking at -- he has a lot to give us," Karyn says.

ACT III: The Scholars Commission

Time: 1998 to the present

When the DNA evidence comes out in the press as if it were conclusive proof of Thomas Jefferson's progeny, Karyn's Jefferson research isn't right at the top of her brain. But of course she remembers the brother.

She writes a letter to The News & Observer, which finds its way to Herbert Barger, a Jefferson family historian. He, too, has come to the conclusion that Randolph is the more likely father of Hemings' children. He points out that all of Hemings' children conceived in the United States appear to have been conceived between Randolph's two marriages and that, at the time, there were several potential Jeffersons in and around Monticello, including Randolph's sons.

On January 8, 1999, the journal Science prints an article titled, "Which Jefferson was the Father?" bringing forth Barger's argument that the most likely father of Eston Hemings (Sally Hemings' youngest son) is not Thomas Jefferson, who was 65 at the time Eston was conceived, but rather Jefferson's brother Randolph, 12 years his junior. The authors also mention that Barger helped locate living members of the Jefferson family and persuaded them to donate blood to a DNA study.

Coincidentally, Thomas Traut's journal club brings up this article in their weekly meeting. Having seen his wife work through the question of the Jefferson-Hemings liaison for over a decade, he's become interested in the topic himself. He rushes home to show the article to Karyn.

As a scientist, Thomas Traut explains the DNA evidence to Karyn, and subsequently to other Thomas Jefferson scholars. Since no DNA was available from Thomas Jefferson, scientists used blood extracted from descendents of his paternal uncle, Field Jefferson. That means Thomas Jefferson was only one of about two dozen male descendents believed to carry the Jefferson family Y chromosome, placing Thomas and Randolph as equally likely suspects.

Thomas Traut's DNA knowledge and interest on the subject lands him a spot on the Scholars Commission on the The Jefferson-Hemings Matter, formed by a group of Jefferson scholars shortly after the 1998 DNA testing. While a major contributor to the group, Karyn does not make the commission, which consists solely of full professors.

The scholars collaborate on the topic for over a year and find additional material including a previously published study listing Randolph Jefferson as the father of "colored" children by his own slaves. They unanimously agree that the allegation that Thomas Jefferson is the father of Sally Hemings' youngest child is by no means proven. Not everyone agrees, though, on the likelihood that it was in Thomas Jefferson's nature to have an affair with a servant. In his dissenting opinion, Paul Rahe, professor of history at the University of Tulsa, writes, "Despite the distaste that he expressed for the propensity of slaveholders and their relatives to abuse their power, Jefferson either engaged in such abuse himself or tolerated it on the part of one or more members of his extended family."

Karyn argues that while Thomas Jefferson was born into slavery, he did not create it. As he writes in Notes on Virginia, "In the very first session held under the Republican government (of Virginia), the assembly passed a law for the perpetual prohibition of the importation of slaves." This, he felt, would stop the increase of "this great political and moral evil, while the minds of our citizens may be ripening for a complete emancipation of human nature."

So did Thomas Jefferson have one or more children by his slaves?

"I believe he did not," Traut says. "But I also don't want anybody to think I'm denying the horrors of slavery."

[Curtain down.]


Janken helps tell story of Walter White, black writer

During the deadly 1906 Atlanta race riots -- when future NAACP leader and writer Walter White was just 13 years old -- an angry white mob marched on his home and would have destroyed it if some of his family's black neighbors had not armed themselves with guns and dispersed the rioters.

"At that moment, young Walter decided he would continue to live his life as an African American and not live it as a white," said Kenneth Janken, associate professor of African and Afro-American studies. "White was what in his day was called a `voluntary Negro.' Even though his parents were born in slavery, his fair complexion, blond hair and blue eyes afforded him a choice. He could have `passed' over to the dominant race but decided not to."

White's deceptive features served him well as a young man because, without being detected by racists who would have killed him, he passed for white and investigated first hand more than three dozen lynchings and eight race riots, mainly but not exclusively in the South, Janken said. In 1929, he wrote a book about his discoveries titled Rope and Faggot, which became something of a classic of both U.S. history and journalism but has been largely forgotten in the past 30 years. The author subtitled it A Biography of Judge Lynch.

The University of Notre Dame Press recently re-issued White's startling book, and Janken wrote its new introduction. He also is the author of the forthcoming White: The Biography of Walter White, Mr. NAACP. The first full-length biography of White, the book will be published by The New Press later in 2002.

Most lynchings occurred between the end of the Civil War and the Depression, especially in the 1860s, the late 1800s and the early 1900s, Janken said. In 1868, for example, soon after the Civil War, whites murdered some 2,000 Louisiana blacks within a few weeks. Other Southern states posted similarly gruesome figures.

With cheap train fares and the advent of the telephone and increasing automobile ownership, some impending lynchings attracted thousands of eager spectators and spawned souvenir sales such as horrific photographs.

Taken together, these heinous crimes represent perhaps the darkest single chapter in U.S. history, one that is either unknown or little known by most Americans, he said.

"In 1918, White had recently been hired as assistant secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and lived in Harlem when he read a story that shocked him," Janken said. "On Lincoln's birthday, a black man in Estill Springs, Tenn., named Jim McIlherron was castrated, doused with oil, thrown on a pile of logs and set on fire until he died. Within a week, White was in Estill Springs pretending to be a traveling salesman and persuading the local whites to tell him the whole story."

The young writer found out that white youths started an altercation by throwing rocks at McIlherron. They and others resented him because not only did he and his family own land, but he also had spent time living in the North where segregation was not as oppressive. In other words, the mob murdered a man trying to defend himself in the most brutal way they could think of because he might `poison' the minds of others who had never experienced even moderate political freedom.

"Before writing Rope and Faggot in the late 1920s, White built his career on his undercover investigations," Janken said. "Among the things he either discovered or reinforced were that resentment of blacks usually stemmed from economic competition rather than crime; that whites feared they were losing control of crucial cheap black labor; and that the often-stated goal of `protecting white womanhood' was false. Fewer than 30 percent of black men lynched in South had even been accused of rape or offending white women."

One investigation the crusader conducted in Aiken, S.C., caused something of a national sensation after the New York World newspaper published his findings, he said. A mob murdered three members of the same family, Bertha, Dedmon and Clarence Lowman, on trumped-up charges and included local politicians, law enforcement, businessmen and even two relatives of the governor, who did nothing about the crimes despite promises to catch the culprits.

In another, White found that a mob near Valdosta, Ga., murdered about a dozen innocent blacks, including Hays Turner, whom they strung up for three days and left to rot. When his pregnant wife Mary said she would find out who did it and turn them in to the authorities, thugs doused her with gasoline, hung her upside down from a tree and set her on fire. Later, they slit open her womb so that her baby fell out alive. Then they stomped on the baby's skull and shot to death both mother and child.

Eventually, White returned north above what he called "the Smith & Wesson line" and took a leave of absence from the NAACP to begin his book, Janken said. One of the most disturbing and earliest books ever written about lynching, White's work remains important because it had an enormous impact on social scientists and reformers, if not authorities.

"Rope and Faggot retains its significance, too, because it represents the perspective of African-Americans in the fight against mob justice," he wrote. "White insisted on African-Americans' humanity, equality and potential. And neither the book nor its author shrank in the face of hostile white public opinion or shaded a conclusion to gain that public's acceptance.

"In presenting the harsh truth about lynching, Walter White showed himself to be a passionate, consistent and articulate pursuer of racial justice."


Ueltschi service-learning grant recipients announced

The APPLES Service-Learning Program has awarded Ueltschi Service-Learning Grants to 10 professors for the development of innovative service-learning courses for undergraduate students.

The applications were judged according to each professor's demonstrated dedication to service-learning, the strength of the proposed course and syllabus, and the support of the instructor's department. Grant recipients receive $8,000 to support course expenses such as development, books, stipend and a teaching assistant and must teach the course at least three times within five years, starting in the 2002-03 academic year. Awards also provide training and assistance with community service placements and course reflection facilitators.

The following professors were chosen for this honor, listed with the course they will teach:

Lucia Binotti, Department of Romance Languages, "Hispanic Culture and Civilization";

Glynis Cowell and Patrick Akos, Department of Romance Languages and School of Education, "Spanish Conversation II";

Greg Gangi, Department of Environmental Studies, "Environment and Society Practicum";

Suzanne Gulledge, School of Education, "Middle Grades Education";

Richard Redmond and Katherine Moore, School of Nursing, "Nursing Honors Project";

Donald Searing, Department of Political Science, "Democracy and Citizenship";

Kathy Sikes, School of Education, "Literacy in the Community";

Todd Taylor, Department of English, "Multimedia North Carolina";

J.M. Walsh, Department of Computer Science, "Power Tools for the Mind"; and

Michael Waltman, Department of Communication Studies, "Communicative and Social Cognitive Foundations of Hate."

Ueltschi grants encourage professors to develop undergraduate courses in Academic Affairs or Health Affairs that integrate community service into the traditional academic setting. Jim and Jean Ueltschi, both Carolina alumni whose two children currently attend the University, fund the grants. The Ueltschis have decided to give back to their alma mater through the contribution of grants to professors in support of innovative service-learning course development.

The Ueltschi grants are administered through the APPLES Service-Learning Program -- a student-run, student-sponsored program at Carolina that engages students, faculty and other community partners in service-learning relationships to address the social concerns and needs of N.C. communities.

For further information about the Ueltschi grants or about the APPLES Service-Learning Program, call Mary Morrison, director, at 962-0902 or Jenny Huq, assistant director, at 843-6829.
University Gazette


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill