Learn about different people and periods of time from a rotating cast of guest speakers.


  • Postponed
    September 16, 2018
    3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
    - This program has been postponed. Please check back for updates. Bayard Wootten, perhaps North Carolina’s best-known photographer in the first half of the twentieth century, is the subject of a presentation on September 16, by Jerry Cotten, author of Light and Air: The Photography of Bayard Wootten. Wootten embraced an artistic style of photography known as Pictorialism and operated studios in several NC towns, including Chapel Hill (1928-1954).

    Her landscape images and insightful portraits of Southerners, both black and white, resulted in numerous exhibitions, lectures, and books illustrated with her photographs. Wootten was known for her independence and determination as a woman and as a photographer. Her career was at its peak during the 1930s. Originally published in 1998, Light and Air, The Photography of Bayard Wootten was reprinted by the University of North Carolina Press in 2017 and features striking new scans of the illustrations using the best digital technology.

    Jerry Cotten is a native North Carolinian and has lived in Chapel Hill since 1971. He has degrees in American history from N.C. State University and the University of N.C. at Greensboro. He worked in the North Carolina Collection at the UNC Library as Photographic Archivist from 1972 until 2002. Free and Open to the Public

    Meeting Room B.
  • Bobby G
    November 10, 2018
    2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
    - Come hear author Stan Friedland discuss the life of Bobby Gersten, the oldest living UNC former basketball and baseball star, affectionately nick-named "The Grandaddy of UNC Athletics." Bobby will also be in attendance to say hi and answer your questions!

    At 5'7" tall, he's always been under-estimated by coaches and opponents, and always has had to work extremely hard to prove himself in all athletic situations to friends and foes alike. His successes have shown that it can be done, that nothing is impossible if one is determined to reach difficult goals and to put in the heavy work to achieve them. His other exploits are significant, adding up to an inspirational life story for an audience of all ages:
    • • He won the Paterson Award when he graduated UNC in 1942, as "The Best Athlete In His Graduating Class.
    • • He became an award winning high school basketball coach.
    • • He was the originating Dean of Students for a prominent junior college, that under his leadership, became one of the very best junior colleges in the country.
    • • He has spent 92 years creating and leading an over-night summer camp into becoming one of the best in the country. During that time, thousands of young people have testified how much he has impacted their lives for the better
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    • "Opening Our Future"
      November 30, 2018
      7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

      In 2017, Mayor Pam Hemminger created the Historic Civil Rights Commemorations Task Force.  We were asked to create a timeline that identifies people, places, and events that should be remembered for their part in the struggle for civil rights in Chapel Hill.

      We have spent the last year collecting and sharing stories, starting with the spark that ignited the local movement - the Chapel Hill Nine’s sit-in at the Colonial Drugstore. We hope that you can join us for this special event as we launch the “Opening Our Future” timeline and traveling exhibit, unveil the accompanying Chapel Hill Civil Rights Trading Cards, and celebrate and commemorate the Chapel Hill Nine and other young people who helped change the world.

      Sincerely, the Historic Civil Rights Commemorations Task Force: James Britt, Ken Broun, Sally Greene, Reginald Hildebrand, Dianne Jackson, Danita Mason-Hogans, OJ McGee, Mae McLendon, Jim Merritt, Cecelia Moore, Clyde Perry, Megan Stanley, Albert Williams, and William Sturkey.

      Chapel Hill Public Library Meeting Room B.

      This program was supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.
    • Honoring the Chapel Hill Nine
      February 28, 2019
      5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
      - On Sunday, February 28, 1960, nine young men from Chapel Hill's all-black Lincoln High School sat at a booth in the Colonial Drug Store and sought the same service that was given to white customers. Their courageous step sparked a decade of direct-action civil rights demonstrations in Chapel Hill. At 5:00 on Thursday, February 28 of this year, the Town of Chapel Hill will begin to honor that action by dedicating a site for a permanent historical marker at 405 West Franklin Street, followed by a community celebration at First Baptist Church.

      The Town will unveil a rendering of the commemorative marker outside of the West End Wine Bar, which occupies the space where Colonial Drug used to be. The marker itself will be installed in 2020, the 60th anniversary of Chapel Hill’s first Civil Rights Era sit-in.

      After the unveiling and dedication, the Lincoln High School Alumni Association will lead a community march to First Baptist Church at 106 N Roberson St for an evening program that organizers are describing as a celebration of the Chapel Hill Nine and the Civil Rights youth movement at Lincoln High School. The purpose of this program is to recognize and inspire the power to change, and to inspire Chapel Hill's local youth.

      These programs are being organized by Lincoln High School Alumni Association, Town of Chapel Hill, Historic Civil Rights Commemorative Task Force, Chapel Hill Public Library, and First Baptist Church.

      For further information about the permanent historical marker, contact Molly Luby, Special Projects Coordinator at Chapel Hill Public Library. For information about the community celebration at First Baptist, contact Danita Mason-Hogans.

      Visit chapelhillhistory.org to learn about the Chapel Hill Nine story.  
    • 1619: Public Reception & Exhibit Opening
      October 18, 2019
      7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
      - Four hundred years ago, the first ship of enslaved Africans arrived in America, an occurrence that continues to shape both national identity and local communities. Multiple campus and community partners will mark this anniversary with a museum exhibit at the library, an arts installation downtown, and a symposium on campus.

      This Friday, October 18 at 7:00, all are invited to the library for a public reception to open the Hampton History Museum’s traveling exhibit, 1619: Arrival of the First Africans. Light refreshments will be provided.

      The exhibit tells the story of the Africans' home in Angola, how they came to be enslaved aboard a Spanish slave ship, the terrible voyage that brought them to Virginia, and their lives on the plantations in the early Virginia colony.

      Sponsored by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History, this six-panel “pop up” exhibit will be on display in the Library’s main level until November 18.

      Separately, Cash Crop!, an installation by Durham artist Stephen Hayes, will be in downtown Chapel Hill at 109 East Franklin Street Thursdays-Sundays from 12:00 noon - 7:00 pm.

      Featuring fifteen life-sized sculptures of enslaved Africans, in shackles and chained to a shipping pallet, the art invites viewers to reflect on the humanity of enslaved Africans and the human-scale tragedy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

      Cash Crop! is made possible by UNC-Chapel Hill’s Arts Everywhere initiative, Chapel Hill Community Arts & Culture, and the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, with support from the Stone Center, the Chapel Hill-Carrboro NAACP, and the Carolina Black Caucus.

      These two community initiatives are presented in conjunction with a campus event, the Stone Center’s 1619 Collective Memory(ies) Symposium. This day-long event on Monday, November 11 will bring together “conversants” from communities thrown together as a result of the Transatlantic Slave Trade and European Colonialism, in both Africa and the Americas. Representatives from Native and Indigenous communities will offer their unique insights and reflections on the 400 years since enslaved Africans arrived at Point Comfort.

      All of these programs and events are free and open to the public. To find out more about Cash Crop!, visit www.stephenhayescreations.com and www.chapelhillpopups.com. To find out more about the Collective Memory(ies) Symposium, visit www.stonecenter.unc.edu.

    • Women Pilots of WWII
      November 9, 2019
      3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
      - In the early years of World War II, the United States military had a severe shortage of pilots. The top brass chose to try an experimental program to help put planes in the sky. The group of female pilots was called the Women Airforce Service Pilots — WASP for short.

      A few more than 1,100 young women, all civilian volunteers, flew almost every type of military aircraft — including the B-26 and B-29 bombers — as part of the WASP program. They flew 60 million miles, ferrying troops and supplies. 11 of them died in service even though American women were not permitted to fly in combat.

      They also trained male pilots on a variety of aircraft ...in between sessions when they towed targets for gunners to shoot at with live ammunition.

      Come hear about and give recognition to this remarkable group of women pilots in a talk led by Lorelei Kraft.

      Meeting Room A
    • Town Treasures
      November 17, 2019
      3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
      - Join the Chapel Hill Historical Society in celebrating the accomplishment of these individuals and couples for their contributions over the years to the Towns of Chapel Hill and Carrboro and the surrounding area. This year's list of luminaries includes Braxton Foushee, Dorothy Johnson, Erwin Danzinger, Eva Barnett, Lynn Knauff, Marsha Warren, Sally Pendergraft, and Sandra & Stephen Rich

      Meeting Room B

      For a full list of programs and events related to the Town's 1819/2019 celebration, visit chapelhill1819.org.