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The Black Pioneer Project: A Walk Through Time

May 1, 2018 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


New Rendition of an Old History:
Black Pioneers Project 2018 is a Walk Through Time

By Karly Smith


     (Chapel Hill, NC)-The University of North Carolina is going to be displaying a new rendition of the Black Pioneers Project. The reworked performance will take place on May 1, 2018 at 5pm with the  Wilson Library Special Collections Library. The performance is site specific, taking the audience through time as they walk through Wilson Library.

The Black Pioneers Project was created in 2016. Professor Joseph Megel directed the original show with the work of students and aid from the Southern Oral History Program.  The work surrounded the experiences of some of the first African Americans at UNC, between 1952-1972. It was inspired by the reunion of these classes at the UNC Homecoming. Through the usage of oral histories, the performance retold the tales of the original Black Pioneers, the oppression they faced, and how they conquered Carolina.

On May 1, the new rendition of the performance will be showcased. The work has been revised and new experiences have been added. Students in African, African American and Diaspora Studies 334: Performing African American History have been cultivating a new version of the script, under the guidance of Professor Megel. Joseph Megel is an artist in residence, with the Department of Communication Studies and Performance Studies. He is also the director of UNC’s Process Series. He has spent nearly 30 years in film and theater, from NYC to LA.

Through work with the Southern Oral History Program, the students have held their own interviews. They have also done research in the Wilson Library Archives to gain a better understanding of the full experience of the Black Pioneers.

This site specific performance will move the audience through the Wilson Library and through time. The audience will hear new narratives from faculty like Pierce Freelon, the president of the Black Student Movement during its 50th year, recent alumni, and the students themselves. Research about Silent Sam and the origins of the Black Student Movement will be brought in to give the audience a well-rounded experience. This new work will be coupled with the old to create a layered performance.

The performance is free and open to the public. Audience members should be prepared to move with the cast and bring open minds.



May 1, 2018
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Wilson Library
200 South Rd
Chapel Hill, NC 27599 United States
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