Crossing the Color Line: One at a Time, 1950-1960

Conclusion

The desegregation of North Carolina State University took place without violent protest. No one was killed. The students did not riot. The President did not have to send in the National Guard. Despite the lack of open hostility, however, NC State’s administrators, as well as those of the entire UNC System, were not enthusiastic at the prospect of desegregation. Whatever the feelings or personal preferences of individual university officials, it took federal action, particularly on the part of the Supreme Court, to force them to respond. Nor was one legal decision enough to bring about desegregation at all levels of the university. At every stage of the process, additional federal decisions were required before African American students were admitted. Although it is possible that the UNC System may have eventually decided to desegregate its schools without government pressure, the federal government definitely helped to accelerate the process.

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