Tag Archives: chronicle

The Chronicle’s First-Hand Account of a White Supremacist

The shocking shootings in Kansas City during the past weekend have brought renewed attention to Glenn Miller (Glenn Cross), a longtime white supremacist with ties to North Carolina. In Monday’s Washington Post, Robert Satloff, Trinity College class of 1983, wrote about his harrowing experience interviewing Miller in 1981 and the Chronicle article that resulted.

The first-hand account, from the April 15, 1981 issue of the Aeolus (the Chronicle’s weekly magazine of the period) is a frightening glimpse into Miller’s mindset. Satloff wrote, “Perhaps I didn’t think that such close-minded, violent, intolerant people still exist. Perhaps I am naïve. I’m not anymore.”

Read the chilling article below. This issue of the Aeolus, and other Chronicle issues from 1980 to February 1989, will soon be added to the Libraries’ Chronicle digital collection.

UPDATE: The April 15, 1981 issue is now available in full in our Chronicle digital collection.

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Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

The 1960s, One Page at a Time

One of the most frequently used items in the Duke University Archives is The Chronicle, particularly the 1960s issues. Many students are interested in the decade—which was one of great change in the student body, the curriculum, and in social life—and alumni and other researchers use it to find out details about particular events. This year, as Duke commemorates 50 years of desegregation among the undergraduate class, The Chronicle is especially helpful as a source of information about desegregation and later student protests like the Vigil and the Allen Building Takeover.

Thanks to the work of the Duke University Libraries’ Conservation Department, Digital Production Center, and Digital Projects Services, we now have eleven complete years (fall 1959-spring 1970) of The Chronicle digitized at http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/dukechronicle/. The issues are browsable by year and date and keyword searchable.

Although it will be extremely helpful for research on desegregation and student protest, it will also be helpful for researching topics ranging from the Duke-UNC rivalry to women on campus to ads for local restaurants. Through even small stories and announcements, we learn a lot about campus.

For example, on November 22, 1968, we read that a memorial mass was held to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the passing of John F. Kennedy, Jr.:

Notice of memorial mass at the 5th anniversary of President Kennedy's assassination, The Chronicle, November 22, 1968.

On March 1, 1963, we learn of the mysterious origins of the name of Towerview Road:

Article about Towerview Road, The Chronicle, March 1, 1963.

And on November 7, 1969, we find 1969 at Duke, perfectly preserved:

Chronicle Classifieds, November 7, 1969

There are 868 issues of editorials, news stories, sports writing, advertisements, and much more. Let us know what you think, and how you will use the digitized decade of The Chronicle!

Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.

A Visit to Duke on the Way to the Presidency

When Senator John F. Kennedy’s plane landed in Raleigh on December 2nd—one hour before he was due to speak at Duke University—he hadn’t yet declared his candidacy for the 1960 presidential election. Writing about that evening’s address, the Duke Chronicle wrote simply that the “boyish John Kennedy” was the “leading unannounced candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination” and noted a recent decrease in his popularity, especially when compared with potential Republican candidates New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller and Vice President Richard M. Nixon.

Kennedy’s aspirations were, however, clear. The arrangements for the speech were made by J. Leonard Reinsch, then a member of the Democratic National Committee and director of the 1960 Democratic National Convention, whose two children were students at Duke. WUNC-TV filmed the evening—necessitating that the speech be given in the smaller Page Auditorium, rather than Duke Indoor Stadium (not yet known as Cameron)—and the WUNC radio station recorded it for later broadcast.

Kennedy spoke as part of the Major Speakers Series planned by the Student Union’s Educational Affairs Committee. For the 1959-1960 academic year, the student committee, led by chair Byron Battle, attempted to build a non-partisan slate of candidates for high public office. According to their meeting minutes, their efforts to secure Duke alumnus Richard Nixon involved “a constant barage [sic] of letters” from Duke administrators, including President A. Hollis Edens. They also considered extending an invitation to Hubert Humphrey, but decided against it, on the grounds of “a possible preponderance of Democrats, and a fear that he might not have anything worthwhile to say.” (Humphrey did eventually speak at Duke in 1965.)

Letter, Byron Battle to John F. Kennedy, June 23, 1959. From the Duke University Union Records
Letter, Byron Battle to John F. Kennedy, June 23, 1959. From the Duke University Union Records. Click to enlarge.

Local newspaper accounts indicate that the speech, titled “The Challenge to American Colleges” and ranging over key national and regional issues like the space race, North Carolina’s progress toward integration, and Kennedy’s position on birth control, was well-received.

But we’re less sure of the Duke student body’s reaction to the speech, perhaps because the campus’s attention turned almost immediately to a different election. In the same issue of the Duke Chronicle that looked forward to Kennedy’s speech, a undergraduate student reporter named Steve Cohen published the first part of a satire that set the nativity story in World War II-era Poland. Tipped off by the paper’s printer, and worried that the piece would cause controversy damaging to Duke’s reputation, President Edens acted swiftly, suspending publication of the Duke Chronicle until the editorial board could be reorganized.

Senator John F. Kennedy before his address in Page Auditorium, December 2, 1959.
Senator John F. Kennedy before his address in Page Auditorium, December 2, 1959. Kennedy is standing in the Flowers Building’s Music Room. From the University Archives Photograph Collection.

The Duke Chronicle published its next issue on December 14, 1959, 11 days later. The issue carries only a brief mention of Kennedy’s speech, in an editorial from new editor-in-chief hopeful Jim Brown, who wrote:

We are constantly in danger of focusing all our attention on the sensational. Significant events often pass unnoticed. People all over the nation know of the Chronicle incident. But how many of them heard about the speech that Senator Kennedy made the day after the Cohen article was published. . . . Senator Kennedy’s masterful presentation had a considerable impact on the student body. But compared with “A Christmas Story” the attention that it received was negligible.

Later that afternoon, Marian Sapp was elected by the University Publications Board as the Duke Chronicle’s new editor-in-chief. Kennedy declared his candidacy for president on January 2, 1960. We’re not definitively certain what happened to Steve Cohen, but Sapp herself alluded in her own December 14th editorial to the “destruction . . . of one boy’s right of expression in any University publication.”