Battle Hall

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Current home of the Department of African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (a department that dates, in a variety of names, to 1969). Originally, this site functioned as one of the hotels that serviced the campus community and employed slave labor. The building is named after Kemp Plummer Battle, who was the first President of the University after it closed during reconstruction.

Mr. Battle was a lawyer and a large slave owner (slaves acquired from his wife) on two plantations in Eastern North Carolina.  Battle authored a two volume work titled History of the University of North Carolina. Volume 1: 1789 – 1868, covers the history of the University from its beginnings to the death of University President Swain and volume 2 picks up from 1868 and spans to 1912.  Both works are a useful source for information about black Chapel Hill, even though his attitudes and assumptions are definitely a product of his times.

Additional Resources:

The Battle Family Papers #3223, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.