North Carolina Leaders

Kelly Alexander Sr., Fred Alexander, Julius Chambers, and Reginald Hawkins
Civil Rights Activists
In 1965, the homes of Charlotte civil rights activists Kelly Alexander Sr., Fred Alexander, Julius Chambers, and Reginald Hawkins are bombed.
Harvey Beech, James Lassiter, J. Kenneth Lee, and Floyd B. McKissick
First African-American UNC Law Students
In 1951, a court order requires the University of North Carolina to admit minority students to its graduate and professional schools. Floyd B. McKissick, Harvey Beech, J. Kenneth Lee, and James Lassiter become the first African Americans admitted to the law school.John Lewis Brandon, Leroy Frasier and Ralph Frasier
First African-American UNC-CH Freshmen

Leroy Frasier, John Lewis Brandon, and Ralph Frasier
In 1955, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill admits the first African American freshmen: Leroy Frasier, John Lewis Brandon, and Ralph Frasier.
Ben Chavis
Civil Rights Organizer
Following the 1970 trial and subsequent acquittal of three white men charged with murdering an African American man in Oxford, N.C., Ben Chavis, a local civil rights organizer, started a boycott of white owned businesses in the area. This boycott was eventually successful in bringing about racial integration in Oxford.

Henry E. Frye
N.C. House of Representatives
In 1968, Henry E. Frye becomes the first African American elected to the N.C. House of Representatives in the twentieth century.

Greensboro Four:
Ezell Blair, Jr., Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, and David Richmond
Civil Rights Activists
On Feb. 1, 1960 four black freshmen at North Carolina A&T State University, Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair, Jr., and David Richmond, took seats at the segregated lunch counter of F. W. Woolworth's in Greensboro, N.C. They were refused service and sat peacefully until the store closed. They returned the next day, along with about 25 other students, and their requests were again denied. The Greensboro Four inspired similar sit-ins across the state and by the end of February, such protests were taking place across the South. Finally in July, Woolworth's integrated all of its stores. The four have become icons of the civil rights movement.

Jesse Jackson
Student Leader and Black Activist,
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
In 1960, Jesse Jackson enrolls at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. In 1963, Cliff MacKay of the Baltimore Afro-American, reporting on protests in Greensboro, quotes a young Jesse Jackson, student president of North Carolina A. & T.: "When a police dog bites us in Birmingham, people of color bleed all over America" ["Police Dogs in Ala. Spur N.C. Unrest," Afro-American]. Jackson would go on to participate in Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic march on Selma, Alabama, becoming a prominent an civil rights activist, Baptist minister, and American political candidate.
Bruce Jones
Director, N. C. Commission of Indian Affairs
In 1971, the General Assembly establishes the N. C. Commission of Indian Affairs with Bruce Jones, a Lumbee, as the first director.

Howard Lee
Mayor, Chapel Hill, N.C.
In 1968, Howard Lee is elected mayor of Chapel Hill, making him the first African American mayor of a predominantly white southern city.

John Lewis
SNCC chairman
In 1960, college students involved in sit-in demonstrations hold a conference at Shaw University in Raleigh and form the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), pronounced "SNICK." The organization adopts Gandhi's theory of nonviolent direct action. SNCC chairman John Lewis is one of the speakers at the March on Washington in 1963.

Clarence Lightner
Raleigh’s First African-American Mayor
In 1973, Clarence Lightner becomes Raleigh's first African-American mayor.

Larry Little
Civil Rights Activist & Leader, Black Panthers
In 1970, he Winston-Salem chapter of the Black Panther Party receives its charter from the national party. The chapter has its beginnings in the East Winston Organization of Black Liberation, a group of African American students advocating community activism to combat police brutality and racial discrimination. Other North Carolina cities also have Black Panther chapters.

Rev. Douglas E. Moore
Black Activist
In 1957, seven black activists led by Rev. Douglas E. Moore challenge segregation with a sit-in at Durham's Royal Ice Cream Company.

Nathan C. Newbold
Director, Division of Negro Education
In 1921, North Carolina establishes the Division of Negro Education, with Nathan C. Newbold as director and George E. Davis as his assistant.

Henry Ward Oxendine
First American Indian Elected to N.C. General Assembly
In 1972, Henry Ward Oxendine, a Lumbee from Robeson County, becomes the first American Indian elected to the General Assembly.

Dr. James E. Shepard
Founder, The National Religious Training School and Chautauqua
In 1910, the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua, founded by Dr. James E. Shepard, opens in Durham. In 1923, it becomes a state-supported school to train African-American teachers. Two years later, the General Assembly makes it the nation's first state-supported liberal arts college for blacks, named the N. C. College for Negroes. It eventually becomes N. C. Central University.

Warren Wheeler
Founder, Wheeler Flying Service
In 1969, Durham resident Warren Wheeler founds Wheeler Flying Service, becoming the first African American to own a commercial airline.