Story+ Project

The Seat of Fascism: Narratives of Repression and Resistance in North Carolina


In the 1970s, the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) selected North Carolina to be the focus of its inaugural campaign. On July 4, 1974, an estimated 10,000 people from over twenty-five states traveled to Raleigh to participate in a protest organized by the NAARPR and sponsored by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. From the steps of the Capitol building, keynote speaker Angela Davis suggested “racism and political repression is more severe in North Carolina than in any other state in this country.” ‘The Seat of Fascism’: Narratives of Repression and Resistance in North Carolina, offers students the opportunity to examine this unique and important moment in history. What can the constellation of social movement campaigns from 1970s North Carolina tell us about the role of the carceral state in stifling democracy and suppressing meaningful social change? Students that join our Story+ team will investigate whether and how the state uses incarceration as a tool of repression in the post-Civil Rights era by collecting, analyzing, and interpreting archival materials focusing on the NAARPR, including documents from the Duke student chapter of the organization, as well as the North Carolina Political Prisoners Committee. With the materials they collect from Rubenstein’s archival collections - such as protest ephemera, meeting notes, legal documents, legislative records, images, zine articles, and personal correspondence - students will excavate the past in an effort to contextualize the present, inviting audiences to consider how these histories might align with or inform contemporary movements in Durham and across North Carolina that are fighting against political repression, mass incarceration, and police violence. By the end of the six week term, student researchers will create a digital database focusing on collection items that will help us tell the story of political repression and resistance in North Carolina. 

Project Sponsor(s): 

Kimber Heinz of Scaffold Exhibits and Consulting

Meghan McDowell, 2020 - 2021 Humanities Unbounded Visiting Faculty Fellow at Duke 

Source: NAARPR


  • Civil Rights
  • Archives
  • Human Rights
  • History