In the Spring of 2021, our team of talented undergraduate students created a website that tells the story of North Carolina’s human rights history since 1948, when the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The UDHR specifies agreed-upon rights—economic, social, cultural, political and civil rights– that all human beings have at birth, even if governments violate them or seek to limit them. They run deeper than constitutional rights because we are born with them as  basic rights coming from shared values like dignity, fairness, and independence.  The UDHR aims to prevent the kinds of horrors the world’s people, especially vulnerable populations, had just experienced at the hands of authoritarian regimes that brought on a merciless world war. We invite you to learn more about the UDHR here.

We made the website because North Carolina has been a battleground for human rights. This makes mapping our state ideal to understand why human rights matter. When we grasp the two-sidedness of our history—both the ghastly abuses and the brave campaigns to stop them—and see the dignity of all people we will be able to flourish together. Because as North Carolina’s legendary champion of equality Pauli Murray taught, “ human rights are indivisible.”

We invite you to explore our stories. We have organized them by the decades when they occurred and by where they occurred in the state on the map. If you see a map marker of interest, go to the decade of the date in question for full information. This structure means that new classes of human right students can keep building out the map to tell a fuller story, so we invite you to share with us your ideas about what to add next!

This StoryMap is the group project of the graduating seniors in the class of 2021 Duke Human Rights Center Certificate Program capstone course:  Cecilia Cardelle, Ce’Ondra Ellison, Sarah Kane, Multy Oliver, Zara Porter, Naraya Price, Daniel Raftis, and Eritrea Temesghen.

For Further Research into North Carolina’s Human Rights History

We’re so glad you want to dig deeper!  Here you will find additional resources.

We are always looking to add to our collection of information on this topic, so please alert us to any kindred projects, sources, or people or events we should add. Send to dhrc.fhi@duke.edu with “Map Project” as subject line.

Kindred Online Projects

Resources Consulted for Our Story Map Entries

North Carolina Human Rights Champions

Bibliography of North Carolina Human Rights History Since the UDHR (1948)