One of the three protagonists of the book The Free Men by John Ehle, John Dunne's leadership during the integration protests of 1963 and 1964 helped bring about change in the town of Chapel Hill.
In 1963, Karen Parker enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill, becoming the first black female undergraduate in Carolina's history. Parker was arrested and jailed twice for her participation in the sit-ins to integrate Chapel Hill businesses.
Formally created in spring 1965, Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) played a key role in the challenge to the North Carolina Speaker Ban law. Throughout the controversy SDS was under scrutiny by the FBI and by campus police.
Paul Dickson played a critical role in organizing fellow students in opposition to the North Carolina Speaker Ban law. Philosophically in support of the fight against Communism, Dickson still felt that freedom of speech was paramount and fought to let Communists speak on campus.
A community organizer before enrolling at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Dobbins brought his experience to the 1969 struggle to achieve more rights for black students and non-academic workers at UNC.
Cousins Mary Smith and Elizabeth Brooks were employees of the Pine Room in Lenoir Dining Hall. They campaigned, along with students, for improved working conditions and pay for foodworkers and other "non-academic" workers on campus.
Elected president of the student body in March 1970, Tommy Bello was in office less than two months before the campus was swept up in the national reaction to the shootings at Kent State University. His leadership helped the student body through this time of turmoil without escalated violence.
Under the leadership of its director, Anne Queen, the Campus Y sponsored many programs concerned with the crucial issues of the day, including Vietnam, the death of Martin Luther King Jr., and the foodworkers' strike.