Ronald R. Caldwell oral history interview, 2005 May 31
Ronald Caldwell discusses his involvement in the black student movement on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte during the late 1960s to the early 1970s. He discusses Stokely Carmichael's campus speech; the February 26, 1969 protest and presenting the school administration with the 'Ten Demands'; and the black students' focus on increasing African American enrollment to the university. Dr. Caldwell explains that Vice Chancellor Bonnie Cone was the reason why tensions did not explode as it did on other campus. He describes how Dr. Cone -- who had been very supportive of the black students over the years and who was well-liked and respected by the students -- ignored the state governor's policy of bringing in state police to control the situation and instead took their demands seriously and wanted to help. Ultimately the administration was willing to work with the students on many of their demands. Other topics discussed includes changing race relations on campus; the students' relationship with off-campus activists; and the fact that the students had to be very careful with their actions, because they were being watched by local and state law enforcement who were ready to overreact to the slightest provocation.
Ronald Caldwell was a 55-year-old man at the time of interview, which took place in his office in Asheville, North Carolina. He was born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina in 1950. He was educated at UNC Charlotte and Wake Forest School of Medicine, and was employed as a physician.
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