When Societies Collide: Radicalizing Wilmington's Black Youth

When Societies Collide is a public history project, supported by UNCW, that seeks to pair sequential art with historical narratives about desegregation and intergation in Wilmington to educate the public in an interactive way.

When Societies Collide investigates important moments of racial tension in Wilmington and presents that 1968 was an explosive year for African American students in Wilmington. The assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the slow progress to implement school desegregation, and the closing of “all-Black” Williston Senior High School (WSH) brought long-standing frustrations over racial inequality to the surface. Many young African Americans were deeply affected by these events which encouraged their involvement in the Black Power Movement.

Incorporated within the project is:

  • Two illustrated (Graphic Novel) oral histories on Dr. Hubert Eaton Sr., a community leader as well as a physician, and Mrs. Bertha B. Todd a Civil Rights activist that served as a librarian at "all- black" Williston Senior High School for 14 years.

  • Oral Histories from Mrs. Bertha B. Todd, Dr. Earl Sheridan (Former UNCW Political Science Department Chair and Professor at UNCW), and Mrs. Deborah Dicks Maxwell (President of the New Hanover County NAACP and District Director for the Walter B. White District of North Carolina NAACP). 

  • An exhibit that includes illustrated oral histories within a historical narrative. The exhibit will be displayed at UNCW in Morton Hall.



Darrien Bailey, Dr. Jennifer Le Zotte, UNCW Public History and Special Collections