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The New Southern UniversityAcademic Freedom and Liberalism at UNC$
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Charles Holden

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813134383

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813134383.001.0001

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“A Complex and Baffling Age”:

“A Complex and Baffling Age”:

Frank Porter Graham Ushers in a New Decade

(p.75) 3 “A Complex and Baffling Age”:
The New Southern University

Charles J. Holden

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter offers a brief introduction to Frank Porter Graham's presidency at the UNC. Enormously popular and relentlessly positive, Graham remains a university legend. A native North Carolinian, his 1931 inaugural address reasserted the university's aspirations to be a beacon of academic freedom for the state and the south. The address also revealed Graham's insights into the challenges facing the university as well as academic freedom itself. In addition to acknowledging the worsening conditions of the Great Depression, Graham saw a world still troubled by violence and prejudice. The world, as he saw it, needed the fruits of academic freedom more than ever. A well-known liberal, his presidency also signaled a new day for southern progressives. Graham's liberalism and his tireless defense of academic freedom enabled critics to not bother with the distinctions between the two.

Keywords:   liberalism, academic freedom, Graham, progressivism, North Carolina, Great Depression

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