Neo-Black Society

Posted on May 30, 2017

Scene from the picket lines of the Food Service Workers’ Strike, 1969

The Neo-Black Society (NBS) is a student organization founded in the fall of 1968 with the stated missions of increasing awareness of Black culture, promoting equality on campus, and as a service organization supporting the greater Greensboro community.  NBS continues in these missions today.  The organization was founded by then student Ada Fisher, along with three other female African-American students.  At the organization’s founding, Ada Fisher told The Carolinian that the organization’s goals for the 1968-1969 academic year were to help with voter registration, to work with the University’s tutoring service for low-income youth, and to establish an Afro-American history course at UNCG.  According to founding member Marie Darr Scott, the founding of the NBS came, in part, out of a controversial Black Power Forum hosted by UNCG the previous year (1967). One of the earliest activities of the NBS was to participate in marches and sit-ins in support of the 1969 Food Service Worker’s Strike on campus.

The founding of the NBS was not without heated controversy, as accusations of “reverse racism” plagued the early years of the organization.  In the spring of 1973, when NBS had grown to a membership of 145 students, six white UNCG students (four of whom were Student Government Association Senators at the time) filed a complaint with the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Committee on Classification of Organizations, calling for the revocation of NBS’s standing as a financially-supported student organization. The SGA Committee determined that the petitioner’s statements did not meet the burden for reclassifying NBS and revoking its funding.  However, in a subsequent full meeting of the Student Senate, a vote was taken on the issue, and the Senate voted to reclassify the NBS, removing its funding and rights to use university facilities.  A scuffle in the Senate chambers after the vote landed one student in the hospital and another was tried and found guilty in District Court of assault.  An estimated 750 students (both black and white) gathered in front of the Mossman Building for a sit-in demonstration to protest the Student Senate’s decision.  Chancellor James Ferguson convened a faculty committee which overturned the Student Senate’s decision.

In 2006, NBS became the largest affiliated organization at UNCG.  The NBS continues today to promote community service among its membership, as well as sponsoring cultural and artistic groups from its membership such as the NBS Gospel Choir, among others.

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