Today in NC State History: Students oppose death penalty

February 6, 2013
By Chris Saunders

blog_series6The death penalty has long been a divisive issue on college campuses in the United States, sparking debates and protests among students.

The case was no different on this day — and the next day —  in NC State history in 1974, when students helped organize a two-day protest on campus that served as a vocal condemnation of capital punishment.

Rev. Leon White speaks at the two-day rally on NC State's campus. Photo originally appeared in Feb. 8, 1974, Technician.

The Rev. Leon White speaks at the two-day rally on NC State’s campus. Photo originally appeared in Feb. 8, 1974, Technician.

The Rev. Leon White, a representative of the Commission for Racial Justice, spoke at the rally and characterized the death penalty as a violation of civil rights. He also underscored its negative impact particularly on minority communities.

“White cited North Carolina as having three-fourths of the inmates presently on death row in the nation incarcerated within its prison walls,” reported a Feb. 8, 1974, edition of the Technician.

White, students and professors had to somewhat struggle to be heard on the first day of the rally, when there was no public address system available for use. But on the second day, two students provided an amp and a microphone.

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