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Daniels Building

Daniels Building

In 1963 the UNC Board of Trustees approved construction of a new building to house the campus bookstore, a relief to students who had complained about crowded conditions in the Book Exchange, located in the basement of Steele Building. The new bookstore was one of three new student services buildings built on the former site of Emerson Field. It was flanked on either side by the new House Undergraduate Library and Graham Student Union and faced the newly built sunken brick pit created during the construction of the new buildings. When it opened in time for the fall 1968 school year, the new Josephus Daniels Building housed the Book Exchange, which sold textbooks and school supplies, the Bull's Head Bookshop, and other offices and services. In addition to many other modern features, the Daniels Building was an early adopter of cameras and closed circuit television to guard against theft (and also, bookstore administrators argued, to analyze traffic patterns in the store). With the new building, the Book Exchange name was retired and it was commonly referred to as Student Stores. In addition to selling books and supplies, Student Stores also offered a popular check-cashing service in the 1970s and 1980s. A 1973 Daily Tar Heel article reported that the store regularly cashed more than 1,000 checks a day for students.

In 2016, after more than a century of operating a textbook store on campus, the university outsourced the bookstore to Barnes and Noble, which renovated the interior of the building but retained the Student Stores and Bull's Head Bookshop names.

The building is named for Josephus Daniels, who had a long career in journalism and public service. Daniels attended law school at UNC in the 1880s and was an ardent supporter of the university throughout his life, serving on the board of trustees for more than forty years. In 1894, with support from Julian Carr, Daniels purchased the Raleigh News and Observer and turned it into a leading paper in the state, as well as one of the primary political tools of the North Carolina Democratic Party. The News and Observer was active during the 1898 statewide campaign and was an ardent supporter of the Democrats' white supremacy platform. Throughout the campaign, the paper repeatedly ran viciously racist political cartoons on the front page, many warning of the evils of "Negro domination" that would come if voters failed to elect Democrats. Following the successful campaign and the election two years later of his friend Charles B. Aycock as governor, Daniels was instrumental in developing the legislation that would effectively disenfranchise North Carolina's African American voters for the next half century. Daniels's political connections reached far beyond North Carolina and led to prominent posts in the federal government. He served as secretary of the navy during the administration of Woodrow Wilson, and then later as U.S. ambassador to Mexico under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Daniels returned to Raleigh in 1941 to resume his work on the News and Observer and work on his multivolume autobiography.

Date Established: 1964

Date Range: 1964 – Present

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