Confessions of a Chapel Hill Liberal

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Confessions of a Chapel Hill Liberal

by John Herbert (Jack) Roper
Southern Cultures, Vol. 6, No. 3: Fall 2000

"I became a liberal because my only liberal friend, Frank Chandler, was murdered."

I went to the University of North Carolina to study history in graduate school because I was a liberal and I wanted to study with the liberals who defined the term for me in my South. I wanted to be a Chapel Hill Liberal. My friends and family in South Carolina found all of this amusing, but none of them disputed my assertion that southern liberalism got its start and was still flourishing on The Hill. Like most graduate students in history or any other discipline, I was often dissatisfied and frustrated with my program of studies, but I never doubted that I had come to the sectional center for liberalismand at a time, the 1970s, when people everywhere but Massachusetts were beginning to be ashamed of liberalism.