Lula Bell's and RLO

Disorienting & Reorienting (PART 1 of 3) Davidson College

Lula Bell's and RLO

Davidson, North Carolina 28036, United States

Created By: Sarah Mellin


Lula Bell’s and RLO

From 1925 to 2015, the building that now hosts Lula Bell’s Resource Center and the Residence Life office was the college laundry (Washburn 2014). Black women did laundry and other washing for the college throughout the 19th century (Lingle 1947, 23) and well into the 1970s, as Black women in 20th century Davidson were often restricted to domestic-style work (Anonymous Interview 2000, 19). The building was converted in 2014-2015 when the college stopped offering its laundry service.

On September 28th in 2003, the slogan “KKK” was spray-painted in 2-3 locations on the walkway and exterior walls of the laundry building. Student Mbye Njie photographed the writing to ensure there would be a record, and observed countless White classmates pass by the site without any acknowledgment or visible reaction. Two weeks later, Njie wrote an article in the Davidsonian discussing that experience and decrying the school’s lack of response and inability to adequately deal with this and other racist incidents. He ended the article with the following:

“To be honest, I cannot even fathom telling prospective students to come to this school. I have seen how the school has reacted to actual acts of racism and not just signs and symbols of prejudice and hate. How am I supposed to also support and sell a school that is elated to have a 5.8 percent African-American population in their freshman class?” (Njie 2003, 8).

This point of interest is part of the tour: Disorienting & Reorienting (PART 1 of 3) Davidson College


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