courted by the press and public, and comfortable in the safe, successful life the rest of
his family had at UNC and in the state.
Two months before he died, he wrote
to a young scholar who had requested
information about Reconstruction, “I have
no regrets for any substantial part of the
part that I took in Reconstruction.”
Phillips followed his conscience into
Chapel Hill anonymity.
His is an inspiring and powerful part of
the story of North Carolina, the South and
civil rights, during and after Reconstruction. No white lawyer, Northern or Southern, comes close to Phillips’ record in
fighting race discrimination before the
Supreme Court. He is a Southern hero
who took a moral, legal, highly unpopular
and very lonely stand against racial discrimination, and his contributions to
American civil rights law are extraordinary.
Cornelia Phillips Spencer, because of her
gender, was denied the education and careers
open to her brothers. She fashioned her own
journalism career, writing for publications in
the state in the editorial and letters columns.
After the Civil War she was bitterly, persistently critical of the Republican UNC president and the faculty he hired, and she was an
important anti-Republican force in closing
the University from 1871 to 1875. The “
sanitized” Cornelia is known better for the tri-
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DAN SEARS ’ 74
CAROLINA ALUMNI REVIEW