Introduction to the Project

The “Davidson Disorientation” was an alternative campus tour created and hosted by Tian Yi (‘18) and Sarah HD Mellin, as part of the student organization Davidson Teach-Ins, in Spring of 2018. The tour highlighted the history of White supremacy and anti-Blackness on campus by linking locations at the college to specific racist histories and legacies. This project is an expansion and extension of that work, compiled by Sarah HD Mellin; it is based off of additional scholarly and archival research in both the Davidson and NC State archives, resulting in:

  • A central domain and website at which this work is compiled, including project history and context, goals and scope, methodology, acknowledgments and collaborations, and citations. All of these are accessible from the home page
  • A digital showcase of key points in the college’s history organized thematically with the help of visual aids, accessible here
  • A virtual tour via app (available on smartphone or tablet) that allows individuals to learn about physical locations on campus in-person or remotely. The tour is divided into 3 sections, and instructions for accessing it can be found here
  • Ongoing collaborations with on-campus programs or departments that request a tour specifically tailored to the interest of their organization (e.g. STRIDE and the VAC Gallery)

There will also be a public event regarding this project in September in order to allow space for community questions, feedback, etc. and delve more into the research process, potential applications for this work at the college, and areas for further research (date and location will be publicized).

Content warning: please be advised that this project deals with incidents of violence, including discussion of enslavement, physical assault, and murder. There is only one visual depiction of direct violence (specifically a mock lynching), which is presented in the visual and thematic narrative and preceded by its own content warning.

Much of the information discussed here may be disturbing to readers for a variety of reasons. Confronting textual and visual evidence of violence and inequality in our past and present is not, nor should it be, easy. Please note that information will only be removed from this project if I receive confirmation that it is factually incorrect or if the public nature of certain information violates the safety, comfort, or confidentiality of a project contributor and/or cited individual. 

To return to the home page at any time, click on the “Disorienting & Reorienting” heading that appears at the top of each page.