School Installs Permanent Exhibit: “Terry Sanford: An American Original”

Terry Sanford, North Carolina Governor, U.S. Senator, Duke University President and namesake of the Sanford School of Public Policy, had a long and remarkable life of public service.  On Oct. 1, the photography exhibit “Terry Sanford: An American Original” will open at the Sanford School of Public Policy to provide a window into his life and legacies.

“The Sanford School owes its existence to the vision of Terry Sanford,” said Bruce Kuniholm, inaugural dean of the school. “He was a progressive, inspiring leader, not only in education, but in civil rights. We decided to make this exhibit a permanent installation in order to provide current and future students – as well as the many other visitors to the Sanford Building – with some insight into the man who was ranked by one Harvard study as one of the 10 best governors of the 20th century.”

The 20 black and white photographs illustrate some the highlights of Sanford’s career, particularly his time as governor.  Curators plan to expand the exhibit during the inaugural year of the school.

During his campaign for governor, Sanford championed educational reform.  “A second rate education can only mean a second rate future for North Carolina,” Sanford declared in his inaugural address in January of 1961.  He worked to improve public schools by hiring more teachers and reducing class size.  He also initiated programs for the state’s brightest and most talented students, such as the North Carolina School of the Arts and the Governor’s School.

Sanford was an early supporter of President John F. Kennedy and had the honor of seconding Kennedy’s nomination at the 1960 Democratic convention.  The two leaders held similar views on economic development and issues of civil rights and poverty, issues that were key to Sanford’s administration.

To address these problems, Sanford initiated two ground-breaking programs.  The Good Neighbor Council was an interracial organization focused on fair employment practices and improving race relations.  The North Carolina Fund, a nonprofit dedicated addressing poverty and economic opportunity across the state, was the model for federal programs such as Vista and Head Start.    

“Terry Sanford: An American Original” was made possible by a generous gift from Duke alumna Jennifer Hillman AB’79, G’79. The exhibition was curated by photographers Bill Bamberger and Alex Harris, professor of the practice of public policy and co-founder of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. The photographs were printed by Bill Bamberger. Exhibition text by historian Kenneth Zogry, edited by Karen Kemp. Robert R. Korstad, the Kevin D. Gorter Professor of Public Policy and History, served as historical consultant. Korstad’s book about the North Carolina Fund, To Right These Wrongs, will be published in April 2010.

The exhibit is free and open to the public in the lobby of the Sanford Building, weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.  For information, contact Karen Kemp at 919-613-7394, karen.kemp@duke.edu