When the North Carolina Central University School of Law opened in 1940, it had no dedicated space, no library, no established faculty, and a single student, Robert Richard Bond. Bond had to visit other schools’ law libraries at night because as an African American, he was not allowed access during the day. In the 1970s the library housed 42,000 volumes, compared to 150,000 at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
The library experienced a catastrophe when, in 1969, a disgruntled former student started a fire that destroyed $500,000 worth of library books. Many of these books were long out of print and thus irreplaceable. Students, staff, and faculty rallied to repair what they could and held a fund drive to raise money to buy the items that could be replaced. The library today houses more than 400,000 titles.