Little Girl Helps with Clean-up, North Carolina Central Law School Fire

Little Girl Helps with Clean-up, North Carolina Central Law School Fire

In 1969 a disgruntled former student started a fire in the North Carolina Central School of Law, destroying $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 spirit of those involved in the effort is perhaps best exemplified by the child pictured in this photograph, of whom then-dean LeMarquis DeJarmon said:

“There is one experience I must share with you. One law student and his wife brought their little daughter with them when they came for the clean-up campaign. Their little daughter, probably between two and a half and three years old, looked like a doll in her blue raincoat and matching blue rain hat. As her mother and father proceeded with ‘operation clean-up,’ this little angelic girl amused herself as long as she could. At last, she walked over, picked up a cloth, dampened it, pulled up a chair, stood on her tip-toes, with her little arms stretching far above her head, tried to reach the bottom of a smoke-stained window. I watched as she tried, but the bottom of that window persisted in exceeding her reach. … My thoughts went back to the ashes and charred remains of our library and to those great legal scholars of the ages who let their minds reach out beyond their times to establish the great principles of individual liberty that we, generations later, now enjoy. We, like them, must let our minds be bold and propose legal principles that will enhance the individual freedom, integrity, and human worth of this little girl and those who follow her, even though the fruition of these goals presently exceeds our reach.”