The university campus on the eve of the Civil War
Confederate defeat brought vast changes to North Carolina and the South. Over three hundred thousand slaves, more than one-third of the population, won their freedom in the state. Defining their place in a free society was the central challenge of Reconstruction. In addition, forty thousand white men lost their lives in the war, and the survivors struggled with lasting injuries and property destruction. The University of North Carolina escaped physical damage but faced crippling problems of politics and finance.