Editor's note: This story is the ninth entry in a series called Flashback, which The Chronicle will be running online weekly through the end of the summer. We welcome readers' input about old stories they would like to see featured. 

In the summer of 1971, thousands of people flocked to Duke for a sporting event. 

But this time it wasn’t a basketball game.

On July 16 and July 17, 1971, in the midst of a sweltering North Carolina summer, more than 52,000 people gathered in Wallace Wade Stadium to watch the Pan Africa-USA International Track Meet. Duke hosted 180 athletes from the USA and 14 countries that comprised the “Pan Africa” team. The Chronicle published several articles the first day of the event to celebrate the occasion.

“The track meet is sanctioned by the International Section of the Amateur Athletic Union and the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa,” The Chronicle wrote in one article. “The meet marks the first time that athletes from the continent of Africa will be competing under one banner.”

The two-day event was not only marked the first competition for the Pan-African team, but also the first time that an international track meet was held in the American South.

Then-Governor Bob Scott of North Carolina welcomed the Pan-African team and their diplomats at Raleigh-Durham International Airport where he held a press conference in an “impromptu newsroom,” Chronicle writer Sue Taylor described in another article.

“[North Carolinians have] a strong conviction that more things unite than divide men, and that this meet provides a unique opportunity to come to know how we live and work,” Governor Scott said that day.

Taylor described the general theme of the welcome addresses as “peace through sports.” The rosters for both teams boasted “several Olympic Medal winners, world record holders, and national record holders,” The Chronicle wrote.

To watch the American and African track stars, people paid $1.50 for general admission and $2.50 for preferential seating. The profit from admissions—up to $7,500—was to be donated to three charities.