192 History of Wake Forest College
They look into Col. Polk's book and find that there are thirty-seven counties in
which there is not even an Episcopal church, and to statistical tables which show
that there are only about 6,000 of these people in the State. They add up the
statistics of all the other denominations in the State and find them about 400,000
strong. Now, how is it, they ask, when the Legislature selects the Board of Trustees
for this "State University" more of them are from this special 6,000 church people
than from the other 400,000 religious people in the State? When the eight
"additional Trustees" are selected, how is it that five are from the 6,000
Episcopalians and only three from all the other people of the State? When the
Executive Committee of seven is chosen, how happens it that four (always a
majority) are from the already favored 6,000, while there are but three from all the
other people of the State? Is this all purely accidental? What explanation can be
How is it that the Methodists, an intelligent, active, popular, influential,
progressive, wide-awake, educating people, numbering in all about 150,000 in the
State, have only one member of the Faculty, while this religiously unpopular and
unprogressive 6,000 Episcopalians have three?
How is it that the Baptists, numbering at least 204,000 in the State, are hardly
known at all among the Trustees and Executive Committee, and have only one
member of the Faculty?
Is there no room for the belief that there is a sectarian bias in its control? Is it the
part of wisdom that it remain thus? If we desire the institution to run successfully
the race set before it, would it not be well to free it from this weight. There can be
no special reason, I think, why a man should control what ought to be the great heart
of our educational interest, simply because he belongs to one of the smallest, most
unpopular and most non-progressive religious denominations in the State. Indeed,
may we not rather forecast from their religious progress what would likely be the
history of this educational interest in their hands? Especially so, since to be
successful it must grapple the people, just the thing the Episcopalian does not do.
But what can be done? We will see.
This was no new argument; it had been made five years before as
the University was resuming operations under new control.2 But it had
not been made so effectively as by Durham. He only stated what was
generally believed. Many well argued disclaim-
2 This and other contentions of friends of the denominational colleges and the
answers made in behalf of the University are outlined at some length in Battle's
History of the University of North Carolina, Vol. II, Chapter III.