of chapel and again expressed their feelings by dancing. Some of the
coeds wore black, and one large banner celebrated "Wake Forest
Monastery." They adjourned the demonstration in good humor,
however, when a college official invited them to return to class.
Years later, Irving Carlyle was to recall the events of that fall in a
letter to his friend Gerald W. Johnson of Baltimore. He wrote, "A rip-
roaring session of the Baptist State Convention is an awesome sight.
The worst one, of course, occurred in 1957 when dancing at the
Baptist colleges was the issue. The chief ingredients seemed to be
emotion, prejudice, and old-fashioned oratory, with all of the
messengers itching in their pants to get hold of a microphone, of
which several are located at strategic places in the aisles of the au-
ditorium. If the Baptist State Convention ever gets a stranglehold on
the throat of the college, which I don't think they ever will, it will be a
sight to behold."
Carlyle added a line which was to become more apparent later: "It
is interesting to see how Dr. Tribble has developed as a two-fisted,
dog-eat-dog type of Baptist fighter."
The convention decision did not spell an end to the controversy
over dancing. In a meeting that followed, the Wake Forest faculty, by
a vote of ninety to eight, passed a related resolution:
We affirm our faith in Wake Forest College as a Christian liberal arts
institution, operating within the framework of duly constituted authority. We
are proud of its traditions and history, of the scholastic and spiritual ideals
which are its heritage and which offer its brightest promise for the future.
Wake Forest has been a friendly, democratic place where a man's social
or financial standing has been subordinate to his character and individual
merit. In such an atmosphere everyone has been given the opportunity of
attaining his rightful measure of integrity and self-realization. So it must
We declare our devotion to the principle of academic freedom, the heart
and soul of any educational institution, be it Christian or secular. Ours has
been a campus where teacher and student alike have sought truth without
fear or interference. We cherish the right to engage freely in thought, in-
quiry, and publication. This principle is implicit in the historic Baptist belief
in the competence and freedom of the individual.
While recognizing that our college is not perfect in any phase of its
existence, we state clearly our confidence in the youth of our college and in
their right to self-government as it has been established in their own
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