said that the time had come for the trustees to adopt a "definitive"
position on the admission of qualified blacks. "We cannot afford to sit
back any longer to see what's going to happen. There is no substitute
for intelligent action," the paper said.
A week later the Student Legislature voted nine to four, with five
abstentions, to "strongly recommend" to the trustees "that there be no
racial discrimination in the admission of students to this college." In
announcing the action Edwin O. Young III, speaker of the legislature,
said, "This is a Christian movement, and as a Christian educational
institution we should take the lead in removing racial discrimination
from our social and educational undertakings." If the student
politicians were divided on the issue, so was the student body. A
subsequent poll showed that while 644 students favored integration,
742 opposed it.
In March 1960 sixty members of the faculty signed a petition which
was to be presented to five Winston-Salem stores asking that their
lunch counters be integrated. Some time later the faculty appointed a
committee, chaired by Dr. J. A. Easley of the Religion Department, to
stake out a position on racial policy. At a meeting on February 3,
1961, the faculty approved a resolution drawn up by the Easley
committee saying that "it is the unanimous judgment of your
committee that it is no longer proper to exclude applicants from the
student body of Wake Forest College …solely on the basis of race or
By that time a student group had formed the African Student
Program through which they hoped to get an African black accepted
at Wake Forest. They contacted missionaries to get the names of
several promising young men, and they selected nineteen-year-old
Edward Reynolds of Ghana as their candidate. At the April meeting
of the Board of Trustees the faculty resolution failed to win approval,
and action on the students' application in behalf of Reynolds was
deferred. But the trustees did authorize the faculties of the graduate
schools to accept students without regard to race. At their June
meeting the trustees lowered the bars further, declaring that blacks
would be eligible to attend evening classes and summer school. Any
credits they received, however, could not be applied toward a Wake
Forest undergraduate degree.
Students involved in the African Student Program were feeling
considerable frustration, but they kept up the pressure. They col-
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