The Trustee Proposals 149
While the report as a whole was fairly moderate in tone, its ref-
erences to the transgressions of the student publications and to
Brantlev's book, disseminated on the eve of a convention vote crucial
to the future of Wake Forest, rekindled the ashes of old animosities
and placed the trustee proposal in peril.
The "tensions" report appeared in the Biblical Recorder on October
19. A week later a dissenting report signed by 286 Baptist ministers
and laymen appeared in that publication. The statement called for
overwhelming defeat of the trustee plan on the ground that it would
take control of the college out of the hands of North Carolina Baptists.
The broadside protested the continued employment of Russell
Brantley and the failure of the trustees to alter their charter, adding
that the college "has not revealed very much that is being done or
being planned to insure its spiritual growth and to strengthen its
Christian impact." Another claim was that there was no evidence that
the proposed trustee realignment would open up any new sources of
revenue for Wake Forest.
Earlier in October High Point's Central Baptist Association had
adopted resolutions opposing the trustee proposal, censuring Old Gold
and Black for its mixed-drink ad and urging the college to take steps
to remove the "stigma" created by the publication of the Brantley
book. Concurrently, at the annual session of the Alexander
Association at Taylorsville, the messengers had voted seventy-nine to
two against the trustee resolution.
A Wake Forest trustee, Rev. Tom Freeman of Dunn, already dis-
tinguished as a bitter critic of the college, got space in the Biblical
Recorder to present two lengthy articles in negative analysis of the
trustee plan, saving at one point that part of the motivation behind it
was that "the Reynolds Foundation would like to control the college."
A majority of the trustees issued an immediate rebuttal in which they
said they "deplore and repudiate Mr. Freeman's misstatements." But
Freeman had a large following in conservative strongholds.
In the last weeks before the convention Wake Forest mounted a
counterattack of considerable dimension. A statement agreeing with
the trustee idea "in principle" was circulated in late October over the
signatures of a number of prominent Baptists. They included Rev.
Julius Corpening, Durham; Rev. Herbert W. Baucom, Jr., Oxford;
Rev. James S. Potter, Charlotte; Rev. Calvin S. Knight,