venice,
visitation and victory
|
87
argued that the University’s
regular program was “irrel-
evant” to black students and
amounted to nothing more
than “indoctrination.” The
faculty’s Executive Commit-
tee responded by declaring
that the “counter-orientation”
constituted an “obstruction
of the normal procedures of
the University,” and the Afro-
American Society’s planned
activities were either canceled
or rescheduled.
As with the Vietnam
war, the complicated issues
of race and a painful aware-
ness that the University was
insufficiently alert to the
perspective of black students
(in the fall of 1970 there
were still only twenty-one
enrolled) were cause for widespread concern. In public forums the
continuation of the legacy of segregation was discussed and de-
plored, and in April Floyd McKissick, the organizer of the experi-
mental and much heralded “Soul City” project in eastern North
Carolina, spoke on “The Liberation of Black America.” His empha-
sis was on “economic opportunity” for black citizens.2
For most students the inflammatory campus issue continued to
be neither Vietnam nor race but the refusal of the administration
and Trustees to accept their demands for visitation rights. In the
spring election an impressively large turnout of voters—approxi-
mately sixty percent of the student body—chose as student body
president Bill DeWeese, an energetic and determined junior already
known as a sometimes fiery advocate of visitation, and as vice-
president an independent candidate, George Bryan, equally well
known for his bold positions on the war and on civil rights. Visita-
tion, DeWeese said, is “the biggest social issue in the recent history
of Wake Forest” and, at a combo party attended by about seven
2
I have read and
used The History of
Integration at Wake
Forest University,
written by E. Kemp
Reece, Jr. (B.A.,
1981) for a history
class taught by
Associate Professor
J. Howell Smith.
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