on the way to the sesquicentennial
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The Trustees, however, confronted with the task of finding
money for the restoration of Graylyn—an early estimate was that
damage from the fire amounted to at least two million dollars—
and aware that responsibilities to the Gray family colored any deci-
sion about the future of the mansion, decided early, for reasons
having to do both with finances and with public relations, that
Graylyn might best become a conference center. Toward that end
a study committee was appointed under the chairmanship of Con-
stance Gray (Mrs. Lyons Gray).
The Gray committee visited a number of conference centers
throughout the United States, employed a consultant to conduct a
market research study, and invited six developers from the Winston-
Salem area to make proposals about how best to use the property. The
committee also stayed in close contact with Gordon Gray of Wash-
ington, D.C., the senior member of the Gray family, who had already
committed $372,000 for air conditioning for the manor house.
At the spring meeting of the Trustees, Albert Butler, basing
his remarks on the findings of the Gray committee, proposed that
Graylyn be restored as the “Graylyn Conference Center” and that
it be financed partially by the sale of up to fifteen acres on Gray-
lyn’s periphery for residential real estate development according
to a plan which would be consistent with the over-all purpose of
the Conference Center. Butler’s recommendation was approved—
Mark Holt, the student trustee, voted against it—and a seven mem-
ber Graylyn Board was appointed: Butler as chairman, Constance
Gray, Mark Holt, two faculty members (Professor of Economics
J. Van Wagstaff and Lecturer Jack Ferner from the Babcock School),
and, from the administration, John Williard and Leon Corbett.
A Graylyn Advisory Committee, also to be chaired by Butler, was
appointed.
Second only, in prolonged debate, to the Graylyn issue was the
revival of charges about racism at Wake Forest which followed two
troublesome campus incidents. In the fall the College Union sched-
uled as part of its film series a showing of D.W. Griffith’s silent mas-
terpiece The Birth of a Nation, adapted from The Clansman, a novel
by a Wake Forest alumnus, Thomas Dixon (M.A., 1883). Both the
novel and the film were irredeemably racist and had long been sub-
ject to severe censure for their degrading treatment of blacks during
the Reconstruction period of American history. Besides, the College
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