the eleventh
his first year
protests remained “silent” until the following February, when one
student, three instructors, and a representative from the staff of the
“Southern Student Organizing Committee” received permission
from the administration to pass out anti-war literature in the foyer
of Reynolda Hall. As several hundred students looked on, the leaders
of the protest were taunted by a dozen or so angry critics, one of
whom reportedly “grabbed and shook” one of the instructors. That
student later apologized and withdrew from the University. No fur-
ther incidents of this kind occurred during the spring, but the cam-
pus was becoming more and more divided in its attitude toward
the war and the draft, and in March seventeen members of the
faculty signed a petition supporting students who decided consci-
entiously to refuse military service.
The unrest brought about by the Vietnam war was paralleled
by a growing crisis in race relations in the City of Winston-Salem.
In the afternoon of Thursday, November 2, “unorganized roving
gangs”16 of blacks, mostly youths, in the heart of downtown, set
fires, broke windows, looted stores, and threw bricks and bottles
at passing cars. The riots spread to other parts of the city, and there
were sporadic outbursts for several days, but the city police, aided
by the National Guard, gradually established order, and by the fol-
lowing Monday the city was quiet again.
The Wake Forest campus, located several miles from downtown,
was not touched by the riots. On Saturday evening there was a
Homecoming football game with South Carolina, played in the
Bowman Gray Stadium in East Winston, and there were reports
of rocks and bottles being thrown at cars going to and from the
game, but no serious damage seems to have occurred.
Several weeks after the riots, three black leaders, including the
Reverend J.T. McMillan, president of the local chapter of the NAACP,
were invited to the campus to discuss the causes of the violence in
the city. The program drew a capacity crowd to DeTamble Audito-
rium in Tribble Hall. The moderator for the panel was Professor
of Religion G. McLeod Bryan, widely known for his far-seeing and
courageous leadership in the civil rights movement. Reasons given
by the panelists for the riots included white paternalism, “tokenism,”
instances of police brutality, the deplorable housing situation for
many blacks, and the fact that all positions in the Winston-Salem
court system were filled by whites.
These were the
words used by
Mayor M.C. Benton
Jr. to describe the
rioters. For a fair
and thorough cover-
age of the riots and
their aftermath see
the Winston-Salem
Journal for Novem-
ber 3, 1967, and the
next several days.
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