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| the history of wake forest
In the aftermath of the riots and the discussions and newspaper
articles that followed, both the City of Winston-Salem and the cam-
pus of Wake Forest began to focus creatively on what were charac-
teristically called “urban problems.” In April 1968 three hundred
Wake Foresters—students and teachers—walked the four and a
half miles to the city’s downtown to urge that actions be taken to
“alleviate” these “problems.” Two hundred students pledged to give
eight hours of labor to serve in some constructive way. The adminis-
tration gave to the marchers the strong official support of the Uni-
versity, and the Trustees followed with their own applause and
commendation. President Scales announced the formation of an
“Urban Institute” which would look at such problems in the city as
“health, housing, education, employment, physical development,
cultural renewal, and community organization.” Assistant Profes-
sor of Economics J. Van Wagstaff was named director of the Insti-
tute, and Professor Emeritus of Religion J. Allen Easley was
appointed to plan a program for the training of the City police.17
Issues of race continued to receive public attention in the spring.
At a meeting of the still unrecognized Wake Forest “Afro-American
Society” black students called upon their white classmates to fight
racism. Howard Fuller, director of the Foundation for Community
Development in Durham and a “black power advocate,” spoke on
campus, as did U.S. Representative John Conyers from Michigan.
Following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4,
five hundred mourners came to Wait Chapel and heard Chaplain
L.H. Hollingsworth thank God “for the gentleness and goodness
and courage of this good man, but most of all for his insight, for his
dream.” Inevitably, some of us who had been at Wake Forest at the
time recalled Dr. King’s one visit to the campus: in October 1962
for a speech in Wait Chapel. I remembered walking over to the
chapel that evening with Trustee James Mason, grateful that we
were about to hear a man of rare eloquence and vision.
The perplexing problems surrounding Wake Forest’s relations
with the Baptist State Convention were, as had been true for a long
time, regularly discussed—by the University administration, by
Convention leaders, and by interested alumni—but no advances
toward a solution were made during the first year of the Scales presi-
dency. Not long after Scales’s arrival he had expressed the hope that
one-fourth of the University Trustees might in the future be selected
17
For an account of
the establishment
and achievements
of the Institute see
“The Urban Affairs
Institute,” by J. Van
Wagstaff, in The
Wake Forest Mag-
azine XVI (May
1969), 13–15.
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