the end of chapel and the changing college scene
to recruit “persons of all races” to the teaching and administrative
staff; and to accelerate efforts “to attract capable Negro students.”
Seventy members of the faculty, in a petition proposed by As-
sistant Professor of Biology Peter Weigl, took action in their own
way toward supporting the cause of better race relations. They said
that henceforward they would be “unwilling to serve as chaperones5
of any function at any segregated facility.” Also, Assistant Professor
of History Howell Smith announced that, during the following year,
he would offer a course in the “History of the American Negro.”
One response by black students to these developments was the
formation in the spring of an Afro-American Society to “promote
respect, unity, dignity, and recognition of the black student, his race,
culture and heritage.” The Society’s constitution was approved by
the College faculty. Thirty-three students joined, and Freemon
Mark, a sophomore from Elon College,6 was named president.
Meanwhile, several programs already underway in the city of
Winston-Salem were illustrative of a continuing desire on the part
of both the city and the University to collaborate on racial and ur-
ban problems. Wake Forest’s Urban Institute offered a seven-week
training course for thirteen city policemen. Students began to ful-
fill pledges they had made the previous spring to work in under-
privileged sections of the city, concentrating some of their efforts
at the YMCA on Patterson Avenue downtown. And four students
—Roger Hull of Mt. Pleasant, Tennessee; John Perry of Greens-
boro; Mack Shuping of Salisbury; and Laura Stringfellow of
Bethesda, Maryland—announced the formation of a “Covenant
Committee,” sponsored by the Campus Ministry and working
with the Experiment in Self-Reliance, which would explore the
possibility of renting a house downtown which would become a
“home” for students wanting to live in the central part of the city.7
Closer to the campus, the Old Town Country Club, bordering
Wake Forest on the southeast, announced that its golf course, pre-
viously made available during certain hours to faculty, staff, and
students, could no longer be used by University personnel except
for members of the golf team. The reason given publicly for this
policy change was that the course was becoming “overcrowded,”
but University observers noted that there were no black members
among the 325 families in the Club and that the Club must there-
fore have decided to maintain its segregated status.
In 1968 chaperones
were still required
for student parties,
dances, and other
similar functions.
To avoid confusion,
I should explain that
“Elon College” is the
name of Mark’s
home town.
See the “In Retro-
spect” essay, “Reflec-
tions on Covenant
House,” by Laura
Stringfellow Wilson.
It captures in an
especially poignant
and personal way
the mood of the
times—and of the
campus—which led
some students to
confront a world
that they saw chang-
ing all around them.
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