a whirlwind of ideas
|
69
they had not led to public displays of bitterness and anger. In October
1969, however, in response to a nation-wide movement, sponsored
by the Vietnam Moratorium Committee, which called for “Ameri-
can withdrawal or a negotiated settlement” in Vietnam, students
from colleges and universities across America began making plans
for a one-day boycott of classes and research work on October 15.
Wake Forest students, characteristically hesitant about endorsing
activism in support of a controversial cause, agreed to accept a sug-
gestion by President Scales that, instead of supporting a boycott,
they attend a “University Convocation for Peace,” a service of
“prayer and witness against the continuous killing in Vietnam.”
The convocation did take place, and an estimated sixteen hundred
people were present. Some poems, as well as lessons from the Old
and New Testaments, were read and appropriate prayers and anthems
were said and sung. The administration also announced that indi-
vidual faculty members and students could, if they chose, miss
classes that day without penalty or blame. Class attendance was
later reported to have been “slightly less than normal.”
The work of the Vietnam Moratorium Committee continued
after October 15, and on the Wake Forest campus it was organized by
co-chairmen Kirk Fuller, a junior from Kinston, and Bart Charlow,
a senior from South Fallsburg, New York. Fuller said that he had
been “very pleased” with the October 15 convocation but that it had
been “too academic” and that he hoped the next “moratorium,”
scheduled for November 14–15, would involve more students and
townspeople and be more effective. He said that a boycott of classes
was not being contemplated but that a march on November 4 was
being planned by the Inter-Denominational Committee under the
leadership of George Bryan, a sophomore from Winston-Salem.
The November 14 march took the form of a candlelight parade
in downtown Winston-Salem: the local counterpart of a march
in Washington which brought together an estimated crowd of a
million and a half people. Charlow and Fuller announced that the
goals of the Moratorium were not just to end the war speedily but
also to deal with racial and social injustice at home. Increasingly,
significant links were being forged between opposition to the war
and devotion to civil rights causes.
The December Moratorium was centered on a march and rally
in Fayetteville, near Fort Bragg, and was intended to show support
Previous Page Next Page