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ACU marks 50th anniversary of enrollment of first black student


Billy Curl, the first African-American undergraduate student to register at ACU in the fall of 1962, speaks at the school’s 2011 Summit event. Curl, minister of the Crenshaw Church of Christ in Los Angeles, is now a member of ACU’s board of trustees. (Photo by Steve Butman, Abilene Christian University, via www.reporternews.com)

The Abilene Reporter-News in Texas reports:

The irony wasn’t lost on Grant Boone.
On the Monday that marked the 50th anniversary of the end of Abilene Christian College’s 56 years of segregation, African-American faculty member Jerry Taylor was cheered by audience members after a chapel speech that touched on reconciliation between races.
“ACU is a dramatically different place in February 2012 than it was in February 1962 in a million different ways,” Boone said, “but none of those ways are more significant, in my opinion, than that people of all races are allowed to attend here.”

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  • Feedback
    In spite of the racial tensions that sometimes existed outside the doors of congregation where I grew up, I guess I lived a very sheltered existence growing up in a Christian home in a small town. It never really hit me that the separation was once that great even in the brotherhood of believers–until I was in Montgomery with my job a few years ago and saw the close proximity of two of “our” schools(Faulkner University and what was at that time Southern Christian University). I probably consider this anniversary a much more important one than I would had I not visited Montgomery–less than ten years ago!
    Russ Sharp
    February, 9 2012

    Both of my Sons and 2 of my Grandsons graduated from Harding. Another of my grandsons graduated from Pepperdine. Another of my grandsons graduated from Abiline, and one of my sons-law graduated from Oklahoma Christian. I attend the Midtown church of Christ in Racine, Wisconsin. Our Minister graduated from South Western in Terrel, Texas. It is really wonderful that we recogize that God is no respector of race or color.
    Dave Shaner
    February, 9 2012

    I applaud ACU for recognizing this occasion…..segregation in our christian colleges and our churches is a regrettable part of our history. Certainly ACU wasn’t the only school in our brotherhood which practiced prejudice. Brother R.N. Hogan wrote an excellent article in 1953 titled: Is It The Law or Down-Right Prejudice? In the article he mentions several of our “Christian” colleges which barred African-American students: David Lipscomb, Harding, Freed Hardeman, Florida Christian College (now called Florida College). Its encouraging to see how far we have come and our willingness to practice James 2:1….”My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don�t show favoritism.”
    Dennis Billingsley
    February, 9 2012

    When I enrolled in Abilene Christian College in the late 1940’s, following my service in the United States Army, I was somewhat taken aback by the fact that blacks were not allowed to enroll. I had black “buddies” in high school with whom I had played ping pong, softball, and other activities, and in later high school reunions we would reminisce about those days. In the military I experienced discrimination both in the housing arrangements and in the cities near where I was stationed. At A.C.C. I couldn’t help but notice that other races were allowed to enroll. One of my friends told me one day that while he had served in the military, he could not get his books “free,” as I did on the G.I. bill, because, as he put it, he had “fought on the wrong side.” He had been in the Japanese army. In my naivite, I spoke one day in a speech class on what I called “Negro Discrimination.” “Negro” was not a “bad word” back then. For my efforts I received my only “D” in college. We can be thankful that those days are now in the past.
    Gene Carrell
    February, 10 2012

    I came from Bryan TX as a small town boy and naive member of a denomination to ACU in 1981. I thank God that He allowed for me this opportunity to come into contact with the truth of His word and be saved. I have also had to come to grips with the fact that an earthly institution is filled men and manly errors. I found it difficult to understand that certain amounts of hypocrisy and indignation will always be a portion of the actions of His people. It is my prayer that those who prescribe to His will be forgiven for past actions and ultimately fulfill their responsibility that lies in Christ. Philippians 2:1-5
    Archie R. Green
    February, 16 2012

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