(First in a series; ; 9,900 views as of 4/14/24)

Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend. (Proverbs 27:10)

Last Friday at 4:31 PM ET, Wheaton College released a 122-page report, the center of which is a denunciation of J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. who served as Wheaton’s president from 1926-1940. Their Report was written and signed by an entity called the “Historical Review Task Force” which, two years ago, had been appointed by Wheaton’s Board of Trustees acting on the request of current president, Phil Ryken.

The Task Force’s fifteen members included representatives from the trustees, staff, students, faculty, and alumni. They were assisted by two “research assistants” and one “archivist.” The most prominent individual on the Task Force (his name fittingly appearing top left of the membership list) was Wheaton Board of Trustees member Darrell Bock, of Dallas Theological Seminary.

The Task Force Report was released last Friday afternoon through a link in Wheaton’s student newspaper, The Wheaton Record. The link worked at first, but by the following Tuesday morning, September 19, 2023, the link was dead.

The Record made the College’s announcement under the headline “Historical Race Review Announces Library Name Change, Laments College’s Past Racism.” The secondary headline read, “The report chronicled 140 years of Wheaton history regarding racial and ethnic minorities, and issued new institutional commitments.”

The  Record prefaced the article with this italicized statement:

In light of the facts brought forth by the Historical Race Task Force report, the Record acknowledges the instances of racism in its own institutional history, and we repent of our historical predecessors’ complicity in perpetuating racism in the campus culture.

Who, specifically, was “perpetuating racism” at Wheaton?

J. Oliver Buswell, Jr.

Buswell Library, Wheaton College

Wheaton’s library is named “Buswell Library,” and thus the headline, “Historical Race Review announces library name change.” From the task force document:

The Trustees will instruct the administration to remove President James Oliver Buswell, Jr’s name from the Wheaton College Library.


As a public acknowledgment of our collective grief and institutional repentance over the rejection of Black applicants, we will remove “Buswell” from signs and other public descriptions where it is used as the present name of Wheaton’s Library.

The public release last Friday of the Task Force’s report was prefaced by a two-page introductory letter signed by Wheaton’s Board of Trustees.1 The trustees state it is their “biblical hope” which “compels” them “to share the findings of the Historical Review Task Force (HRTF).” They indicate they “commissioned” their Task Force “to study the history and legacy of Wheaton College from 1860 to 2000 with respect to race relations.”

Why the trustees fenced off the past twenty years from their search for racism within their campus community is baffling. Possibly their intent was not to complicate the work by requiring the task force to investigate themselves, the trustees who appointed them, and the president who requested the investigation in the first place. Ryken took office in 2010.

The heart of the task force’s justification for denouncing Buswell is found on pages 49-51. The text reads (comments interspersed):

Whether the declining matriculation of Black students prior to the Buswell presidency trend was the result of intent or circumstance is difficult to say, but it is most probably the latter.

“Most probably the latter.” With this exculpatory comment, Jonathan Blanchard’s son, Charles, is spared denunciation despite his presiding over decades of Black enrollment figures indistinguishable from those of his successor, J. Oliver Buswell.

For one thing, it was 1930 before the College’s standard application for admission asked applicants to indicate their race, so it is not at all clear how the College could have preemptively excluded Black applicants, even had it wished to do so.

Notice that little word “it.” This “it” is “the College.” An institution—not a person.

Charles Blanchard

Here the Task Force minimizes Charles Blanchard’s role, assigning the decision not to inquire concerning the race of their applicants to the college, the institution. When it comes to President Buswell, though, it’s not the institution the Task Force focuses on, but that single individual J. Oliver Buswell, Jr.

In his inaugural address as Wheaton’s new president, Buswell ended with this commendation of his predecessor, Charles Blanchard:

Charles Albert Blanchard was a boy when this institution was founded, became its president in 1882 and never missed a commencement until this one. Through nearly a half a century he bore the burdens and guided the affairs of the college. He was literally one college president in a thousand, to keep a straight course without deviating from the evident truth of the historical Christian faith. The simple fact that through the past generation Wheaton has remained an accredited college, and at the same time kept true to distinctly Christian standards of faith and practice, is a monument of inestimable significance…

Since we’re dealing with hypotheticals anyway, we can imagine a candid conversation between Presidents Buswell and Charles Blanchard:

Buswell: What was your Black student enrollment?

Blanchard: Through my years, we had close to none. One or two here and there.

Buswell: Did you feel that was satisfactory?

Blanchard: Of course not.

Buswell: Do you have any advice?

Blanchard: Well, it’s difficult. First, our natural constituency is the north—not the south—so Black applicants are few and far between. Then there are the students’ parents who worry their daughters might get involved with a colored man. Finally, you have some trustees who are dead set against any interracial fraternizing and would prefer we not accept any Black applicants at all.

It’s a sad state of affairs.

Buswell: I’m not surprised, but I’ll do what I can. My plan is to get the trustees to accept the adoption of a policy so that Wheaton accepts Black applicants. Still, speaking candidly, if I were black, I’d go somewhere else where I’d be more accepted by the parents and student body.

Blanchard: Sad but true.

Buswell: If I need some help, I trust you’re willing?

Blanchard: Of course. I’ll be praying for you.

Edman Chapel, Wheaton College

No one reading the task force’s report would be surprised to find a transcript of such a conversation between Charles Blanchard and his successor, J. Oliver Buswell. Yet here we are, mired in a blame game constructed upon prognostications created to fill the gap left by the absence of objective evidence.

Wheaton’s Task Force as much as admits it:

…it is highly unlikely that the College could have ever had a much larger number of Black students during the early 1920s without some sort of monumental recruitment drive which it had neither the personnel nor the financial resources to undertake.

The “twenties” were mostly under the presidency of Charles Blanchard and the subject of the statement is “it” once again—”the college.”

According to Hamilton, even though the College was drawing students from more and more states, as late as 1920 it was still the case that more than nine-tenths of its student body came from the Northeast and Midwest. In sum, on the eve of the Buswell presidency, the College’s applicant pool consisted predominantly of northern fundamentalists, and the number of northern African American fundamentalists with the educational background and financial resources to attend college was a slender demographic, indeed. (n. 103) 2

Jonathan Blanchard

Why “on the eve of the Buswell presidency?” Did something radical happen, changing Wheaton’s applicant pool the very year (1926) Buswell assumed the presidency? Note the allee-allee-in-frees being tossed in the direction of the hallowed Blanchards. (Charles’s father, Jonathan, was an abolitionist.)

In sum, when placed in a broader context, it is misleading to characterize the absence of Black students at Wheaton College during the presidency of J. Oliver Buswell as a dramatic “reversal,” as one study insists. (n. 104) 3

Here we observe a feint hinting at objectivity. Maybe President Buswell wasn’t so bad after all?

Granted, during the nearly fourteen years of Buswell’s presidency, the typical number of Black students enrolled in any given year had been zero, but during the final fourteen years of Charles Blanchard’s presidency, the typical number of Black students enrolled in any given year had been only one.

The difference between President Charles Blanchard being absolved and President Buswell being denounced is Blanchard presiding over a “typical number” of one Black student and Buswell over a “typical number” of no black students. Great matters swing on small hinges, don’t you know.

Also, note their word “typical.” Were there years when Blanchard didn’t have even one Black student? Were there years when Buswell had one Black student? If so, who’s better and who’s worse?

The task force is betting on readers buying their distinction between none and one within a student body of hundreds. Meanwhile, they admit that, looking back from more than a century later, the numbers are exceedingly hard to get at. Good records weren’t kept, you know.

Billy Graham Hall, Wheaton College

Shortly into their report, the task force mentions the challenges they faced in their attempts at getting at any hard evidence or facts. These years included this period of Jonathan Blanchard, the abolitionist Father, but more importantly Charles Blanchard, the Son, who was president forty-three years:

For the decades 1860-1930 official Trustee minutes are sparse and formulaic and offer little insight into programmatic developments at the College. Student files are scarce prior to 1920, and enrollment statistics are even scarcer.

[Our task force] was often left to make inferences about race relations on Wheaton’s campus.

[Our] report includes select accounts of race-related incidents on campus, often from a single source, that demonstrate a specific attitude toward students of color. This evidence, however, is anecdotal and suggestive rather than definitive.

Beyond the significant number of records held in the College Archives, accessing them proved highly challenging.  (Report, p. 7)

Such admissions pop up throughout their report. The admission above, for instance, appears in the text just a few pages after their indictment of Buswell for what they present as his own responsibility for racist admission policies, and it is this indictment they use to justify their denunciation of him and removal of his name from the campus and library.

They continue:

[I]t is far more difficult to speak with confidence about change and continuity regarding race relations at Wheaton College during these [Buswell] years. …during the Buswell presidency, the task force faced the same challenge for these years as it did for the Blanchard administrations: a dearth of surviving evidence specifically delineating policies, programs, and practices relating to race relations. Although it is possible that such documentation may have existed at one time, it is more likely that the College simply lacked any formal, explicit policies pertaining to the matter. When assessing the administration of Jonathan Blanchard—and, to a lesser degree, that of Charles Blanchard as well—the thin institutional record was supplemented by drawing from the personal values and practices of the College’s first two presidents. This is less of an option with J. Oliver Buswell, whose published writings and public persona bore minimally on matters pertaining to race and race relations. (Report, p. 46)

Then this damning admission:

Despite scanty institutional record-keeping, it is possible to share what little is known and to sketch in broad strokes a tentative overview of Buswell’s administration, while stressing the distinct possibility that subsequent research may nuance some of the following findings. (Report, p. 46)

“Scanty.” “Little is known.” “Sketch.” “Broad strokes.” “Tentative.” “Nuance.”

They warn readers of their Report that, given the paucity of evidence from a century ago, there is a distinct possibility they may be proven wrong by “subsequent research” and it may well be found that President Buswell was not a racist.

But nevermind. Full speed ahead with denouncing the man on the basis of high scholarly intuitions based upon emanations from a penumbra.

This is the reason this article leads with the word “denunciation.” Denunciations are never convictions. Denunciations are not a function of any court of law. With denunciations, the accused is never permitted to face and respond to his accusers. In a denunciation, the evidence makes a mockery of judicial procedure.

Blanchard Hall, Wheaton College

Under the rule of law, the accused is put on trial and evidence against him must be admissible. Testimony can’t have been heard third, fourth, fifth, or tenth-hand.

Pivotal evidence the task force gives supporting its denunciation of Buswell is testimony given verbally by an elderly pastor to a researcher concerning his recollection of conversations he had thirty years earlier, and there’s nothing and no one to corroborate what he says. The man he accuses is long in the grave and the researcher reporting what this man said to her admits her “interview” of the man was not recorded and no notes exist.

Now then, about this conversation:

  • the conversation with Buswell is recounted by a single man
  • that man’s recounting of the conversation has no supporting evidence
  • that man’s testimony against Buswell was never subjected to Buswell’s right to face his accuser and respond to his accusations
  • that man’s testimony against Buswell was not subjected to any cross examination
  • that man’s testimony was recounted verbally to a researcher way back in the late sixties or early seventies and the conversation the man was remembering had occurred thirty years earlier
  • the researcher admits she didn’t record the conversation or take any notes

J. Oliver Buswell purportedly said something to a pastor back in the late 1930s who recounted what he remembered Buswell saying to a researcher in the late 1960s. That researcher reports what the pastor said to her in the 1960s and her undocumented report becomes the basis of a denunciation of Buswell for what he is purported to have said ninety years earlier!

Phil Ryken

Note this testimony at the heart of the case against Buswell is from only one man. What of Scripture’s command not to entertain an accusation against a man unless there are two or three witnesses?

A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed. (Deuteronomy 19:15)

This command is repeated in the New Testament explicitly with respect to elders among the people of God:

Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses. (1Timothy 5:19)

Back in 1992, Hudson Armerding (Wheaton’s president from 1965-1982) accepted our invitation to fill the pulpit Sunday morning. He was staying with our family.

Sunday, arriving home at our house after preaching at the final service, he took me aside to say he hoped he hadn’t caused me any trouble?

He explained a young female grad student had inquired whether he would be willing to mentor her as she finished her doctorate in higher educational administration and searched for a job? She was aiming to be president of a Christian liberal arts college.

Dr. Armerding said he had responded to her explaining he understood the job of the president of a Christian college as a position of pastoral leadership, and thus he didn’t believe it was appropriate for a woman to serve in this way.

Hudson Armerding

As Dr. Armerding said, it was the nature of Dr. Buswell’s calling as Wheaton’s president to serve as a elder among the people of God,  shepherding the students, faculty, and trustees of the College. He was faithful in his responsibilities.

Until now, no one had ever said otherwise.

Beyond death, does not President Buswell deserve the same protections Scripture requires of us concerning the elders and pastors of our own church fellowships?

But we’re not in a court of law, are we? We’re not in any ecclesiastical court, either.

Instead, we’re reading the judgments of an in-house “task force” desperately ingratiating themselves to the Wokester mob, and it’s the heart and soul of Wokeism to establish guilt on the basis of a single accuser who whispers, hisses, and spits—and is never doubted or even questioned.

About this time, it may be good to remind ourselves how Chairman Mao found it very much in his own interest to channel students’ anger and rebellion against their teachers, thus solidifying his grasp on power.

Students were his Red Guard, and behind their wrath he stood secure. He chose them. He appointed them. He thanked them. He required his courts of law to overlook their crimes against justice.

Today, the men crying down President Buswell should be condemned and removed from any position of leadership or responsibility. Trustees, administration, and faculty members should be removed, and start at the top.

Their denunciation of Buswell bears more than a little resemblance to the denunciations by Red Guard students of their professors during China’s Cultural Revolution. It should be mentioned that, after students’ public denunciations of their teachers, it was common for their teachers to commit suicide.

We can at least be relieved that J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. doesn’t have to suffer through this very public and shameful charade, but what of those still living who knew and loved him? What of their children who (like me) knew and honored the man from a distance? Who heard their father speak of his affection and respect for “Dr. Buswell?”

The Report continues:

In this light, the dearth of Black students under President Buswell seems less a “reversal” than the culmination of a trend that had been well under way for years before he arrived.

A long term trend for which President Buswell was not “responsible.” Think carefully about that one.

“Under President Buswell.”

Remember how under President Charles Blanchard the fault was the institution? With Buswell’s assumption of the presidency in 1926, it’s all about individual responsibility.

Darrell Bock

Too, given their offering up of President Buswell as their sacrificial lamb and denouncing him alone, the statement above is a scorching thing for them to have to admit. A close reading of the report and its footnotes demonstrates there was no change in the absence of Black students at Wheaton throughout the presidencies of both Charles Blanchard and J. Oliver Buswell, presidencies which together extended fifty-eight years, from 1882 to 1940.

This is not to say that there were no significant changes during the Buswell years, for at some point during his administration, President Buswell began to implement an institutional practice that prohibited Black applicants from matriculating. (n. 105) 4

Readers should not skip this footnote above. For instance, check out its use of that little phrase “de facto.” It’s shameful this is relegated to a footnote.

They move on:

In a rare instance, a handful of surviving records document private conversations among College officials about a relevant “policy” or “practice.” The episode in question began to unfold sometime in early 1939 when an African American from Rhode Island named Rachel Boone applied for admission to the College for the 1939-40 academic year. After Boone was denied admission, a young New Jersey minister named Wyeth Willard wrote to Buswell to request that he reconsider the decision.

That he reconsider the decision.

By implication, President Buswell is here accused by the Task Force of himself being responsible for the decision.

No evidence is given for this assumption. It would be perfectly natural for a pastor in New Jersey to write a college president about a decision he himself did not make, hoping he might be able to exercise his influence to reverse that decision. This is how things work, institutionally, and we can expect President Buswell knew he was in a pretty pickle because of his work of church reform; but more, he knew he was likely to be fired, soon (as indeed he was in a couple months).

In such a case, we would expect President Buswell to avoid giving any indication that he disagreed with his board over the admission of Black students, and to do his best to himself represent the board’s wishes and policies as his own. Does a president have to undercut his trustees, privately saying he thinks they are wrong, and thus parading his own moral superiority to constituents?

Neither Willard’s letter to Buswell nor the president’s response survived

In other words, we’re back in the la-la land of intuitions and rumors.

but the question of Boone’s admission was brought to the attention of the Executive Council in mid-March. The minutes record Buswell’s concern that “the social problems were such that we could not provide for colored students on the Wheaton campus.”

What “social problems?”

A reasonable man would guess these social problems President Buswell was concerned about included things such as the opposition of parents to their coeds fraternizing with Black male students, the prejudices of students against Blacks, antagonistic attitudes toward a Black student showing up on a campus where they had been almost entirely absent for the past half a century, etc.

Board of Trustees, Wheaton College

Charitable men would assume President Buswell is seeking here to protect two things: his leadership of the college, yes; but more, the intellectual and emotional wellbeing of his Black brothers and sisters in Christ who might have no clue what it would be like to matriculate at Wheaton, spending four years alienated and alone among northern whites who have never known a person who is Black.

(n. 106) 5 He added that it was unnecessary “to definitively go on record saying that we do not accept them.” (n. 107) 6

President Buswell is engaged in a painful balancing act. If he moved toward the college accepting Black applicants, he knew the opposition to this policy among his trustees and was acutely aware he was likely to be fired any day—as, in fact, he was some months later.

The Report continues:

Willard was undeterred. He raised the matter in person two months later while Buswell was visiting Willard’s home after preaching at his church, which led to a considerable correspondence between the two after Buswell returned home. (n. 108) 7

Within two days of Buswell’s departure each man had written the other to follow up on the topic. Willard thanked Buswell for his “sympathetic understanding of the problem we discussed” and then addressed what had apparently been the keystone of Buswell’s position during their earlier conversation. Willard assured Buswell that if he checked with administrators at the Moody Bible Institute and the National Bible Institute—both of which admitted Black students—he would find that “there are no mixed marriages among the students.

Just as we have black and white keys upon the piano which can be played harmoniously,” Willard went on, “I believe that the two races can live harmoniously together.” (n. 109) 8

Because Willard addresses this matter is no indication that it was President Buswell himself who wanted to exclude Black students from fear of interracial attraction, dating, or marriage. It’s more likely President Buswell had shared some of the concerns of parents and trustees, and Willard was responding to those concerns. Of course his response was written to Buswell—after all, the racists weren’t there in his home, talking with him. He couldn’t respond to them, directly.

This brings to mind an evening I spent with a retired military officer down in Memphis. The board of Presbyterians Pro-Life was meeting at Second Presbyterian Church, pastored at the time by Dick de Witt, and church members had offered board members a place to stay for a couple nights as we did our work.

Returning from the church the first evening, our host invited us into his living room for a drink and chat. After some small talk, he leaned forward in his chair and said he wanted to ask a question. Indicating he was opposed to abortion, he continued: “But what would you do if your daughter was raped by a black man and became pregnant?”

It was September of 1986 and I responded, “What does him being black have to do with it?” Not all I said, but what I said first. J. Oliver Buswell, would have responded in a similar way.

I’ve officiated an interracial wedding ceremony of a much-loved Black brother now serving as an elder of our former congregation. No doubt J. Oliver Buswell, Jr. would have done the same.

I have three Ethiopian grandchildren and I’m certain Dr. Buswell would be slightly jealous.

The Task Force continues:

For his part, Buswell wrote to Willard to thank him for his hospitality and to assure him that he was continuing to think and pray about the matter. He had also consulted “one of our trustees who I know is interested in the problem.” (n. 110) 9The trustee, to whom Buswell wrote the same day as Willard, was Hugo Wurdack, a prominent St. Louis businessman and a member of the Board of Trustees since 1927. By “interested in the problem,” Buswell meant that Wurdack was opposed to the admission of Black students to the College.

Hence my defense of Buswell, above. About to be fired, his attempts at something akin to shuttle diplomacy is merely what is expected between any institution’s trustees and the institution’s constituents. Like a pastor and elder, a president is always in the middle, mediating conflict. Are we so cynical as to assume the worst about him and his work looking back on it almost a century later?

In his letter to Wurdack, Buswell recalled that the trustee had evidently expressed concern some years earlier when he mistakenly thought “our Filipino students were colored, whereas “at that time we had no colored students in the College.”

Assuring Wurdack that “I have no race prejudice in my heart,” Buswell shared his opinion “that for a small Christian school where the social contacts are so close, it would be better to avoid coeducation of the races.

It’s confusing the Report does not provide a closing quotation mark above. We’d be reassured if this quote included what President Buswell wrote in between denying any prejudice in his own heart and saying it would be better to avoid coeducation of the races at small schools.

Keep two things in mind.

First, under President Buswell’s leadership, Wheaton’s enrollment exploded so that at the time of his writing the above, Wheaton was no longer a “small Christian school.” The high water mark of enrollment under Blanchard the Son’s presidency reached 337 students in 1925, the year prior to Buswell becoming president.  Under Buswell’s leadership, thirteen years later, in Fall semester 1939, Wheaton was large, with an enrollment totalling 1,085. Social relations were not “so close” as they had been under Charles Blanchard’s leadership.

Second, the statement above is made to the very trustee known to be opposed to Wheaton’s acceptance of Black students. Few of us want to have a period put at the end of ad hoc statements we have made at one time or another to our superiors about things we have a principled disagreement with them over.

Further, if we are out to denounce our fathers, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why the Apostles escape our hissy fits? Isn’t the Apostle Peter ripe for having his name stripped from Scripture and church history for commanding his fellow brothers in Christ who are slaves: “Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are perverse” (1Peter 2:18)?

Do any of us still read our Bibles?

How confident we are seated in our conceit of the modern as we produce our denunciations of men who led Christ’s Church a century ago.

Why do we not also denounce all our brothers and sisters in Christ who will be in worship with us this coming Lord’s day, and who are murdering their little babies by their regular use of hormonal birth control?

Does it occur to us to fear the next generation writing a 244-page carefully documented true history detailing how we covered up the sexual abuse of students under our authority and protection? Detailing also that we did the cover up because we were close to the students’ predator and depended upon his work for our continued success?

The Report continues:

Holding to that view, he had made it a practice to advise Black applicants to attend an all-Black institution in Kentucky called the Lincoln Institute. His reason for writing now, he explained, was that he was under “a considerable amount of pressure … from certain quarters” to alter his admissions stance. Were he to raise the question openly—whether with the trustees or the faculty—Buswell was convinced that “the result would be an argument and a strong division of opinion, which is why his strategy heretofore had been to try to “avoid the issue while quietly advising colored applicants to go elsewhere. [sic] (n. 111) 10

Again, the Task Force forgets the closing quotation mark.

Eight days later, Buswell again pressed Wurdack to reply, noting, “I am trying to perform a difficult task.” Another eight days later, Wurdack finally responded. “While I have absolutely no prejudice against colored students,” Wurdack began, “and for my part would be willing that they should be admitted, I do not think it would be wise to bring this matter up at this time. There are already a number of controversial matters before the Board, with more to come. It would be my counsel to keep out of all controversies, so far as possible, even at the sacrifice of strong convictions.” (n. 112) 11

Almost certainly, President Buswell was pushing Trustee Wurdack to accept a change in policy at Wheaton so that Black students would have their applications accepted, doing so while facing efforts within the Trustees to fire him. Have we no slightest understanding or sympathy for President Buswell’s predicament?

It may be doubted whether Wurdack was genuinely open to admitting Black students, as he claimed in his letter, but he was not being disingenuous in referring to other “controversial matters” that might warrant postponement. By the time of his reply—June 2, 1939—President Buswell’s job was seriously in jeopardy. By the beginning of the year, there were rumblings of dissatisfaction among both the trustees and prominent alumni, many of whom worried that Buswell’s constant embroilment in denominational conflicts—he had broken first with the Presbyterian Church and then subsequently from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church—were reflecting poorly on the College.

We are Christian brothers and sisters who will answer to our Heavenly Father for our own hypocrisies and sins. Know that.

Then remember this warning of the Apostle James:

Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. (James 3:1-2)

May God lead the President and Trustees of Wheaton College to repent of their actions.

Let them make their repentance public—but not by keeping the name of the Buswell Library intact. My own suspicion is J. Oliver Buswell would be happy for the library to lose his name for the same reason John Calvin was pleased to be buried in an unmarked grave. It’s been said, “Who builds to God and not to fame will never mark a building with his name.”

J. Oliver Buswell

Go ahead and change the name.

But issue a straightforward, manly retraction of your disgusting smear of our esteemed and faithful brother in Christ. Not a few of our godly Black brothers and sisters in Christ will respect you for it.

I’m certain of this and will gladly put you in contact with them.

(First in a series; 9,900 views as of 4/14/24)

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1Wheaton’s present Board of Trustees: Chair James Goetz of Wheaton, IL; Vice-Chair Andrea D. Scott of Newberg, OR; Secretary Jeffrey Meyer of Hamburg, NY; John H. Augustine of Guttenberg, NJ; Charles William Pollard III of Siloam Springs, AR; Lisa Beamer of Cranbury, NJ; Steve Preston of McLean, VA; Darrell L. Bock of Dallas, TX; Philip G. Ryken of Wheaton, IL; David K. Gieser of Wheaton, IL; Mary J. Schaller of Wheaton, IL; Irwyn L. Ince of Washington, DC; Kathy Vaselkiv of Baltimore, MD; Gregory L. Jao of Elmhurst, IL; Greg Waybright of Colorado Springs, CO; Ricky Jenkins of Indian Wells, CA; Dale C. Wong of Phoenix, AZ; and K. Anthony Keilhacker of Claremont, CA.
2 n. 103: Hamilton, “The Fundamentalist Harvard,” 213. The National Center for Education Statistics estimates that in 1920 1.2 percent of Blacks in the United States aged 25 to 29 had graduated from college. See “Digest of Education Statistics,” table 104.20, Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics, 2021. https: / /nces.ed.gov/programs/ digest/ d21/ tables / dt21_104.20.asp.
3 n. 104: Hull, “History of Race Relations in Wheaton,” 41.
4 n. 105: This de facto policy of discriminatory admissions practices is referenced in Hull, “A History of Race Relations,” based on her interview with Rev. W. H. Jaynes, the pastor of Second Baptist Church in Wheaton. Established as a church for Wheaton’s Black residents in 1907, Second Baptist occupied a lot on Crescent Street, just south of the railroad tracks and in view of the College. According to Hull, Jaynes “attempted to do something about race relations” in the Wheaton community and had a conversation with President Buswell “about his policy of excluding Blacks as Wheaton College students” (40). No information is included about Buswell’s response, the date of the conversation, or how Jaynes became aware of the practice. The interview between Hull and Jaynes occurred over 30 years after the event Jaynes recalls, and when contacted by the HRTF [“HRTF” is used by the authors of this document to refer to themselves] in January 2023, Hull, whose graduate work was in the field of “Inner City Studies,” confirmed that the interview was not recorded, and no notes from the interview are extant.
5 n. 106: The members of the Executive Council at this time were Dr. Enock Dyrness, Vice President in Academic Administration, George Kirk, Vice President in Business Administration, and Wallace Emerson, Dean of Students. Minutes of the Executive Council, March 14, 1939. Box 1, Folder 29, Office of the Registrar Records (RG 07 07), Buswell Library Archives & Special Collections, Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL.
6 n. 107: Minutes of the Executive Council, March 14, 1939.
7 n. 108: How the matter came up is not known. It is possible that Willard had a personal connection with Boone, but a more likely scenario is that Willard—who also directed a racially-integrated summer boys’ camp—shared some of his experiences with Buswell while Wheaton’s president was a guest in his home, prompting Buswell to explain his own views about the pros and cons of integration at a residential college like Wheaton. See Wyeth W. Willard Correspondence, 1930-1939, Box 27, Folder 13, Office of the President Records (J. Oliver Buswell)
(RG 02 003).
8n. 109: W. Wyeth Willard to J. Oliver Buswell, May 18, 1939, Box 27, Folder 13, Office of the President Records (J. Oliver Buswell) (RG 02 003).
9 n. 110: 110 J. Oliver Buswell to W. Wyeth Willard, May 17, 1939, Box 27, Folder 13, Office of the President Records (J. Oliver Buswell) (RG 02 003).
10 n. 111: J. Oliver Buswell to Hugo Wurdack, May 17, 1939, Box 55, Folder 26, Board of Trustees Records (RG 01 001), Wheaton College Archives, Wheaton, IL: Wheaton College. The reference that Buswell makes to “social contacts” being close at Wheaton requires some context. Surely part of his concern was the possibility of interracial dating and/or sexual attraction, hence Wyeth Willard’s concerted effort to persuade Buswell that an integrated campus need not result in interracial marriage. Without trying to justify Buswell’s position, it bears noting that whatever happened on campus, a huge portion of the student body would spend a great deal of their time off campus. [emphasis in the original] As late as 1934, three quarters of the student body boarded in private homes off campus. See Wallace Emerson, “As Seen by the Dean,” Bulletin of Wheaton College, Dec. 1934, (Wheaton, IL: Wheaton College, 1934), 5.
11 n. 112: H. Wurdack to J. Oliver Buswell, June 8, 1939, Box 55, Folder 26, Board of Trustees Records (RG 01 001).

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