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

Let us now expose one lacuna, or should we say one gaping hole the Trustees of Wheaton College left in their Historical Review Task Force Report justifying their denunciation of former Wheaton President J. Oliver Buswell as a racist.

Their central narrative has been that there were no Blacks on the Wheaton campus during President Buswell’s tenure, and this was because President Buswell was a racist segregationist who opposed integration in education.

The truth?

Wheaton Academy was founded in 1853, and in 1860 Wheaton Academy founded Wheaton College. Both institutions shared buildings and were housed on the same campus. More importantly, both were under the same president, who in 1934 was J. Oliver Buswell, Jr.

Wheaton Academy’s younger grades were called Junior Academy. The Tower was Wheaton’s yearbook, and in 1934 the Tower published 1 this picture of Wheaton’s Junior Academy students:

Here during Buswell’s tenure in a classroom under his authority that met on the campus Wheaton’s Trustees and President Phil Ryken falsely report to have been segregated at Buswell the Racist’s decree is Miss Coiley, Black.

This picture of Miss Coiley in her Wheaton classroom on Wheaton’s campus under Wheaton’s president is bad enough, but we go on to note the name of the White girl seated in front of Miss Coiley—”Buswell.”

She is Miss Jane Buswell, President Buswell’s daughter.

If Buswell was a racist segregationist—as Ryken and his Trustees have repeatedly and publicly denounced him—would he have allowed a Black girl in his own daughter’s class?

Contrary to the story spun by Phil Ryken and his Trustees’ in their Report, President Buswell promoted and presided over racially integrated education on the Wheaton campus.

So why did Miss Coiley not make the text or pictures in Ryken’s employees’ Report?

Miss Coiley had to be hidden. It would not do to show a 1934 Tower picture of a racially integrated Wheaton campus classroom with President Buswell’s daughter at the center of the picture.

But maybe President Ryken’s employees didn’t know the Academy existed? Maybe they didn’t know the Academy was under President Buswell’s authority? Maybe they didn’t know Wheaton’s yearbook had pictures? Maybe they knew the Tower had pictures, but hadn’t seen the 1934 Tower. Maybe they’d seen the 1934 Tower, but not the page with this picture? Maybe they’d seen the 1934 Tower and this picture in it, but hid it all because it would have complicated their narrative.

Maybe they salved their consciences by telling themselves little Black girls don’t count.

Anyhow, this picture is dispositive evidence that President Phil Ryken and his Trustees’ denunciation of President Buswell is a lie.

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

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1Tower, p. 237.

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