First black WFU student returning
In 1962, a Ghana native named Ed Reynolds became the first black full-time undergraduate student to attend Wake Forest University.
On Friday, Sept. 21, Reynolds will come back to campus to mark the 50th anniversary of integration as part of “Faces of Courage: Celebrating 50 Years of Integration,” a yearlong series of events designed to encourage discussion, bring people together and honor those involved in making Wake Forest a more inclusive place.
Reynolds graduated in 1964 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He and his Wake Forest roommates as well as other student leaders and administrators from the 1960s will share their experiences at 3 p.m. in Brendle Recital Hall. A new film documenting their story, “Faces of Courage: Wake Forest’s Impetus to Desegregate,” created by students in Wake Forest’s documentary film program, will be shown at the event. The event is free and open to the public.
The Faces of Courage web site ( HYPERLINK “http://facesofcourage.wfu.edu” http://facesofcourage.wfu.edu/) highlights other events planned throughout the academic year and traces the history of diversity and inclusion at Wake Forest with a detailed timeline. Through audio and video, alumni, students and faculty share stories about their part in making Wake Forest a more inclusive community. Events include speakers, panel discussions, cultural festivals, a civil rights bus tour, a diversity and inclusion symposium and a community celebration.
“When people think of diversity, they think black and white,” said Barbee Oakes, assistant provost for diversity and inclusion, who is leading the Faces of Courage initiative. “This goes beyond racial diversity. We are honoring all of the courageous people who have contributed to diversity and inclusion in the past 50 years. Wake Forest is committed to creating a culture of inclusion where everyone can thrive—a culture that unlocks Wake Forest’s enormous reservoirs of innovation and talent, and eradicates barriers to engagement and collaboration.”