During the 2016-2017 academic year, the Provost’s Office convened a group to examine Wake Forest’s history, particularly with respect to correcting historical inaccuracies and acknowledging the University’s dealings with slavery and its legacies. The group began meeting in the fall of 2016 and recommended several initial courses of action:

  • Join the Universities Studying Slavery consortium to help us understand and acknowledge the role enslaved peoples had in building and growing our University (WFU joined in 2017)
  • Expand the initial planning committee to include a broader cross section of campus
  • Broaden the diversity of people interviewed for the Wake Forest Oral History Project to include a fuller expression of all the voices that have made up the history of Wake Forest.
  • Develop an interactive  historical timeline that documents important milestones in the University’s history and will pay particular attention to honoring Wake Forest’s relationship to slavery and its legacies.
  • Create a more accurate history of Wake Forest by commissioning a Southern historian to write a one-volume history of Wake Forest’s founding and development, based on original research.
  • Plan for a series of academic conferences on campus, each giving rise to several of the essays in a new Histories of Wake Forest volume. One or more volumes would be devoted specifically to the experiences of historically marginalized communities at our institution.


  • April 22, 2019

    Attendance: A. Parent, S. Jones, L. Pace, M. Tribble, J. Soares, D. Hicks, B. Eaton, T. Pyatt, E. Morris, L. Blee, A. James, H. Brown, A. Canady, D. Franco, M. Jenkins, J. Ford, R. Kersh, M. Gillespie

    Opening Remarks

    • Associate Provost Chavis: Proposes a retreat in the fall for the entire group
    • Provost Kersh- There will be a Presidential Commission that will look into inclusion (or belonging) on campus
      • The Presidential Commission will also look into the Bias Reporting System

    Built History Subcommittee – Chaired by Mary Tribble

    • Last summer Elizabeth Watson (’74), a strategic planner and principal with Heritage Strategies LLC was brought in as a consultant
      • She developed ways to leverage the Original Campus and the Wake Forest
        Historical Museum
    • One of her recommendations was to hire a new position – The Manager of Community and Academic Learning
    • Internship opportunities will now arise at the Original Campus
    • Dr. Pace: Matt Capps, an Anthropology student, will be the intern this summer
      • He will work on mapping and archaeological work
      • His work may revolve around the work of this committee as the semester comes to a close
    • We should learn more about the enslaved population at the Original Campus and take a proactive rather than a reactive approach

    Subcommittee on the relations between Wake Forest and Winston Salem Community since approximately 1950 – Chaired by Dr. Villalba

    • Wake Forest’s first female African American residential students will be honored this upcoming school year
    • The AAC&U will host the 2019 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation at Villanova University from 6/25-6/28

    Subcommittee on Academic Conference/Programming – Chaired by Associate Provost Chavis

    • We originally hoped to host a Universities Studying Slavery (USS) Conference
      • However, several universities are already ahead of us on the list to host a USS
    • As a result, we are now planning on hosting our own independent conference rather than wait to host a USS Conference
    • It may be better to have a longer, more sustained conversation surrounding WF histories rather than a brief symposium, in light of recent events on campus
      • A lecture series may evolve from this

    Subcommittee Suggestions

    1. New course development or enhancement grants may be a possibility for courses on the study of slavery
    2. Student research projects may also be a possibility to further the study of Wake Forest and slavery
    3. Funding for campus wide initiatives

    Conversation on Subcommittee Suggestions

    • Dr. Franco – “Where are the academic levers?”
      • Discussions should be framed in academic terms
      • Speakers would need to be objective, rather than WF alums
    • The reports on our findings should be released
    • Dean Pyatt – How is the African-American student population affected by the work of the schools in the USS consortium?
      • Dean Pyatt has talked to someone from UVA who has took the lead on creating surveys to gauge the feelings on these students
    • Dr. Jones -There are staff who may not have a faculty title who have published work. Academic work should not be narrowed to faculty members and people with specific PhDs.
    • Dr. Jones – We should include the stories of the marginalized people in Winston-Salem community (as it relates to Wake Forest) with the stories of the marginalized from the Original Campus
    • Associate Provost Chavis- Salem College, WSSU and the broader community should also be brought into these discussions
    • Dr. Hicks – The residents of the communities surrounding campus matter. We should also get input from the local community in Winston-Salem as well as Wake Forest, NC
    • What is our relationship with Southeastern Theological Seminary? What level of engagement have we had with the administration there?
      • Ed Morris- The President of Southeastern is excited about the beginning of internships at the Original Campus. There is also collaboration between the two
      • Mary Tribble – Some relationships have been built between WF and southeastern in recent memory. There is potential for them to be great partners with us.

    What Should the Focus of this Group be Moving Forward?

    • Associate Provost Chavis – We could potentially have a retreat?
    • We could bring in a speaker from Georgetown during our proposed fall retreat to allow us to frame our discussion.
    • Brett Eaton – The discussions of this group have changed.
      • Originally we were defensive and essentially waiting for students to take action and create a list of demands ( e.g. call for the names of buildings to be changed)
      • We have taken a more iterative approach. Using Campus Connections, the Provost Newsletter, etc to repeatedly get the word out
      • We are now curating the things that are happening and working to tell a more complete story
      • This could be a curating group. How do we collect info and establish meaning? How do we deal with the more current issues? How do we let the campus community know?
    • Dr. Pace- We can’t be responsible for curating. We need to push forward and give people the time, money or space to do this work. We need “curation, plus …”
    • Associate Provost Chavis- The Histories of Wake Forest Committee doesn’t need to be the only group to do things
    • Dr. Franco- I agree with Dr. Pace, however I would refrain from putting curation first. We need to catch faculty up and let them know that this group exists. We need to learn what faculty want to do first. After that we should then meet their desires.
    • Dr. Pace- I fear that we will wait until “the whole story is ready.” Unfortunately, that moment will never exist. We should have tidbits of information that is released as they occur. Why can’t we have a twitter account where information is disseminated?
    • Dean Gillespie – Can the library help us with this? Can a general annotated bibliography be available to allow students?
      • Dean Pyatt – The bibliography is currently piecemeal but it can be brought together
    • Dr. Blee – A research teaching collaborative would also be beneficial
      • We should use URECA (Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Center) to our advantage
    • Alana James- I enjoyed what you said Dr. Pace. There will be no time when we have all of the information. We should have the info warehoused somewhere and improve transparency Conversation on How to Engage the Larger Wake Forest Community
    • Dr. Parent – We need to release an announcement about our group immediately. The announcement can be simple, for example, “the university has an ad hoc committee that is looking into Wake Forest histories.”
    • There is a dedicated email account for this group. We should have a way for people to opt in to info about this group
    • Brett Eaton- People can choose to get involved even if they are not a member of this committee. There is way to fill the gaps
    • Dean Gillespie – Can we have a reading group? This reading group could fill the gaps between times of when the group meets. We could read Ebony and Ivy: Race, Slavery and the Troubled History of America’s Universities by Craig Steven Wilder
    • Associate Provost Chavis- Dr. Villalba’s subcommittee focuses on community relations rather than studying 20 th century WF history
    • Dean Gillespie – Dr. Wanda Hendricks would be a great resource for us (seconded by Dean Pyatt)
      • Dr. Hendricks specializes in the study of African Americans in the United States from 1865 to the present. She is a Distinguished Professor Emerita from the University of South Carolina
    • Ed Morris – the local African Americans in Wake Forest, NC are often forgotten. This is a gap that can be filled by this group.

    Closing Discussion

    • Mary Tribble – Idea for retreat: It would be nice if we got someone from another
      university who did similar work there. What lessons have they learned? What would they do differently?
    • Dr. Pace – More of us could go to a USS Conference.
      • Each iteration of the conference has been different depending on the host school
  • December 6, 2018

    Attendees: Ed Morris, Tim Pyatt, Alana James, Lisa Blee, Tony Parent, Andrew Canady, Sheriann Clark, Mary Tribble, Joseph Ford, Alex Abrams, Kami Chavis, José Villaba, Rogan Kersh, Michelle Gillespie, Brett Eaton, Jayson Pugh

    I. Introductions

    • We have convened various groups over the years and we have decided to divide up into
      smaller sub committees.
    • There are four committee chairs.
      • Mary Tribble (Built History/Old Campus)
      • José Villaba (Community Engagement)
      • Kami Chavis (Scholarly Symposia)
      • Tim Pyatt (Scholarly Symposia)
    • Rogan tasked Andrew with writing another volume of the history of WFU.
      • The purpose of Andrew’s writing is to be peer reviewed. He is doing research on
        the antebellum period and has already started writing.
      • The School did not own slaves but they hired African American slaves from local
      • The hiring of slaves was very common at the time among southern institutions.
      • Wake Forest owned slaves during a time after the civil war for a few months
        before an official sale.

    II. Subcommittee Reports

    Original Campus- Mary Tribble

    • A consultant was brought into to examine the connections with the old campus.
    • The committee was in agreement on digitization of documents with most of the
      documents digitized at ZSR. Most of the documents on the old campus are not digitized.
    • The Seattle Civil Rights History Project is a robust finding aid.
    • There is continued site mapping of the 17 buildings on the original campus.
      • Behind the Calvin Jones house there was a row of slave homes.
        • The Southeastern theological association will need to partner with us on
          this effort because it is on their land.
    • A new staff member is being hired to build excitement among faculty and students on campus to proactively develop some initiatives.
    • There will be 2 internships offered this summer that include archeological work and digitization.

    Scholarly Symposia Subcommittee- Kami Chavis and Tim Pyatt (co-chairs)

    • This group is identifying ways to engage everyone on the Reynolda Campus.
    • The University joined the USS consortium 2 years ago and there is the possibility of Wake hosting a USS conference.
    • USS conferences are a pseudo academic conference with host institutions presenting.
    • The Georgetown conference theme involved managing the response to their reparation efforts.
    • The Hollins College conference focused on students and student engagement in this work.
    • WFU conference
      • Professors might offer books that they would like to discuss.
      • Michelle Gillespie suggested a potential speaker series or course development grants.
      • We plan to hold the conference in the Spring of 2020.
    • There is interest among faculty to add to this discussion.
    • This will be an ongoing discussion that culminates in a larger conference.
    • We have not yet made a formal ask to the consortium for the Spring 2020 date

    Present Day Community Engagement- José Villalba

    • The USS symposium at Tougaloo College focused on repair efforts.
      • They focused on PWIs that profited from slavery and demonstrated the role of
        partnerships with HBCUs.
    • The consortium does not want schools to get caught up in reparations for reconciliation.
    • Georgetown and Brown were very active in the Tougaloo conference.
    • The Symposium Association of American Colleges and Universities put out a piece on some of the ways schools are grappling with their histories of slavery.
    • Furman has published a book on a slave that the president of the University President owned.
      • The President of Furman was a strong believer in slavery and owning slaves.
      • Furman’s task force was commissioned after students found a document by the president defending slavery.

    Key Questions and Considerations for Present Day Community Engagement

    • How many communities were displaced by the university?
    • Whose story are we telling?
    • What impact does WFU have inplicitly/explecitly?
    • How has WFU infrastructure changed communities?
    • How have we impacted the flags and banners in Winston-Salem?
    • What is RJR’s story? Bowman gray?
    • What role did WFU play in Jim Crow?
    • Who are the individuals we are highlighting in Wait Chapel?
      • The plaque of Julian Carr was cleaned and not placed back in Wait Chapel.
    • What more can we learn about Tom Jefferies?
    • Are there any contradictions with the Medical School or medical spaces?
    • How does Wake Forest Baptist church come into play?
    • We will consider different modalities for this effort.
      • Faculty support and student support.
      • There is intensive work being done across the consortium.
    • How can we make this effort more personal for our community?
    • Can we identify courses that we can use to assist us in this effort?
    • Can we take this symposium out into the community so it is not isolated to the Reynolda Campus?


    • Spring 2020 is the date that we want to apply to host the conference.
      • The group will need to decide if we would like to host the conference.
      • We will need to pick a date where WFU students and faculty are able to attend.
      • UVA had a lot of community members and there have been a range of attendees attending each conference.
        • There are generally a lot of doctoral students in attendance.
      • William and Mary is holding their conference in conjunction with the celebration
        of Lemon, a slave the institution owned.
      • There all kinds of overlap for the conference being held at WFU with some of our
        integration anniversaries.
    • Conference scope
      • Should it be as broad as possible?
      • The conference will include many members of our community but will also put out a call for papers.
      • We need to include Winston-Salem State in our planning and academic engagement piece.
      • We will have to inventory the courses that are currently being taught at the University and then move forward with this effort.
      • We also need to identify the faculty that are already engaged in this work.
      • Salem College is also a part of the consortium and some students presented at UVA and Hollins University.
    • Do we want to hold this conference? Do we have the capacity and bandwidth to make this a successful conference?
    • Can this group still operate if we don’t have a symposium?
      • Yes, but the conference gives us a hard deadline to do the work.
      • If we don’t have a large symposium should we do something smaller?
      • The work should not end after the symposium. Engagement with the broader community with strengthen this effort.
    • Why would we not hold this conference? The major concern might be that it is happening too early. Should we give ourselves three years to prepare on the faculty side?
      • There is a lot of momentum and interest that we will have keep moving.
      • Wake Forest will not fill the entire conference. There will be other schools that attend but the topics will be shared among all schools involved.
    • When is Andrew’s publication date?
      • Several years away.
      • It is okay if the piece is not published before we host anything.
    • What do we want to have accomplished in five years? What are the pieces that we need to do to get there?
      • The Lemon Project has gone of for nine years at William and Mary and they did not hold their first conference until recently.
    • Tim Pyatt will reach out and make an official ask to UVA about WFU hosting the conference.
      • There have been a range of schools and attendee sizes (generally 60-250 people)
      • There is a range of size for what this conference might look like.
      • Tony Parent will ask Old Salem about the upcoming Slave Dwelling Conference.
    • The course and faculty/student engagement work should be done first so that we can present our work.
    • Has WFU ever participated in a USS consortium?
      • We have not formally presented at the conference but we were on a panel of schools with Baptist histories.
      • There are great resources from the consortium leading up to the conference about building excitement and engagement across the University and community.
    • More questions and decisions will be forthcoming.
  • February 28, 2018

    Attendees: Kami Chavis, Alexander Abrams, Anthony Parents, Brett Eaton, Jose Villalba, Rogan Kersh, Leann Pace, Matthew Williams, Mia Harris, Ed Morris, Mary Pugel, Allison Perkins, Timothy Pyatt

    Not in attendance: Alana James, Michele Gillespie, Joseph Ford


    Update regarding Slave Dwelling – Hiding in Plain Sight

    • Discovery of a primary source which contains first-person accounts with Board of Trustee members, presidents of the university and key-stakeholders of Wake Forest
    • Purifoy cottage that we know today was most likely a slave dwelling
    • WF Baptist Church wants the structure off of their property
      • They cannot destroy the structure due to WF Historical society deemed it a historical landmark
      • WF Baptist reached out to WFU to see if there’s any interest in obtaining the structure
    • Wake Forest Historical Museum Statistics
  • November 8, 2017

    Attendees: Tim Pyatt, Rogan Kersh, Kami Chavis, Jose Villalba, Mary Tribble, Brett Eaton, Mia Harris

    Not in attendance: Samantha Perrotta


    • Recent developments
    • Birthplace visit and Conference updates
    • Infrastructure and Announcement planning

    Recent Developments:

    • Leann Pace working on the archeological survey/study, Ed Morris to do the same thing at Wake Forest Old Campus
      • Wake Forest Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC is in possession of a duplex slave courter that they may want to donate to the birthplace
        • Purifoy house dated 1839; considered second oldest house in Wake Forest, NC
        • Unsure if the quarters were built before/after Calvin Jones became the owner of the property
        • Ed Morris had lunch with the church that owns the building and the church wants to tear it down.
          • Investment into restoring
          • Investment into interpretation  
          • The church is currently reviewing and discussing next steps
      • Slave dwelling project, Joseph McGill
        • Document the slave dwellings and experiences by sleeping in extant slave dwellings.
          • Potential to bring him in and document the experience
    • USSC, Charlottesville
      • Old Salem, Hidden Town Project
        • Hidden Town Project researched the town’s use of enslaved populations to build Salem
        • Team worked on the project for eight months before announcing. The announcement generated a lot of interest
        • Potential to set up with neighboring institutions that are doing the same thing (Mary Tribble)
        • Frank Vagnone, Twisted Preservation, coming to the old campus potentially in April
          • Call to conversation in the living room of the original Wake Forest dorm
          • ZSR series, presentation on Hidden Town
    • Working on cornerstones for announcements
      • Thus far we’ve announced that we have a committee
        • Addressing a broad intention for the committee
      • Strategy for announcing
        • Gradually as we uncover information/stories
        • All at once, after we’re able cultivate enough information
      • Acknowledgment from students is minimal (little backlash)
        • Potentially due to the relocation of Wake Forest to Winston Salem leads to a disconnection or disinterest
      • Research; we need to get a sense of awareness and history for students, alumni, staff, faulty
        • Descendants of Wake Forest staff can be found in Winston Salem by connecting the last names with populations in the African American community
      • This announcement can’t be seen as a reaction to other schools or the political climate
        • We need to take time to consider the structure of this committee. Is this a committee that charges a task force to implement? Communications? Advisory Boards? Alumni Counsel?
        • Prepare for hostility on both/all fronts
        • Have a concise answer to “Why are we doing this?”
          • Intention is not to pacify the audience, but it shows uniformity and purpose.
    • Commissions to look at Institutions’ History
      • President’s commission
        • Furman (Co-chaired by a history and sociology professor)
          • Connection with descendants difficult because they moved ~5 times
      • Open ended-structure ambiguous
        • UVa
    • History
      • Began as History of Wake Forest as opposed to History of Slavery
      • Projects launched out of this group
        • Academic
          • History of WF, Andrew Kennedy, with particular interest in slavery
          • (Proposed) Every other year, symposia of [theme] of Wake Forest; LGTBQ, slavery, etc. A series of publications
          • Archeological; investigation of the built environment around Wake Forest, Leann
          • Curricular Enhancements; ZSR course, Michele G. conversation around enriching WF history in curriculum
        • Programs and structures
          • Oral history project, Tanya’s team, Mary’s mother. Taking those histories
          • Timeline, Digital Humanities library, Tanya
          • Former Slave Cabin, using it as a physical acknowledgement of WF’s history
        • Collaborations and community engagements
          • TJ, benchmark what other universities (google drive)
          • National conferences, USSC, Harvard conference
          • Community gatherings and workshops
            • Connections with Old Salem, Visiting Old Campus
          • Allison Perkins, Reynolda House and its interaction with this history
    • Comments
      • Old Campus, Kami
        • How our past informs our present and future. Incorporating Wake Downtown and the population we’ve moved/relocated
      • Mission Statement, Rogan
        • Many facets, born in many places; the work we do. Look at University of Virginia’s statement
      • Context of our scope and direction
        • We’ve refrained from narrowing to slavery
        • Our research considers the displacement of people. We want to be inclusive of perspectives and those affected and are disenfranchised from that work
      • Peer Institution
        • Looking into the request and demands of removing names/placards /portraits/etc.  
      • We must consider our built environments
        • Paintings, portraits, placards
      • Tom Jeffries
        • If we are interpreting or highlighting enslaved persons we must acknowledge our position/perspective to ensure its executed appropriately/respectfully
      • Artifacts
        • Deep exploration and interpretation of artifacts
        • Approach theological seminary in order to get their perspective
      • Audience (students, faculty, staff, alumni, Wake Forest community, Winston Salem)
        • Indifference
        • Let’s not unearth
        • Own this information
          • Be careful with how the information is presented “isn’t it tidy that the slavery history located 2 hours away from campus”
          • Low income workers used on campus and were displaced by our move
          • How do we share, process, own, and acknowledge this respectfully?
          • Where are the sustained conversations?
            • Acknowledging structural oppressions in our curriculum in what we do and don’t cover
          • Purifoy or Calvin Jones family former slave home
            • People are going to ask some tough questions and we need to be prepared to answer these questions
            • What impact does the ownership have on our history? How could be interpreted in either scenario?
          • Addressing the spectrum of alumni and players
            • Invite all parties to include their oral histories and participate in this conversation
      • Committee in the future
        • Who do we invite to the table? Multidimensional perspectives; not relying on an historian for interpretation and input
      • This act may be the way people will begin engaging with Wake Forest that were previous disinvested
    • Framing
      • The story doesn’t end in 1956

    People in the room:

    • Student, Joseph Ford (’18) and Mia Sloan (Divinity)
    • LeAnn Pace, Archeological work, Hollands
    • Tony Parent, Dean of College, Historian
    • Alana James, Grass root organizer, Alumni
    • Matt Williams, Rep from ODI
    • Mary Pugel, Chief of Staff
    • Allison Perkins, Reynolda House
    • Bill Lenard, Founding Dean of the Divinity School, Sabbatical
    • Reed Morgan
    • Ed Morris, Old Campus
    • Gigi Parent, Phi Rho and old campus knowledge

    Who else? What other categories do we need to acknowledge or include at the table?

    Action Items:

    Meeting in late December to early January

  • April 13, 2017


    • Well organized
    • James Bennett, recent Ph. D. functioning as a post-doc in the President’s Office, who is in charge of the project at Georgetown.
    • Orientation the night before – shared stories about how people are invested in this effort.
    • The Meeting
      • Opened up by Associate Dean of the College who gave an introduction to how Georgetown is in this – controversy of the halls; originally on a website in the 90s hidden in plain sight; sale of enslaved African Americans; when they are making the changes to the halls; The Georgetown Archivist and Digital Staff member were there to talk about their role; Public apology will be issued by Georgetown that will include Jesuit participation and liturgy
      • Discussion of costs of enslavement, psychological trauma,
      • There will be a statement presented by a descendant currently at the school during their founder’s day ceremony.
      • Sweet Briar is on a former plantation and the faculty member leading this initiative was there. Some of the descendants of the slaves still work for the University. Lynn Raney, Professor, is a specialist in cemeteries.
      • Washington and Lee – The campus is full of names and monuments tied to slavery. They made a memorial on campus that involves documents and a gathering area so that it could be used for programming efforts.
      • UNC – has been doing this for a long time like Georgetown (since 2002). They said you can’t just put up a memorial and think that you are done. They also spoke about how they changed the name of Sanders Hall and used it as a learning opportunity. The artist’s vision for the monument ended up becoming controversial. So discussion around permanent memorials and their design and usage will naturally have controversies.
      • Rutgers – has been very aggressive with their actions. Deborah Widen, historian, is leading the charge there. There is money behind this initiative. The money is going to students engaged in research – not grants but work study money going to production of material. Their publication is called Scarlet and Black. Deborah discovered that one of the owners of Sigourney Truth was the founder of Rutgers University so they will name one hall after her. Another building will be named after the enslaved man who laid the foundation of the University.
      • Financial commitments varied widely. Georgetown has significant financial resources while other schools were struggling to get a budget. Some were administrative driven while others were faculty-student driven. No one gave a dollar amount.
      • There were participating schools from the Deep South.
      • The organization wants to expand. UVA has committed to leading this until 2019. Discussion around whether this should become a formal consortium. People found a lot of value out of hearing different experiences of the group.
      • Clemson’s Professor said that Clemson would be in a position to take the consortium at the end of 2019. Clemson has a lot of structural development and now just needs to implement and ingrain it into campus.
      • GWU – Changing location has been a history eraser. They have been doing genealogical research of slaves involved with the campus and finding the descendants.
      • None of the schools were very thoughtful in the beginning of their processes. The only school really in a position to have been is Georgetown.
      • The Fall meeting of this group will be at UVA October 18-21 to take place during their bicentennial.
      • Most of the schools have engaged in internal work not really bringing in outside people to help organize the issue.
      • Georgetown’s tour guides are a student-organized club rather than sponsored by the school. They have incorporated the history of Georgetown and slavery into their campus tours.
      • Gentrification of Georgetown – the school has tried to connect with the black community that was pushed out of Georgetown in the 40s and 50s including with a local church.
      • Doing the research for our own campus is so important because we don’t know what we don’t know. There is a lot hidden in plain sight.
        • This is similar to the process of Faces of Courage. They used a master thesis that had already been written on integration at the University.
      • There is a historical component, academic component and the desire to own up to our history. But we need to be careful that we don’t say “that is what they did over there” because despite the campus change we are the same university. There will be a personal connection that black and brown people feel to conversations around slavery and the connections to the University. We don’t know how people are going to respond when they hear about this. We need to make some decisions on how we need to be prepared to respond to the campus when they learn about this because we don’t know.
        • The same thing happened at Georgetown because where they are located now there isn’t any physical connections like buildings. So it was difficult to create a sense of urgency.
        • Duke has a lot of ties in their old campus in Randolph campus.
      • Brenda Allen and Corey Walker could do a presentation to the group on their work.
      • Maybe we should reach out to the alumni and advancement offices of schools ahead of us in this work because they can tell us how their alumni responded.
      • Clemson is including funding for this research in their next capital campaign.
      • How can we frame this work in context of our commitment of diversity and inclusion and being a university that honors that value to our full extent. We are trying to understand how our institution has evolved and what does that mean for us moving forward. We need to bridge gaps by holding all of this in context and making sure our intentions are shown to be good.
      • We are still trying to understand this in the present day and we need to contextualize it to create buy in.
      • People at the conference spoke about this work like it is a social movement. It will be personal and it will have a face. This could involve repair and reparations.
      • To know this information, will help with current race relations.
    • We need to define some goals. We know we want to understand our past as it relates to slavery but we need to define some goals for the present. What are the goals as an institution? Alumni relations improvement, better understanding of institutional discrimination for our students etc.? This will give reassurance that our intentions are good because intent doesn’t equal impact. We want to mitigate unintended consequences. If we don’t have other goals, it will come across as authentic.
    • Some students will need care. Possibly students who fostered cultural competency at the University and have had a glorified vision of the University. Although some will see this as continuing their work.
    • A problem area will be students who resist this process.

    2 Themes

    • We need to better articulate our goals of understanding our past but with contemporary implications for our present situation in light of what we find.
    • Learning from other institutions, experts (like Brenda and Cory).
  • March 14, 2017

    Attendees: Tim Pyatt, Matt Williams, Anthony Parent, Brett Eaton, Michelle Gillespie, Lynn Sutton, Mary Tribble, T.J. Smith

    • Almost every school that has done this has used a website to put all of their information
    • Timeline with documents embedded in it
    • We seem to be the only school whose administration has been the instigator of this work (except maybe Brown).
    • People ask how many people of color are involved in the effort. We need to welcome more people to the table to help shape it. – We need to be more inclusive and intentional into how the narrative is being constructed. What is the best way to acknowledge and honor the history for the people who are most impacted by it?
    • We should consider whether or not there should be an additional voice at the table representing the alumni (but who are not staff members). The alumni council meets in April and there will be a session on this committee and campus climate.
      • There will be a group of alumni who will resist but there will be people who celebrate what we are doing. We don’t know yet what the nuances of the responses will be but the alumni council is a place to start exploring this.
      • Some people are going to be angry. Knowing that this is an inevitable reaction regardless of approach, we need to be prepared to manage and deal with some of this emotion.
        • What we faced in past conferences. In 2003, students of divinity and some of the Winston Salem African American community thought by talking about Thomas Dixon was inadvertently honoring him and giving him more attention rather than letting him die and be forgotten. We need to look at institutional memory on what the responses were of various constituencies and populations.
        • We will have alumni, the Winston Salem community, the wake forest community, and the Wake Forest, NC community.
    • Are there other diverse voices we have not included?
      • People to invite: Derek Hicks (Divinity), Melissa Jenkins (English), Erica Still (English), Ron Neal (Divinity)
      • Possibility of this being part of their tenure portfolio? – mini grants for classes and research involved with this; community of scholars to enrich the pool
      • Do we create a working group for faculty working on these issues? Where you do readings together, feed opportunities for courses and look at the research being aligned together? Similar to the humanities creating a faculty research group.
      • We don’t want this group to be a target of backlash if we can mitigate these concerns. We don’t want to feel like diversity is an afterthought.
      • There are community thought leaders that have an investment here at the University and in the city. They would like to know as well as feel invested in the idea.
      • Community memory is very important. When we say something to the community, they are going to remember something that we do not know.
        • We need to consider the Wake Forest, NC community in mind because that is a community we need to engage. Especially, if we want to tap into community memory.
        • The Reynolds Estate in Virginia might need to be looked into as a third community. In addition to: Old Wake Forest and the Reynolds Campus. As well as the town of Wake Forest and the city of Winston Salem.
      • There will be a lot of trauma triggered around these issues.
    • Next Steps:
      • Figure out the scope of the project
      • Finalize the campus-wide announcement
      • Add more voices of color to the table (so a necessary reconfiguration of the committee)
  • February 17, 2017

    Law School

    • Dean Reynolds requested information regarding taking down historical paintings, memorabilia etc. given the portrait of I. Beverly Lake Sr. should be taken down (avid segregationist).
    • Lynn, Brett, TJ and Reid met to discuss a plan. Reid knew Dr. Lake from the rounds Reid has made on old campus.
    • Lake never changed his mind further along in life (as evidenced by a speech in the 1980s) so it was agreed that the portrait should come down.
    • Reid proposed a process that he and Dean Reynolds would go visit with Ed Wilson and Murray Greeson to discuss the issue. He thought they might have some nuisances given the family and Lake Jr.
    • If all are agreed, then we will ask Heather Childress to deaccession the portrait.
    • There was a discussion over whether there should be a formal process that we create.
    • Jr. is a donor to the law school.

    Timing of Announcement to Campus

    • Matt and Brett have started a shared google doc for this.
    • While we are ready to move faster on this announcement, we should not include the history project until we have more concrete details.
    • We don’t want it in the announcement calling for proposals but when we announce what proposals we have accepted we could put it in that. This would not be inconsistent because other events on campus will be under this banner. Mid-April.
      (Still need to name this work before the announcement)
    • If we don’t do it with the accepted proposals, then it needs to be its own stand alone announcement.
    • When we announce, we need a website that has the timeline, a description of the committee’s work, and Andrew Canady’s project.
    • Tony, Andrew and Tim will be at Georgetown for a conference on this issue on March 30th. We might need to get ahead of the story since this will be a national news story of universities looking at their past.
    • Can we position this as one of two ongoing events that are connected? – So this would be announced at the same time of the announcement of rethinking community but as standalone announcements. We risk taking the focus away from the Rethinking Community if we announce like this given that the history project is more concrete, immediate and quick.
    • We may not have a website up by the time this announcement goes out.
      • Tanya has a draft of a timeline of Wake Forest History.
      • Andrew Canady’s biography could be on the website.
      • Both of these are quick and concrete.
    • To what extent do we want to report that this committee has been meeting a while, have a structure of a plan (including curricular pieces) and a timeline?
      • We do want some of this so that it reflects the thoughtful planning that has been going on.
      • We could announce that we a part of this group of universities who will be engaging in this work.
    • This probably warrants communication with the Alumni Council, at least the executive committee. This could be done at the April meeting.
    • If this committee, could be the future arbiters of name changes then the trustees should understand this.
    • We probably need to make sure that this goes to key people in UA before they start getting calls from donors.
    • We are probably not ready for public forums at this point – maybe next fall? – multiple forums with different targets (faculty, staff etc.) – will these be thematic? Then do we need editors? We want different kinds of voices inside and outside of Wake Forest.
    • This will become a part of rethinking community because part of rethinking it is rethinking your past, present and where you are going.
    • Possible post-doc to work on future volumes of books as well as help plan some of these events/symposiums.
    • We need to think of the special topics courses and when the courses need to be approved and ready, that will affect the timeline. i.e. if you want enough lead time then these classes can’t be this fall. (course planning grants etc.) So we would need to do calls for course proposals now, develop the courses in the fall, and then teach next spring. Then have the conference at the end of Spring 18. (This is one potential model). —- Flesh out a real time-table for this.
    • The timeline for a post-doc is going to be tight unless we want one for May or fall of ’18.

    We will go ahead with the Rethinking community announcement and then before March 30th we will have a second announcement regarding the wake forest history project. This announcement will include what we have learned from our peers and what we have planned. A draft will be brought to our next meeting.


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