When Harvard President Drew Faust Used Morehouse College as a Safe Haven

morehouse-sealRecently, Harvard University President Drew Faust addressed the Harvard Club of Atlanta. On that occasion, she related a story about a visit to the campus of historically Black Morehouse College a half century ago:

Presidents Wilson and Faust
Presidents Wilson and Faust

“I first spent time here in the summer of 1964 as part of a Quaker-organized civil rights project, attending meetings and conducting interviews with leaders in the movement and with students at Atlanta University and at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. The following March, when I was a freshman at Bryn Mawr, I watched events in Selma unfolding on a grainy black and white TV, and I decided I had to go and bear witness against the violence and injustice playing out before my eyes. My boyfriend and I borrowed a Ford station wagon and headed south from Philadelphia, alternating as drivers every hundred miles. By the time we got to Georgia we were exhausted and knew we had to get some rest. I remembered from the preceding summer how to find my way to Morehouse College, where I thought we would be safe, even though across the South cars with northern plates and the ‘outside agitators’ they contained were often serving as targets for the racist violence intensified by the Selma struggle. We succeeded in finding an empty Morehouse parking lot and fell asleep. I remember that in the middle of the night I was awakened by the knock of a security guard on the car window, but when I told him where we were headed, he left us with a simple “bless you.”

President Faust then thanked current Morehouse College President John Silvanus Wilson Jr., who was in the audience at the Harvard Club of Atlanta, for the kindness that the college extended to her a half century ago.

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