Media Advisory: Wake Forest marks 50th anniversary of integration

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 website 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.”

Interviews: Ed Reynolds is available from 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21, in advance of the 3 p.m. presentation in Brendle Recital Hall and from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Friday morning.  Other interview times can also be arranged.

Others available for interviews:

  • Barbee Oakes, assistant provost for diversity and inclusion.
  • Glenn Blackburn, the leader of the student organization that helped bring Ed Reynolds to Wake Forest.  Blackburn is often credited with leading the movement to end racial segregation at Wake Forest. As leader of the African Student Program, Blackburn mobilized student and faculty support to raise money for Reynolds to attend Wake Forest.  He graduated from Wake Forest in 1963.
  • Ed Wilson, provost emeritus of Wake Forest.  He was dean of the college when the decision was made to racially integrate Wake Forest and can share the history of integration from the perspective of an administrator.
  • Tre Easton, current student government president of Wake Forest.

Photography: Cameras can set up behind the back row in Brendle Recital Hall.

Parking: Parking for the event will be available in Lot Q, beside Scales Fine Arts Center. Here’s a link to a campus parking map.


About Wake Forest University: Wake Forest University combines the best traditions of a small liberal arts college with the resources of a large research university. Founded in 1834, the school is located in Winston-Salem, N.C. The University’s graduate school of arts and sciences, divinity school, and nationally ranked schools of law, medicine and business enrich our intellectual environment. Learn more about Wake Forest University at

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