ACU president apologizes for past racial discrimination;
civil rights attorney Fred Gray formally accepts
For Immediate Release
Nov. 22, 1999
TERRELL, Texas - The simple act of asking forgiveness
took on symbolic overtones Sunday afternoon when Dr. Royce
Money, president of Abilene Christian University, stood
before an auditorium filled with African-Americans to
apologize for ACU's past discriminatory admissions
Money's brief apology was presented during the 50th
anniversary Founders' Day celebration at Southwestern
Christian College in Terrell, a primarily two-year
institution established specifically because
African-Americans were excluded from most mainstream
universities at the time.
Dr. Jack Evans Sr., president of SwCC, added Money to the
agenda before his Founders' Day address.
"Just a few days ago, Dr. Money invited a number of us to
the campus of ACU for a meeting to discuss oneness in
Christ," Evans said. "We discussed one of the issues -
racism - that has pervaded our society, the Church of Christ
and even our Christian colleges. We talked very candidly
about the past. Some of us were around in the 1950s when
you could not attend Abilene Christian, David Lipscomb,
Harding or other Christian schools because of race.
"During our conference, Dr. Money made an apology on
behalf of ACU for past racial discrimination, and he said he
would come here today and make the same apology on behalf of
the university. The chairman of the ACU Board of Trustees,
Don Crisp of Dallas, also is here today representing Abilene
Christian. Please welcome Dr. Money."
Money began with these words: "Abilene Christian
University has been a Christian institution of higher
education for more than 90 years. Its doors were not open
to African-American students for well over half that time.
We are here today to confess the sins of racism and
discrimination and to issue a formal apology to all of you,
to express regret and to ask for your forgiveness.
"We understand from the Lord that part of repentance
involves the resolve to go in a different direction from the
past," Money continued. "But before we focus on the future,
we need to confess the sins of racism and discrimination of
the past against our African-American brothers and sisters.
We are truly sorry."
During his remarks, several people shouted "Amen" and
clapped. Dr. Andrew Hairston, an Atlanta, Ga., judge and
member of the SwCC board, stood and hugged Money before he
left the stage and the crowd gave him a standing
"The key word in Dr. Money's report is forgiveness,"
Evans said after the apology. "We must forgive. That's why
we are called Christian colleges. We must exemplify the
spirit of Christ."
In another symbolic and historic moment, SwCC president
Dr. Jack Evans introduced well-known civil rights lawyer
Fred Gray to accept the apology on behalf of the
historically African-American college. Gray is the current
chair of the SwCC Board of Directors.
"To President Money and the chairman of the Board of
Trustees for Abilene Christian University
as one who
has devoted all of my 45 years representing people such as
Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King and desegregating
institutions of higher learning in Alabama," Gray began. "I
am delighted on behalf of the policy-making board of
Southwestern Christian College that my brothers and sisters
from Abilene Christian have taken this bold step. On behalf
of Southwestern Christian, I genuinely accept it and look
forward to a long and fruitful relationship."
Again the crowd clapped loudly. And in a final, related
moment at the end of a two-hour event, Evans wife, Patricia
O. Evans, introduced the special guests one last time,
adding, "Dr. Money, you just thrilled my soul. That's just
The Moneys spent Sunday morning attending church services
and enjoying lunch with the Evans.
"We were so warmly received here," Money said. "I
believe God is moving among us to bring us spiritual unity.
ACU wants to do everything we can to heal old hurts and to
promote understanding and respect among all people."
The final words of his apology sum up what Money hopes
the future holds: "We pledge to walk together with you as
those in the body of Christ should always do. As Paul says
in I Corinthians 12, we pray that 'there should be no
division in the body, but its parts should have equal
concern for each other.' ACU is dedicated to building up
all the kingdom of God through service and leadership. May
God help us in word and in deed to be spiritually 'one in
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