Harding University and Race

My friend and colleague Michael Brown recently published this phenomenal piece regarding the college I attended and its history with race. You can read the piece here: Harding and The American Way.


6 thoughts on “Harding University and Race

  1. heath march:

    I agree. This is a topic that should be addressed more rather than placed under a mat. Front-end change starts with honesty about the dark past of various institutions.

  2. Interesting! Harding wasn’t the only university where the students were ahead of the administration:


    As for Christians being “at the front-end” of change…that all depends on what is being pushed. Yes, if it is Biblical, no if it’s not. Sometimes the Bible seems “ahead” of the culture, and sometimes it seems “behind” the culture. Matching speed is a lifelong and humbling endeavor.

  3. I agree with you Matt S; it seems that by 1960 students were ahead of the admin. I am very familiar with the Duke link you put up. I think the major issue is this: How can a school and a president teach and discuss how they were different from the world, when in fact, they advocated for the same thing?

  4. Wow. I entered Harding in the fall of 1968 and never knew any of this. Yet it was only 9 years before. I knew some of the people mentioned in the article. Kenny Perrin was my Calculus 1 teacher. We have the same home town. I thought that Harding integrated when Cliff Ganus took over in about 1966. There were quite a few African American students when I arrived. They did not have an official social club but they formed temporary one in order to participate in intramural sports. They were called “Groove Phi”. Most of them graduated in 1969 or 1970. And the numbers went way down. There was a walk-out my freshman year during chapel as a protest to some things Dr. Ganus said and some demands they desired. That 68-69 year was one of turmoil at Harding and we lost some good teachers, including Dr. Perrin, to Pepperdine.

  5. I think Harding tries to ignore this issue, act like they have always been on the right side of it, and that the campus still has no race problems. Literally a professor in the Bible department told me that Racism wasn’t ever really a problem. But besides all this, there is all the issue of LGBTQ rights. In thirty years or so Harding will be embarrassed by their current position. And they again will try to sweep it under the rug. It is important that we let them not sweep this under the rug, and encourage them to change their ways on Gay Rights stop the discrimination going on now. And if it doesn’t stop we shouldn’t let them sweep it under the rug again.

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