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Berea College: Whom Shall We Serve?

1806 words - 7 pages

Throughout Berea College’s history the school’s founders, John G. Fee, E.H. Fairchild, and William Frost, had a focus in their minds when Berea was created. The focus for Berea College was the importance of interracial education. This focus was met during Fee’s and Fairchild’s time in office. In Frost’s inaugural address he seemed to have shared the same focus. However, when Frost took his turn in office his focus was upon interracial education but was slowly starting to shift onto what he called the “mountain people.” Some felt that Frost’s change of focus in the college was saying that he felt that interracial education to be unimportant. The aspects these men focused upon when choosing students plays a large role in how students are admitted today into Berea College. Should the aspects that were most important during the times when these men were in office or should these aspects change with time? The aspects that will be examined throughout the upcoming paragraphs are race, region, and class. These three aspects should be most important when admitting students into Berea College.
When accepting students into Berea College certain aspects are viewed as being of high importance. One of these aspects is the race of a student. This concept of interracial education in the South began with Berea College’s founder John G. Fee. He desired to build a school that was anti-slavery, anti-caste, anti-secret societies, and anti-sin. One of the by-laws of the college was “to furnish the facilities for a thorough education to all persons of good moral character. (Baskin N.P.)”
Within E. H. Fairchild’s inaugural address, the first president at Berea College, he discusses the importance of race and the impact that it has on education. Fairchild believed in involvement of the community and the opinions that they had. However, he believed that if there was a situation when the community had the majority ruling then certain aspects could be altered. On the other hand, if the majority’s ruling degraded another race then he could not admit himself to abiding by the majority because he believed everyone should have equal rights. Fairchild found that co-education between races could not be avoided because there were and never would be enough inhabitants in rural areas to have separate schooling. He believed that educating races separately could be the possible destruction of the whole system of universal education (1-7).
In William B Stewart’s inaugural address, Berea College’s second president, he discussed that everyone should have equal opportunity and this did not exclude people of color. Stewart recognized that in the motto of Berea College, “God has made of one blood, all peoples of the earth,” that the words “one blood” alone showed the individual unity of the human race. In viewing that, he found that the entire world was one large neighborhood. When people ask, “Who is my neighbor?” Stewart answers, “MAN! Whatever may be his color or condition. (5)” He...

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