Georgia women's college with links to Klan: 'It's time we admit and accept our failures.'


Wesleyan College's incoming President Vivia Fowler personally apologized for the school's racist past in a video shared via email with alumnae Monday, acknowledging that leaders have ignored the school's disturbing history for too long and that "it's time we admit and accept our failures."

Fowler's statement sharpens efforts to reconcile for the Macon women's college's historic links to the Ku Klux Klan and ties to slavery. The school issued an unsigned apology on its website last Thursday, the same day The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published a story online detailing this troubling history.

"For too long, Wesleyan has ignored this disturbing part of our institution's past and it's time we admit and accept our failures," Fowler, who becomes president July 1, said in the video statement. "On behalf of Wesleyan College, I want to sincerely apologize for the pain that our past has previously caused and continues to cause. Moving forward, we need to do better, and we will do better."

[cmg_anvato video= "4117917"]

The AJC began investigating this history earlier this year after acquiring a copy of the school's 1913 yearbook, titled "Ku Klux."

The school for years identified with the Klan through class names and fomented extreme hazing rituals and traditions that carried forward into the late 20th century, often involving racist symbolism such as nooses, hooded costumes, blackface and figures hung in effigy.

Its class names in 1909, 1913 and 1917 were the Ku Klux Klan. These class names were carried forward every four years in various iterations into the 1990s, including the Tri-K's and the Tri-K Pirates.

For more on this history go to myAJC.com to read the story.

 


Reader Comments


Next Up in AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Hospital thought it had answer for rural struggles. Now it’s in peril.
Hospital thought it had answer for rural struggles. Now it’s in peril.

On April 12 last year, an investigator for the insurance giant Blue Cross Blue Shield sent a bombshell letter to the owner of a small North Georgia hospital, Chestatee Regional. The investigator laid out evidence of systemic overcharging for urine drug tests, tests that he suggested the Dahlonega facility never should have done in the first place &mdash...
Trump’s fired VA secretary failed to fix turmoil at Atlanta enrollment center
Trump’s fired VA secretary failed to fix turmoil at Atlanta enrollment center

The VA’s national health care enrollment office off Clairmont Road is far from Washington’s corridors of power, but as ousted VA Secretary David Shulkin leaves the turmoil at the office he promised to fix remains unresolved.  President Donald Trump fired the embattled secretary this week, announcing the the decision on Wednesday via...
Atlanta Massage Envy therapist sexually assaulted client, lawsuit says
Atlanta Massage Envy therapist sexually assaulted client, lawsuit says

Massage Envy therapists from at least four metro Atlanta locations have now been accused of sexually violating women, with the latest lawsuit filed this week in Fulton County State Court.  The lawsuit alleges that near the end of a massage at the Massage Envy on Howell Mill Road in Atlanta in 2016, the therapist inserted his finger into the woman&rsquo...
Jury quickly says ‘not guilty’ in Georgia elections case 
Jury quickly says ‘not guilty’ in Georgia elections case 

It took a South Georgia jury just 20 minutes to find Olivia Pearson not guilty.  But the speedy verdict last month came at the end of a case that dragged on for years and came to be viewed by some as a blatant attempt to intimidate minority voters in a rural region of Georgia.  Pearson -- the first black woman to be elected to the Douglas...
Georgia sheriff acknowledges law enforcement’s role in 1947 lynching
Georgia sheriff acknowledges law enforcement’s role in 1947 lynching

Henry “Peg” Gilbert was beaten and shot to death by the Harris County police chief in 1947 while in custody at the county jail. His lynching -- one of more than 600 reported in Georgia -- occurred when Gilbert, a husband and father of four daughters, had been wrongly accused of helping another black man flee after he had shot and killed...
More Stories