Guest / Limited Access /

As one of only two Negroes attending Los Angeles Baptist College (now Master's College), Dolphus Weary was having the time of his life experiencing a new world of white faces and middle-class culture. Born and raised in rural Mississippi, Weary had assumed he would spend the rest of his life there—until a recruiting team offered him and a friend a chance to attend a Christian liberal arts college in southern California. Other Christian schools that Weary had been interested in refused admission to Negroes. But through the urging of a bold admissions director and an ambitious basketball coach, this ultraconservative institution agreed to make Weary and his friend the first blacks who attended in its 30-year history.

Weary earned above-average grades (knowing anything less would be unacceptable) and helped lead the school's basketball team to a 19-and-5 record. Things were good. The poverty and provincialism of Negro life in southern Mississippi were out of sight, out of mind. Weary was glad to have escaped it—that is, until the day's big news made its way across campus.

As Weary left the library on April 4, 1968, a white student approached him and said, "Did you hear? Martin Luther King got shot."

"I remember running to my room, flipping on the radio, and listening to the news report," he recalls. A rifle bullet had ripped into King's neck as he stood on a motel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil-rights leader was rushed to a hospital in serious condition. "I was devastated."

As he sat on his bed holding back the tears, Weary could hear voices down the hall: white students talking about King's shooting. But Weary quickly realized that they were not just talking; they were laughing.

"I couldn't understand what I ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedBill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
Bill Gothard Breaks Silence on Harassment Claims by 30 Women
(UPDATED) Popular seminar speaker: 'I have failed to live out some of the very things that I have taught.'
TrendingFive Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
Five Errors to Drop From Your Easter Sermon
If you want to help people see Holy Week with fresh eyes, start by dropping these familiar fallacies.
Editor's PickThe Uneasy Conscience of a Christian Boxing Trainer
The Uneasy Conscience of a Christian Boxing Trainer
Why it may (or may not) be okay to watch adults beat up on one another.
Leave a Comment

Use your Christianity Today login to leave a comment on this article. Not part of the community? Subscribe now, or register for a free account.

hide thisMarch 2 March 2

In the Magazine

March 2, 1998

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.