The enrollment of Joseph Vaughn in January 1965 was the result of more than 10 years of debate and discussion. Support for desegregation slowly but steadily grew, and by the mid-1960s, most groups on campus believed that Furman should accept “all qualified applicants.”

The biographies in this section represent a broad cross-section of the Furman community—Joan Lipscomb was a student, Sapp Funderburk was a prominent alumnus, Alfred Reid and Schaefer Kendrick were professors, and Francis Bonner was an administrator—and they reflect the complexity of Furman’s decision to desegregate the campus.

For some, it was a moral responsibility inspired by Christian fellowship and love. For others, it was a practical policy made necessary by the federal government’s support for civil rights. Whatever it meant to them individually, those involved agreed that the struggle over desegregation would not only decide the university’s admission policy but the meaning and purpose of the university itself.

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Campus Leaders