It’s time to move ahead in confidence and faith! Recent turbulent times at our Alma Matter, “dear Old Morehouse”, should make us “wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove” and sharpen our critical faculties. What should remain on the tops of our desks is our historic college’s long and storied history of producing scholars and spiritual leaders who have enriched our communities and have fearlessly advocated for our civil rights and the human rights of all people.
We must not forget where we came from, and why we’re still needed.
Indeed, Morehouse College’s reputation has been tarnished by recently ousted leadership. Adding to this pain and suffering was the sudden loss of interim president, Dr. William Taggart, who stepped in during a difficult time and proved to be a quintessential gentleman; calm, respectful, intelligent and hard-working. His contributions will not be forgotten. It should also be noted that we successfully came through the storm because of the sterling, steady, and sacrificial leadership of Mr. Robert Davidson. He deserves great applause for his civil, compassionate and courageous presence, whether on Morehouse’s campus or other venues around the nation. His contributions will not be forgotten, especially the work he and his wife put forth in contributing a home for the president.
As we decide who should be the future president and who should live in this beautiful and commodious house, may the words of John Adams- who said in a letter to his wife Abigail as he contemplated who should live in the White House, and to quote him, “I pray to heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this house and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men ever rule under this roof."
Moreover, may trustee board members, alumni, and the search committee, seek a man of similar attributes of whom John Adams spoke, as being worthy of residing in our president’s home. We must remember what Morehouse College once was and what it should strive to be under a leadership that is visionary and resourceful. The future shaper of our school, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a student and once taught, should not gaze into the past as if it has solved our future.
The great Dr. W.E.B. Dubois’ once said the problem of the 20th Century would be the problem of the color line. His classic phrase the color line rings true today. That color line is still with us in the rhetoric of Donald Trump, and with the undermining of our peoples’ educational opportunities in the misguided and inept leadership of Education Secretary, Ms. Betsy DeVos. The color line is still with us with the assault on health care, which will result in many of our people being sick, unable to thrive and succeed and thousands will die. The color line will still be with us in the criminal justice system, where our people are disproportionately represented and challenged by the unjust policies of Attorney General, Jeff Sessions.
It is true that times have progressed since the days of Rev. William Jefferson White, who founded Morehouse College in 1867 in order to build future generations of scholars and faith leaders to combat bigotry, injustice and violence. He perused this noble end even though his life was threatened by the Klu Klux Klan in Augusta, GA. As we look at the present crisis in our nation we should all be in the position that we still have miles to go and promises to keep for freedom and justice before we fall asleep.
Moving forward, we pledge to continue to be loyal to Morehouse’s legacy of academics, faith and social justice education. America has not changed. Racism is still alive and kicking our door down. Morehouse deserves to have a president who will carry on a tradition that empowers our best and brightest to deal with reality through two eyes and move the needle closer toward justice for our people.
Therefore, we are calling on the Board of Trustees and the search committee to do their due diligence in selecting a new president who has a demonstrated track record of outstanding college president leadership, a profile as a “sensible race man”, and to use the words of one of our alumni, exemplifies competency, the right chemistry, character and courage to meet the challenges before us. More specifically it is our considered judgement that the background and qualifications of Dr. Calvin Butts III, more than qualifies him to lead dear old Morehouse as president.
The seriousness of our commitment will be demonstrated through faithful conversation with our interim president, Dr. Harold Martin Jr., Mr. Willie Woods, Chairman of the Board, and most of all we pledge our monies, prayers and moral support so that Morehouse will forever carry out the all-important trinitarian tenants of spiritually, scholarship and social justice advocacy.
When we fulfill this noble goal we shall please the last of the great schoolmasters, Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, who said Morehouse men have the responsibility to touch messed up situations and leave them better than they were before they were touched by a Morehouse Man.
*partial list of potential supporters.
Rev. Dr. Amos C. Brown, ’64 (Author and Chair, Open Letter)
Rev. Dr. Cameron Alexander, ‘59
Dr. Alvin E. Harris, ‘73
Rev. Dr. Kenneth J. Flowers, ‘83
Rev. Dr. Matthew Johnson, ’83
Rev. Dr. Jesse Windell Mapson, ‘67
Dr. Johnny Parham, ‘58
Dr. Charles Reynolds, ‘58
Dr. Louis Sullivan, ‘54
The Rev. Anthony L. Trufant, ‘84
Rev. Dr. Jasper Williams, Jr., ‘72