‘Holy Cross remembers turbulent days of racial progress’

Telegram & Gazette

February 19th, 2013 by 


From left, Ted Wells, Arthur Martin and Eddie Jenkins at the Black Student Union's 45th anniversary event at the College of the Holy Cross. Image by Telegram & Gazette

The Telegram & Gazette recently covered the College of the Holy Cross’ 45th anniversary of the school’s Black Student Union (BSU) event, which was held on Monday, February 18. At the event, three prominent Holy Cross alumni—Arthur Martin, founder of the College’s BSU, Ted Wells, a nationally renowned defense attorney and Eddie Jenkins, lawyer and former Miami Dolphins football player—returned to speak of their experiences at a time where racial tensions around the country were high.

The stories of these alumni, as well as the stories of their peers, including Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edward P. Jones, were recounted in Diane Brady’s powerful book, “Fraternity.” The book explains how former Holy Cross president, Rev. John E. Brooks, S.J., recruited and mentored 20 African-American Holy Cross students during the socially tense civil rights movement.

Reflecting on his relationship to Brooks, Jenkins said that the president was his “spiritual father.” Wells, echoing this sentiment, said, “When I was 19, I sat in this room, like a lot of you, and I had no idea, no idea, that I had the ability to one day become one of the top lawyers in the country or even go to law school.”

Jenkins, speaking to a large audience in the campus’ Hogan Ballroom, repeated Rev. Brooks’ ideological reasoning for taking the social risk of desegregating the College, saying, “[I]n order to build [a] bridge you [have] to get in the turbulent waters. You can’t build it from your side. You can’t build it from your comfort zone. You got to build it from the other side of the river.”

This ‘Holy Cross in the News’ item by David Cotrone ’13.

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