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'Baylor was built on the hardwork of slaves': Baylor University breaks ground on Memorial to Enslaved Persons

Baylor University honors the untold stories of its past
Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-23 19:44:47-05

WACO, Texas — Honoring the untold stories of Baylor University's past. University leaders and students came together Friday Feb. 23 for the groundbreaking of a memorial representing the unknown enslaved gaps in Baylor history.

  • For 117 years, Baylor University denied access to Black students, it wasn’t until the 1960’s when that started to change.
  • To honor those unknown enslaved people, ground was broken for a memorial that will lie in the middle of campus at Founders Mall, the "Memorial to Enslaved Persons."

BROADCAST SCRIPT:

“Knowing that Baylor was built with the hardwork of slaves, sometimes it’s a little bit hard to come here knowing that,” Baylor University student Kelsie Deloach said.

For 117 years Baylor University denied access to Black students, it wasn’t until the 1960’s when that started to change. And now Baylor University leaders are acknowledging the school’s history.

“We recognize that we had not done a good job of telling the complete story of who was involved in the founding about their role in chattel slavery,” University President Linda Livingstone said.

The roles of slaves who helped build and create years of wealth for the school.

“Their investment in the founding of this university has provided resources and infrastructure that allow us to be here where we are today,” Dr. Alicia D. H. Monroe said.

To honor those unknown enslaved people, ground was broken for a memorial that will lie in the middle of campus at Founders Mall, the "Memorial to Enslaved Persons."

“Because Christians played such a role in the justification and mobilization of slavery, we have a unique role and responsibility to bear witness that racialized chattel slavery is deeply incompatible with the Christian faith,” Rev. Dr. Malcom Foley said.

With leaders digging into Baylor’s history.

“They’re taking this next step to show 'hey we know this happened, we don’t want to ignore it and we want to apologize that this happened,' but also encourage that this can be a home despite what happened in the past,” Deloach said.

They realize the only way to move froward is to deeply recognize the past.

“And not to stay there but to recognize 'hey these things did happen and these are things we never want to be involved in again,' and here are the ways we can ensure that never happens again,” Dr. Foley said.

The memorial is set for a ribbon cutting ceremony in summer 2025.