Blog post written by SCA student employee Kendall John.

From ZSR Special Collections & Archives, happy Black History Month! The month of February is all about learning about Black history and celebrating Black excellence, and to help you do that, we have compiled some fascinating history from the archives of Wake Forest University.

While thinking about Black History, it is imperative that we as a community acknowledge where abuse and erasure of that history has occurred. This includes remembering that the original Wake Forest College campus was built by enslaved people, and that the school’s earlier presidents and staff owned and/or profited off of slave labor. The Slavery, Race, and Memory Project is committed to researching, preserving, and communicating the histories of enslaved people associated with Wake Forest University. Essays from the findings can be read here.

Beyond remembering slavery, it is time to celebrate the accomplishments of Wake Forest University’s Black community, past, present, and future. To learn more, we recommend taking a look at the Timeline of Wake Forest as well as subject guides pertaining to Black History listed below. Some highlights of our collections include an article titled Prelude to a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1962 Speech to Recently-Integrated Wake Forest College (additionally, our recent blog post from MLK Day 2021 can be found here). We also find the archives from the Afro-American Society student organization fascinating as well.

Subject guides:

African American & Black Resources

Dr. Maya Angelou

Histories of Wake Forest Resources Relating to Human Civil Rights

Narratives by Enslaved People in ZSR Collections

Studying Winston-Salem

Early History of Wake Forest College 1830-1899

All subject guides can be found here. 

Photo of Professor Dr. Maya Angelou