Black Georgia college alums from Wesleyan College recall frightening rite of initiationBreaking News
tags: Wesleyan College
With a bass drum pounding a steady beat, young women in hooded robes and face paint — and nooses around their necks — rounded up her and other first-year students. Morton, an African American, was two weeks into her freshman year. She had no prior warning about what was coming that fall night in 1991 as she and other students, some black, some white, huddled in the darkness. Suddenly, a figure in a purple robe rode up on horseback. “I remember being absolutely terrified,” said Morton, a family therapist and minister from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “I didn’t know what was going on.”
Morton’s night of terror was part of an initiation tradition that stretched back nearly 100 years to a time when the college was all white and celebrated the Ku Klux Klan through class names and hazing rituals passed down from one class to the next.
Now, she and other alumnae have broken a long-held silence about their experiences at Wesleyan in the weeks since a June 25 Atlanta Journal-Constitution article detailed the school’s historical Klan ties and the racist traditions that persisted for much of the 20th century.
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