Baylor Lariat Former Editor Remembers Past Inauguration, Civil Rights Issues

Jenna Williamson, a reporter with The Baylor Lariat, wrote an excellent article on Louis and Kay Moore's visit to Baylor and their remembrances of 40 years ago at Baylor. The article is below and you can read it on The Baylor Lariat's website here.

Alumni recall changes in Baylor's civil rights views
Jan. 22, 2009
Jenna Williamson, Reporter

For journalists and authors Louis and Kay Moore, being on the Baylor campus Tuesday for President Obama's Inauguration brought back a wave of memories. The couple, who will celebrate their 40th anniversary in August, both attended Baylor during the height of the civil rights movement.

Louis was the Lariat editor in chief from 1968 to 1969. His wife, Kay, was city editor of the Lariat at the same time. Both remember when Baylor's first Black student, football player John Westbrook, moved into Martin Hall in 1965. Kay recalls that during her freshman year, Collins was racially integrated for the first time.
"Baylor was not in the forefront of civil rights," Louis said. "Martin Luther King was not the most popular person on this campus."

The day after King's assassination in April 1968, the main story in The Lariat was about campus elections. It was a sad day in the history of college journalism and especially for The Lariat staff, according to Kay. Later that week, "we did a special edition of the Lariat on King's assassination," she said.

In 1968, Louis interviewed Dr. Vivienne Mayes, Baylor's first black professor. As a student, Dr. Mayes was denied admission to Baylor on racial grounds. Along with his front-page story, Louis wrote an editorial on Dr. Mayes, chiding the administration for failing to formally apologize to her.

Louis hired Willie White for The Lariat staff in spring of 1969. White was the first Black to work for the Lariat. Louis recalled taking a trip with White, Kay and Kay's roommate. When the four stopped for dinner, Louis said that everyone was staring at their table. It took him a moment to realize that people thought White was dating Kay's roommate, he said.

The group "literally had cowboys follow us to our car," and it was the "first time I had experienced discrimination almost inside a black man's skin," Louis said.

White was the Lariat editor from 1970-1971. Having a black editor proved to be difficult, even for a group which Louis referred to as so-called liberal journalists. He said he feels that although many Baylor students promoted equality in theory, they didn't always live it out.

"That was my contribution to the Lariat - to spotlight that issue (of civil rights)," Louis said.

After his time at Baylor, Louis went on to seminary and later worked for almost 15 years as religion editor for the Houston Chronicle. Currently, the Moores own Hannibal Books, a Christian publishing company based out of Garland. Louis and Kay have both written several books, the most recent of which is Louis' Witness to the Truth.

The book describes lessons Louis has learned during his interactions with the church over the past 40 years. The book looks at the common threads in different religions and denominations.

"God can use any situation or circumstance at His disposal, both inside and outside the church, to fulfill His purposes on earth," Louis said. "The truth is that God is at work everywhere and we are fortunate to be a part of what He is doing."

When asked about Obama's choice of Rick Warren and Eugene Robinson to be a part of the inauguration ceremonies, Louis said that the new president may have been trying to hard to balance two extreme theological viewpoints. He admitted that "Obama has his work cut out for him" because "America is very deeply divided, both politically and religiously." Louis said that as Americans, "we need to have our own opinions" while maintaining "a sense of respect for one another."

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