I got the bulk of my Bible education at ACU twenty years ago. It was old news then, but I recall that the topic of Dr. Carl Spain and his cage-rattling speech there in February 1960 (back when it was still ACC) came up for discussion numerous times in numerous classes. Yes, even 38 years later, we were still talking about it.
Then in 2010, a number of bloggers associated with ACU commemorated the speech on their blogs. That was fifty years after. Fifty years after Spain rattled the cage, he is remembered as a hero of the faith and of the institution he so severely shamed.
In 1960, ACC still refused to admit black students to the school. Three years before Dr. King delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech on TV before the whole nation, this white college professor got up in front of his white brothers and sisters at the premier lecture of a lecture series that still draws Christians from all over the world and shamed both the church and the school for not letting blacks attend.
Spain was ahead of his time!
I learned from some of these (almost decade old) blogs that Dr. Spain received death threats after that speech. (Church people threatening to kill???) His remarks were so jarring for the church and the school that people became deeply upset and complained bitterly about Spain and his sucker-punch speech withdrawing support for the school and a number of other sanctions.
To their credit, ACC did not fire Spain but kept him on until he retired. But decades later, they call him a prophet and note that usually prophets don’t get to keep their jobs.
You can download the speech here: