Greg Dounda is the author of the fascinating book, Showdown at Big Sandy: Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia at an Unconventional Bible College in East Texas
Gavin Rumney had an excellent review of the book here. Gavin writes:
The WCG can probably be grateful that Greg wised up and found better things to do, for it's just plain scary to imagine what he would have got up to if he'd stayed and risen through the ranks. Just reading through his doctrinal papers from that time – positions he has long since moved beyond – indicate that this guy would have raised more than a little hell along the way.
The subtitle says it all: “Youthful Creativity Confronts Bureaucratic Inertia...” Doudna provides insight on a number of characters from the times: Dean of Students Ronald Kelly, for example, who is described as a hard working “company man”... one of many “yellow pencils” cut from the same mold... [who] did not try to disguise his lack of interest in things intellectual.
There are also anecdotes involving Herman Hoeh, Kenneth Herrmann, GTA, Charles Dorothy and other characters. The chapters on tithing and creationism are excellent, the treatment of healing and medicine is downright sobering, and the discussion of the old God Family doctrine is simply fascinating. (Let's all not tell Bob Thiel about that chapter, as he'd probably misunderstand it and gloat insufferably.)
One of the dark sides of WCG/AC was race: at beautiful, oasis-like AC, foretaste of the world tomorrow, prior to  1971 , unmarried African-American church members were by policy not admitted as students to any of the AC campuses, excluded on the basis of the color of their skin, on ideological grounds citing the Bible. This changed in  1971 (single black students began to be admitted).
Why did that change in  1971?
Here is the true story on that--a story so little known among us that even Ambassador Report and Trechak missed this one ... a story I too missed in "Showdown" because I also did not then know ... a story of AC history that to my knowledge to the present day remains unpublished in print. (Therefore it is necessary for this post to be longer than normal, to tell this information.)
A first mystery is that although the change in AC admissions policies in 1971 was open and well-known, there was no official explanation from headquarters as to why. They just did it, without saying why. Why the lack of explanation?
A second mystery was that the change was not done at all AC campuses, only the two US-based ones. Bricket Wood AC continued exclusion of unmarried black applicants from being students until that campus's closure in 1974. Whatever the reason for the 1971 change at Pasadena and Big Sandy, why did it not extend to UK's AC?
Those taking care of legal affairs for HWA and AC at headquarters would have known, even if most at the student level and the church membership did not. It was because the US govt was threatening to remove tax exemptions for charitable institution status from church-related educational institutions which were practicing racial discrimination. This story is told (without mention of AC) in Randall Balmer, "The Real Origins of the Religious Right" (Politico May 27, 2014), here.
Bob Jones University of North Carolina had similar policies to AC: segregation was divinely ordained, interracial marriage was sin, blacks excluded from admissions. "The IRS had sent its first letter to Bob Jones University in November 1970 to ascertain whether or not it discriminated on the basis of race. The school responded defiantly: it did not admit African Americans." Note the timing: November 1970. Spring 1971: admissions offices for AC Pasadena and AC Big Sandy for the first time, and coordinated, admit single black men and women students for the 1971-1972 academic year. AC Bricket Wood, safely beyond the evil clutches of the IRS, unchanged.
Bob Jones University resisted the intrusion of a godless federal government interfering with their God-given right to be racist on biblical grounds. All across America, evangelical churches rallied to defend Bob Jones University. The IRS pulled Bob Jones U's tax exemption, costing BJU millions. Still BJU did not cave. BJU appealed all the way to the Supreme Court where they lost there, going down fighting, cause celebre for the newly-organized evangelical right across America.
Unlike Bob Jones University, WCG headquarters in Pasadena, which would have received the same IRS inquiry at the same time as and in practically the identical situation as Bob Jones University on this issue, did cave and got in compliance. This is why the timing, and why this true reason was never told to the membership. It never was about growing in the truth of God or acknowledging and repenting of harm done to the souls of God's creation by racism. It was about the legal threat, and a choice at some level in the upper echelons of headquarters (however it was explained to HWA), a cost-benefit financial calculation, to obey the mandate of a godless state demanding an end to racism, over the law of "God", quote unquote, understood to divinely ordain exclusion of unmarried blacks out of a deep, primal fear in some quarters at headquarters that such would inevitably lead to the existential horrors of interracial dating and marriage, aka contamination of the white race.
In 2000 Bob Jones III, president of Bob Jones University, explained on the Larry King show that the policy against interracial dating had ended the very day of that interview, never had been a big deal to anyone, and had been misrepresented in the press. Read that amazing interview here (so many parallels to AC): http://www.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0003/03/lkl.00.html
Certainly one of the admirable features of the GCI transformation, other issues aside, was coming to terms directly with and repudiation of this past history of racism at AC. Perhaps one day the vision of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech will come true worldwide in reality: a world in which all people of all colors are part of our common human family.The Chicago Southside congregation recently celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Chicago church was predominantly African American and this is the video referred to in the rest of Greg's post below.
AC and race
Thank you very much Ken (4904). Based on the "Chicago South Side Congregation Documentary" the start of admissions of African American unmarried students began at AC Pasadena in 1970-1971, a year earlier than I had thought. But it was caused by the IRS ruling of 1970 removing tax-exempt status from church-related schools which had racist admissions policies.
At 12:56f in the documentary Ron Washington recalls, "In 1970, the summer, late July, I was at work in Albany, and I got a phone call from Mr. Jackson, and he said 'Ron,' he said, 'they've just opened Ambassador College for African Americans, single.' He said, 'I'd like to have you apply...'"
Note the timing: only ca. 4-5 weeks before the beginning of that academic year! A decision was suddenly made at headquarters--for the first time ever in the church's history--to allow unmarried African Americans to AC Pasadena to apply for an academic year just about to begin. And phone calls were being made to get some African Americans in, fast. In the documentary Willard High, part of the same entering freshman class as Ron Washington according to the 1971 Envoy, recounts that five unmarried African-American men and five African-American women were admitted that year (1970-71).
Why the last-minute timing and the rush? Had years of pangs of conscience reached a tipping point in humble, spirit-led deliberations at headquarters, and after heartfelt prayer the headquarters ministry had come to see that a shameful policy should be ended, because it was the right thing to do?
No, it was the godless IRS ruling. Note the timing: "in July 1970, the I.R.S. concluded that it could 'no longer legally justify allowing tax-exempt status to private schools which practice racial discrimination'" (http://www.nytimes.com/1983/05/25/us/excerpts-from-opinion-and-dissent-on-tax-status-of-schools.html).
Evidently, AC officialdom at Pasadena did not wait for the IRS to come calling directly before reacting with a hurried attempt to get in compliance at the last minute at Pasadena. The next year, 1971-72, the same policy was up and running at Big Sandy in a more orderly and timely manner. At Bricket Wood I continue to believe it is accurate that unmarried African-Americans/Africans were refused admission throughout the entire history of that campus from start to finish in 1974, notwithstanding 4902. I checked the 1969 Envoy and I see no black faces in the 1968-69 senior class or in any other class at Bricket Wood. I do see a senior woman that year identified as from India who looks Indian, Grace Clements. So technically Bricket Wood was not 100% white. But in the old South African tripartite division of white, colored, and black, Ms. Clements would not be regarded as black, simply because she was not white.
Until ca. 2005, all those years, I had just assumed that the racist admissions policy at AC had ended because church officials had come to see that it was wrong and ended it for that reason. I did not realize all those years, until I accidentally read about the Bob Jones University case, that the true reason was far less noble: it was the IRS ruling. I did not even realize until ca. 2005 that the changes in the US Ambassador campus policies never even happened at Bricket Wood. What does it feel like to be excluded, not included? Here is an email exchange of ca. 2005 with fellow student Murdock Gibbs (today a GCI elder) that brought this home to me:
The "Chicago South Side Congregation Documentary" (25 mins.) is really worth viewing.