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CIU Celebrates First Black Student

8:51 PM, Feb 7, 2013   |    comments
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Dr. Peter Spencer

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- It was a chilly and deary day on Thursday on campus at Columbia International University, but inside Shortess Chapel there was a celebration.

"Fifty years ago I first entered the hallowed walls of this institution, having being invited by Dr. G. Allen Fleece, the former president of this institution to enroll as a student," said Dr. Peter Spencer.

Spencer was the first Black student to be admitted into what was then Columbia Bible College, breaking the color barrier in 1963.

"For a period of about a year, I was the only student of color among the student body," said Spencer.

Spencer is from Jamaica, he said he felt at home on campus of the school, but outside of the university walls he said it was not always very pleasant.

In his speech during chapel on Thursday, Spencer recalled one event when he went out to eat with some of his white classmates.

Spencer said, "The attendant said to me, 'We don't serve your kind here,' and he refused to take my order, I felt humiliated and insulted"

Five decades later, Columbia International University took the time to celebrate Dr. Spencer and his achievements.

Students we spoke to, appreciate the efforts of Dr. Spencer during a time of segregation.

"I am grateful, it gives me an opportunity to be here today, if it were not for him," said Ricki Blakeney, Vice President of the African-American Student Association at CIU.

Other students were also grateful to hear of the struggles and successes of the first Black student on the Christian school campus.

William Jones, President of the African-American Student Association at CIU said, "I hope that we truly not just hear with our ears, but also hear with our hearts what he shared."

Even though it may not have been easy for Spencer to make a way for students like Jones and Blakeney, he is thankful for the opportunity to be a trailblazer.

Spencer said, "These experiences were allowed by God to mold me and to make me strong to face the challenges of life, so I am grateful."


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