Combustible/Burn – Act One

Reading Combustible/Burn has been extremely insightful, especially as a Mercer University student. Applying to Mercer, I knew nothing about the school. The only “monumental” information that I could find about the university was about the brutal killing of a law student. It is very rare that this information will be given upon the Internet, and definitely not through the student led tours. I believe that as an African American student, it is important for us to realize the change that has come upon this campus. Many of my friends (African/African American) have expressed their disgust of how some things represent the assimilation of what’s considered acceptable – “white ways”. In the second act of Combustible/Burn Dr. Silver presents the history of “rabble rousers”, who felt the need to take a stand against things they did not agree with (Silver 81).

The admission of Sam Oni was quite controversial amongst the city of Macon as well as the community of Mercer. Being the Baptist institution that is was at the time, they accepted the traditions of the Baptist denomination, which ultimately meant, no racial mixing. Those who did see that his acceptance was to be accepted were deemed as “nigger lovers”(65). It is true that Sam did bring Mercer face to face with the “Christian ethic” of equality (88). Many helped paved the way for Sam, but it was Mercer that took a large stand that was unknown amongst private Georgia universities or Georgia at all.

Although, we are still fighting to make people “accept the dance”of liberation and freedom, it is important for us as human beings and citizens to not let the urge to change the mindset of others to subside (XI). It is way past due. We must inherit the resiliency of Bryan Mac, the “Bryanites”, Sam Oni, and various other people. Are we willing to be the trouble makers that fight like Furman York? I understand why there are still angers amongst few black students on Mercer’s campus. The way they see it is, “there is no such thing as closure… where are the eviednces of repentance at Mercer or in Macon (129). Combustible/Burn is quite the interesting read because it analyzes Mercer’s history of the color barrier, and causes readers to really think about how much of a difference has been made.


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