Mercer’s first black student, white roommate speak at Founders’ Day


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Mercer’s first black student, Sam Oni, reunited with his white college roommate, Don Baxter, to deliver a message of racial reconciliation at the annual Founders’ Day convocation Wednesday morning in Willingham Auditorium.

The two Mercer graduates spoke to a packed crowd of students and faculty in an address titled “Healing Hands of Time,” which recounted their individual experiences of Mercer’s integration during the civil rights movement.

Oni, who was admitted to Mercer in 1963, said the event was an opportunity for Mercer students to understand the power of forgiveness as a way to heal the wounds of past racial injustices.

“Who am I to withhold grace from my fellow brothers and sisters?,” Oni said.

SGA Senator-at-Large Jordan Locke helped organized the event. Locke called the address a “captivating” and “powerful” example of Mercer’s ability to unite people from diverse backgrounds.

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Photos by Noah Maier/The Cluster.