Bomb Explodes at Bluefield State College

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
November 13, 1968

Bricks Thrown, Threats Made To BSC Officials

Bluefield State College President Wendell G. Hardway confirmed Tuesday that a so-called "Black Power" group has been sending death threats, staging disorders in the cafeteria, smashing windows and slashing tires on the college campus.

Hardway said he had hoped to minimize or eliminate the trouble by avoiding publicity on the latest developments on the troubled campus, but the tactic hasn't worked.

In the past few days, Hardway said:

- Death threats have been mailed to him, to three other college officials, and the campus security guard.

- Two bricks were hurled through his and Mrs. Hardway's bedroom window in the President's home on the campus early Saturday, and several more struck the side of his home.

- About 20 students took trays of food in the cafeteria and dumped them onto tables and the floor Thursday and repeated the action Friday. On Friday he said an unidentified person threw tartar sauce onto his back in the cafeteria.

- Several windows in Dean Richard A. Brown's home on Church street were broken out Saturday.

- Tires of four cars, including a vehicle belonging to the campus security guard, were slashed.

- Telephoned bomb threats have become almost a routine occurrence. Hardway said buildings are emptied and searched when the caller identifies a particular building.

Routine acts of violence and vandalism have been occurring on the campus for several months, although never with such frequency as recently, he said.

Breaking windows is a routine activity. Last month someone poured an inflammable fluid on the Student Center office door of financial aid officer and student union director Jack Nestor and set if afire.

He said the Faculty Committee on Student Affairs now is considering the cases of several students who were accused of throwing food in the cafeteria, but had not yet returned a decision to him.

Hardway said the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the mailed death threats, which were sent to him, Nestor, Business Manager Ed Gross, cafeteria director Mrs. Clara Boardwine and Lloyd Davis, the campus security officer.

Hardway said a typical letter contained such statements as "Your time is up...You will die soon...We will settle for a bullet in the head."

They were signed: "Black Power."

The president said several Negro students have for the past several days been wearing books of paper matches on their lapels or tied around their necks. On the books is written "EOW."

"I don't know what that is supposed to mean," Hardway said, "But the rumor on the campus is that it means they intend to burn down the campus by the 'end of the week.'"

"This is a sad and ugly thing," he said. "We knew who we were fighting before. This is more like guerilla warfare."

Bluefield State made headlines across the state last fall when Hardway suspended 10 BSC students following a riotous outbreak at the homecoming football game at Mitchell Stadiu,. The suspensions subsequently were upheld in a federal district court hearing before Judge Sidney L. Christie and confirmed on an appeal by the NAACP to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va.

The campus had remained relatively serene following the federal court decision last spring until recent weeks.

Recently a small group of students presented a list of 34 demands to Hardway, the first of which was a demand for a new president and the replacement of several present faculty and administration members.


West Virginia Archives and History