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Rescheduled Black History Month event to feature one of first Black students at ACU


Billy Curl in 2012

Dr. Billy Curl will speak April 28 about his experience as one of the first two Black undergraduate students to integrate Abilene Christian University. The event, sponsored by ACU’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, was originally part of Black History Month in February but had to be rescheduled due to the winter storm that hit Abilene and much of Texas.

 “The Power of Story: A Conversation With Dr. Billy Curl” will now take place April 28 in Cullen Auditorium from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and will feature interviews with Curl and his great nephew, Rodney Hawkins II, an Emmy-nominated producer for CBS News. The event is free but registration is mandatory and space is limited due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Face coverings and physical distancing are encouraged.

OMA director Ryan Bowman will moderate the discussion, beginning with an interview with Curl about his life story, his ministry and his experience as one of the first two Black undergraduate students at ACU. Then, Bowman and Hawkins will discuss Hawkins’ ongoing series documenting his family history. 

“Some people are chosen to walk a path that has never been beaten,” Bowman said. “If not for that boldness and courage, the doors would not be opened for others. It’ll be great for students to see the possibility of being a solution and walking in faith. This journey is predicated upon how we use the gifts of God in our lives, and this night will be inspirational for everyone.”


Curl as a college student in the 1960s

A native of Nacogdoches, Texas, Curl attended Southwestern Christian College for two years before enrolling at Abilene Christian, where he graduated in 1964 with a degree in speech pathology. During his time in Abilene, he met and married Mary Davis Curl, his wife of more than 50 years. Curl served as a missionary in Ethiopia, for six years and has served for more than 40 years as the minister of Crenshaw Church of Christ in Los Angeles. He speaks at Christian conferences, organizations, and educational institutions around the nation. Curl also has served on various boards including on ACU’s Board of Trustees from 2003-18.

Hawkins is an Emmy-nominated journalist for CBS News. His latest news assignments include his personal journey restoring his family’s 200-year-old cemetery, investigating the murder of Ahmaud Arbery and reporting on the toll of the coronavirus pandemic. Rodney was formerly an associate producer based in New York for “CBS This Morning” and has prior experience as a digital journalist. He graduated from Howard University with a degree in journalism and a minor in political science.

Register for the event here.

— Wendy Kilmer

Apr. 16, 2021

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