Bigotry and Denial
Lovett School, an all-white private school in Atlanta, had a long association with the Episcopal Church. The strong ties with the Church were guaranteed by the school’s charter, which stated that two-thirds of the board of trustees had to be Episcopalians and an Episcopal priest has traditionally been employed as the headmaster. On February 2, 1954, the school merged with the Cathedral of St. Philip, and in doing so the Lovett School passed all of its property to the control of the Cathedral.
The daughter of the Rev. John Morris, founder of ESCRU, attended Lovett, and it was on Morris’ suggestion that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta, submitted an application for their son, Martin Luther King III, in the spring of 1963. The school rejected the application based on unanimously adopted resolutions denying the applications of African American students. The school quickly became embroiled in controversial protest. The Rev. James McDowell resigned as headmaster in June of 1963. As an Episcopal priest in favor of open churches and schools, he could not support the actions of the Lovett School and severed his association with the school.