As Jerry Falwell is remembered this week, I am sure that someone will bring up his suspicions of the civil rights movement during the 1960s. Among other things, he seems to have believed some of the rumors about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Communist Party circulating in the South.

No man completely transcends his time and place. Falwell was a white Southerner during a time of momentous changes. Changes so profound that those of us from farther north perhaps cannot fathom the dislocation felt by those who went through them in Dixie.

But, a man should be judged by the legacy he leaves from over a lifetime of work. Falwell's most lasting legacy is Liberty University. According the the official website of the school, of its 9,558 residential students in 2005-2006, 79% were white and 10% were African American. Of the distance learning students, 69% were white and 17% African American. Liberty would not appear to qualify as a racist institution.

And speaking of hate, would you rather be a conservative speaker at Columbia or Harvard, or a liberal speaker at Liberty U.? Which audience do you think would behave most respectfully toward you?

I am not a Falwell fan on all counts, but give the man his due.

Earlier posts here and here.