Finding Aid for University of Georgia Integration Materials 1938-1965
Until 1961 the University of Georgia, like all Georgia state institutions of higher education, was segregated by both state law and social tradition. On January 6, 1961, history was made when the state's flagship school was issued a court ruling that ordered the immediate admission of two African American teenagers, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, and set the stage for the university to be thrust into the national spotlight as it dealt with the ensuing controversy, violence - and change.
The first challenge to a segregated University of Georgia occurred during the Reconstruction era in 1866 or 1867 when a large group of African Americans confronted Chancellor Patrick Hues Mell with the demand that their sons be allowed to attend the university. P. H. Mell, Jr. recounts that Dr. Mell responded by saying "this is a white man's college and you are perfectly powerless to help yourselves." The group only dispersed after finding itself outnumbered and surrounded by heavily armed white students and residents of the town.
The first modern challenge to segregation at UGA came from Horace Ward; an African American who applied for admission to the university's law school on September 30, 1950. With this action Ward, who held a masters degree in political science from Atlanta University, began a 7 year legal battle to become the first African American to enter the University of Georgia.
The university and the State of Georgia fended off Ward's quest through aggressive delaying tactics and legal maneuvers that some, such as journalist Bill Shipp, would argue included the strange coincidence of Ward receiving a draft notice just a month before his original court date in 1953. Not easily discouraged, Ward reactivated his lawsuit upon being discharged from the military. The state and university continued to fight Ward's admission through February 12, 1957; at which time Judge Frank A. Hooper dismissed the court case. Now enrolled in Northwestern University's Law School (one of the reasons used for dismissal of his case) Ward, weary of fighting, decided against filing an appeal.
Upon graduation from Northwestern’s Law School, Ward returned to Georgia and joined the law firm of attorney Donald Hollowell; a well-known African American lawyer. In an interesting turn of history Ward, as part of Hollowell's legal team representing Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, was one of the lawyers who assisted the two Atlanta teenagers in their successful fight to become the first black students at the University of Georgia.
During fall quarter, 1960, the university avoided admitting the two African American students by employing various delaying tactics. In the meanwhile Holmes, who had plans to become a medical doctor, enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta and budding journalist Charlayne Hunter enrolled at Wayne State University in Detroit.
Finally on Friday, January 6, 1961, with the issuance of U.S. District Court Judge W. A. "Gus" Bootle's historic ruling that found that the University of Georgia had used race as the determinant in excluding Holmes and Hunter from admission, the long struggle to integrate the state’s institutions of higher education began to see light. Although on Monday, January 9, 1961, at the request of State Attorney General Eugene Cook, Bootle issued a stay of his ruling, it was quickly overruled later in the day by Judge Elbert Tuttle of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. The stage was set for the immediate admittance of Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter to UGA.
The next bit of legal maneuvering involved Judge Bootle issuing a temporary injunction that prevented Governor Ernest Vandiver, Jr. from enforcing the Georgia law mandating that state funding be cut to any university or college that integrated its student body. With that ruling the university could remain open and on Tuesday, January 10, 1961 19 year old Holmes and 18 year old Hunter were admitted as transfer students.
Accompanied by Hollowell’s law clerk, Vernon Jordan, the two reported to Registrar Walter Danner's office at 2:25 p.m. and registered for classes. As the two students registered a group of approximately 100 white students congregated outside in the corridor and shouted "Two, four, six, eight, we don't want to integrate".
Despite having to deal with heckling, protests and the presence of news reporters from around the country, the first day of integrated classes on Wednesday, January 11, 1961 was generally considered a success. The day's events had been calm enough for Charlayne Hunter’s father to say that he thought it reflected well on the people of Georgia and to be the subject of a news commentary by Chet Huntley of NBC’s “Huntley-Brinkley Report” in which he put forth the opinion that “there are places in the North now which might note and emulate the example of adult behavior set by the University of Georgia.”
The situation was soon to change, though. After a close basketball game that resulted in a loss to Georgia Tech, the atmosphere of the evening of January 11th quickly became charged as a crowd began to gather outside Charlayne Hunter's Myers Hall dormitory window. This increasingly unruly group, eventually numbering over 1000 (including many non-students), shouted racial insults, and tossed firecrackers, bottles and bricks at the dormitory window.
Georgia state troopers, positioned on the outskirts of the campus, refused to respond to Dean Joe Williams somewhat slow call for assistance; saying that they only took orders directly from the governor. The small group of local police on the scene was overwhelmed and the rioting escalated until finally broken up by the arrival of the no nonsense Dean of Men William Tate. The Dean who began confiscating student IDs was joined by additional Athens police who lobbed tear gas into the crowd.
The state troopers, arriving almost two and a half hours after they had originally been called, were too late to be of much assistance to the Athens police. The police reacted to the violence by arresting 18 people (both students and non students) while Dean Williams suspended Hunter and Holmes from school for "their personal safety" and had them driven back home to Atlanta.
Disheartened by what had happened, a group of UGA faculty drew up a bold resolution that condemned the riot and the slow response by law and university officials. Most importantly, though, the over 300 faculty members who signed the resolution demanded the immediate return of the two suspended black students, thus risking their jobs by drawing the wrath of powerful segregationists, such as Board of Regents member, Roy V. Harris.
Judge Bootle ordered the readmission of Hunter and Holmes and on January 16, 1961 the two students returned to classes. Hoping to help insure continuing peace on campus, the University's faculty decided to create a "Faculty Night Patrol" in which a number of their members were stationed around campus that evening. Thomas Brahana writes in his manuscript entitled "The Integration of the University of Georgia: a Personal Account" (found in UGA 02-013:1) that he and Sociology Professor, John Belcher, saw 4 to 6 men with rifles who did not appear to be students standing across from Myers Hall. The next day the local paper reported that the FBI had arrested four men as they loaded rifles into the trunk of a car.
Although Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter continued to be treated with open disdain by some students, mostly the two were just left alone and "tolerated". In later interviews Hunter and Holmes recalled the loneliness of having few friends or social outlets but added that they believed they had been treated fairly by their teachers and had gotten a good education while at the university.
In August of 1962 Atlanta music teacher and magna cum laude graduate of Clark College, Mary Frances Early, became the first African American to graduate from the University. With her registration in graduate school during the summer of 1961, Early was the third African American student at UGA. Although her enrollment was the source of much less drama and publicity, Early also encountered resistance and hostility from many in the university’s Administration and student body.
This electronic pathfinder provides pointers to materials found in the University of Georgia Archives that help document the struggle of African Americans to integrate the University. Most of the papers date from 1950 through the early 1960s with a few pieces going back to the 1930s and 1940s. Some of these materials have been extracted from existing collections while others have remained within their original accessions. This pathfinder includes all UGA significant integration resources currently known to exist within University Archives and will be updated if additional material is discovered.
Although there is a good deal of documentation relating to Horace Ward, the majority of the materials highlighted here address the events surrounding the actual 1961 integration of UGA by Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes. In addition a smattering of materials pertaining to Mary Frances Early, the first African American to graduate from UGA, are found within these collections.
"The Alton Hosch Papers" (UGA 97-090 : Extract 1-2) are extracted from the papers of J. Alton Hosch who served as the Dean of UGA’s Law School for 29 years and was a major participant in Horace Ward's unsuccessful 7 year long struggle to attend UGA and its law school. The papers in this collection include legal documents, correspondence, copies of the Georgia segregation laws and news clippings. The Hosch Papers reveal a good deal of information about the actions of the university and the State of Georgia in regards to Ward’s case (and a small amount of information about the 1961 Holmes/Hunter Case).
A single folder found in the "The Louis Griffith/Dyar Massey Papers" (UGA 97-085:25) addresses the controversy caused by an editorial in the Red and Black calling for Horace Ward’s admission to UGA. Also see the "Bill Shipp Papers 1980-2002" located in the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies for additional information.
The "Walter Danner Integration Papers" (UGA 97-116:5-7) consists of three boxes of the Registrar’s papers with most of the material dealing with the 1961 integration of the university. This collection has a varied group of documents including correspondence, newspaper clippings, court documents, essays, surveillance reports and the original signed Faculty Petition.
The "Scrapbook on the Integration of the University of Georgia - September 9, 1960 - January 21, 1961 (Paul R. Kea)" (UGA 97-129.132) contains a scrapbook compiled by Betty Kea; the wife of Paul R. Kea. Paul Kea, the Assistant Director of Admissions at the University of Georgia during the early 1960s, was served the first subpoena by Federal marshalls on September 9, 1960 and played an important role in the integration of the school.
"Dr. Thomas Brahana's History of Mathematics and Personal Account of UGA's Integration, 1961" (UGA 02-013:1) includes his personal account of the 1961 integration of UGA. Dr. Thomas Brahana was one of the organizers of the Faculty Petition and a participant in the Faculty Patrol of campus.
"Dean Tate's Integration at UGA Files, 1961-1963" (UGA 00-016:1-3) highlights events surrounding the actual integration of the University in 1961. The numerous newspaper clippings and pieces of correspondence in this collection are of particular interest since they serve to document Dean William Tate's leadership abilities amidst the often chaotic events of January 1961. These papers also document the abuse and support the Dean received for his actions.
Although a few of the documents found in the UGA President "O. C. Aderhold Papers" (UGA 97-100:73-77) date back to 1941 and the "Cocking Affair" most of the materials deal with the issues and events surrounding the actual integration of UGA in 1961. This collection of correspondence (including a Western Union telegram from John Kennedy), newspaper clippings and legal documents serve to show how President Aderhold and his administration dealt with the “integration crisis”
"The Edith L. Stallings and Louise McBee (Dean Of Women 1947-1974) Papers" (UGA97-119:2) includes correspondence, court documents and newspaper clippings that help shed light on Dean Stallings and her role in the 1961 integration of the University of Georgia.
"Demosthenian Society - Robert C. Owen 1984" (UGA 97-119:2) consists of Owen's undergraduate honor's thesis entitled A Collage of Counterrevolution: Debate on the Race Question in the Demosthenian Literary Society, 1950-1964.
"Dean WilliamTate Interviewed On 1961 Integration And Walter Cocking Affair, 1976 " (UGA 07-013:1) contains Tate's personal account of the 1961 integration of UGA and his memories of the 1941 Walter Cocking Affair.
"Donald Jackson Daniel Integration Letter 1961" (UGA 08-013:1) consists of a letter written by then UGA student Donald J. Daniel to his parents along with a 2008 newspaper column.
"40th Anniversary of UGA's Desegregation" [Poster 2001] (UGA 08-020:1) promotes the 40th anniversary program which celebrated the desegregation of the University of Georgia.
For preservation purposes materials noted within this pathfinder have been refoldered. Metal paperclips have been removed, photographs were placed in archival sleeves and newspaper articles along with fragile paper documents have been photocopied onto archival quality paper. As listed in the "Content Inventory" original newspaper clippings have been separated from the photocopies and placed in separate folders.
Selected Books, Theses and Other Resources That Deal With the Integration of the University of Georgia
Cohen, Robert 1996. "Two, Four, Six Eight, We Don't Want to Integrate": White Student Attitudes Toward the University of Georgia's Desegregation. The Georgia Historical Quarterly. Vol. LXXX (3): 616-645.
Daniels, Maurice C. Horace T. Ward: Desegration of the University of Georgia, Civil Rights Advocacy, and Jurisprudence. Atlanta, Ga: Clark Atlanta University Press, 2001.
Dyer, Thomas G. The University of Georgia: A Bicentennial History, 1785-1985. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1985.
English, John W. and Rob Williams. When Men Were Boys: An Informal Portrait of Dean William Tate. Lakemont, Ga: Copple House Books, 1984.
Hollowell, Louise and Martin C. Lehfeldt. The Sacred Call: A Tribute to Donald Hollowell, Civil Rights Champion. Winter Park, Fl : Four-G Pub., 1997.
Hunter-Gault, Charlayne. In My Place. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1992.
Mell, P. H., Jr. Life of Patrick Hues Mell By His Son. Louisville, Ky: Baptist Book Concern, 1895.
Montgomery, Horace. “Origin of the University of Georgia Faculty Resolutions of January 12, 1961.” Negro History Bulletin, Vol 25(7), 1961, pp 157-158.
Motley, Constance Baker. Equal Justice – Under Law : An Autobiography. New York: Farrar, Staus and Giroux, 1998.
Owen, Robert C. A Collage of Counterrevolution : Debate on the Race Question in the Desmosthian Literary Society, 1950-1964. Honors thesis (B.A.) – University of Georgia, 1984. Located in the University of Georgia Archives.
Pratt, Robert A. We Shall Not Be Moved : The Desegregation of the University of Georgia. Athens, Ga : University of Georgia Press, 2002.
“The Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies – Foot Soldier Project.” http://footsoldier.uga.edu/. Russell Library has many collections of interest but the "Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies" is particularly relevant to the topic of integration at UGA.
Trillin, Calvin. An Education in Georgia; The Integration of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes. New York, Viking Press, 1964.
Trillin, Calvin. An Education in Georgia; The Integration of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes. London, V. Gollancz, 1964.
Trillin, Calvin. An Education in Georgia : Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes, and the Integration of Georgia. Athens : Brown Thrasher Books : University of Georgia Press, 1991.
“The Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection.” http://www.libs.uga.edu/media/. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives contains WSB newsfilm of the integration of the University of Georgia, a 1977 interview with Hamilton Holmes and over 30 television and radio programs featuring Charlayne Hunter-Gault.
Website Created for the “40th Anniversary of UGA’s Desegregation: University Of Georgia – January 9, 2001. http://www.uga.edu/news/desegregation/.
Williams, Herbert Pierce. The Desegration of the University of Georgia : Why the Peace Was Kept. Thesis (M.A.) – University of Georgia, 1993.
List Compiled By Steven A. Brown 2001 – 2003.
Processed by Carol Bishop, April 2006.