University of Georgia Has Mounted an Oral History Project of Early Black Students

In 2017 Charlayne Hunter-Gault, one of the first students to integrate the University of Georgia, and her husband made a donation to the university to establish the Giving Voice to the Voiceless endowment at the university. The endowment provides grants to members of the university community to promote social justice and global understanding.

A grant from the fund is supporting an ongoing oral history project to document the experiences of early Black students at the university. The Black Alumni Oral History Project is directed by Steven Armour, a librarian at the university’s Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

While some of the recollections are memories of forging new paths, other stories reflect a continued culture change on campus with stories of racism, bias, and protests in classrooms, dorms and around campus. All the interviews focus on student life: where the students lived, what groups were they involved with like the Black Student Union and the many struggles they faced with being among the first Black students on campus.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault along with Hamilton Holmes were the first two African American students to enroll at the University of Georgia in 1961. She graduated in 1963 and worked for The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, National Public Radio, and CNN. She is the author of several books including In My Place (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1992) and To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement (Flashpoint, 2012).

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