We Shall Not Be Moved
The Desegregation of the University of Georgia
Publication Year: 2002
In September 1950, Horace Ward, an African American student from La Grange, Georgia, applied to law school at the University of Georgia. Despite his impressive academic record, Ward received a reply—in reality, a bribe—from one of the university's top officials offering him financial assistance if he would attend an out-of-state law school. Ward, outraged at the unfairness of the proposition and determined to end this unequal treatment, sued the state of Georgia with the help of the NAACP, becoming the first black student to challenge segregation at the University of Georgia.
Beginning with Ward's unsuccessful application to the university and equally unsuccessful suit, Robert A. Pratt offers a rigorously researched account of the tumultuous events surrounding the desegregation of Georgia's flagship institution. Relying on archival materials and oral histories, Pratt debunks the myths encircling the landmark 1961 decision to accept black students into the university: namely the notion that the University of Georgia desegregated with very little violent opposition. Pratt shows that when Ward, by then a lawyer, helped litigate for the acceptance of Hamilton Earl Holmes and Charlayne Alberta Hunter, University of Georgia students, rather than outsiders, carefully planned riots to encourage the expulsion of Holmes and Hunter. Pratt also demonstrates how local political leaders throughout the state sympathized with—even aided and abetted--the student protestors.
Pratt's provocative story of one civil rights struggle does not stop with the initial legal decision that ended segregation at the university. He also examines the legacy of Horace Ward and other civil rights pioneers involved in the university's desegregation—including Donald Hollowell and Constance Baker Motley—who continued for a lifetime to break color barriers in the South and beyond. We Shall Not Be Moved is a testament to Horace Ward, Hamilton Holmes, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, and others who bravely challenged years of legalized segregation.
Published by: University of Georgia Press
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Except for the Dred Scott decision of 1857, the most devastating judicial decision ever rendered against African Americans in the United States was perhaps the Supreme Court’s 1896 ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson. As a consequence of the Court’s legalization of “separate but equal,” constructions of...
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This book has been several years in the making, and I am indebted to many people for helping to bring it to fruition. Many of my colleagues at the University of Georgia read the manuscript in its entirety and offered suggestions for revisions, and I hope the book reflects our collective wisdom. For their insightful...
ONE: More than a Matter of Segregation
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Black Americans had reason to be hopeful about the prospects of their being accepted as equal citizens as the nation approached the beginning of the second half of the twentieth century. Although race prejudice and discrimination remained deeply embedded in American society as the United States...
TWO: “The Color Is Black”
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Horace Ward’s departure for Korea had granted university officials a temporary reprieve, but the possibility that blacks might be attending the University of Georgia in the foreseeable future was enough to ensure that the issue would be continuously debated even in Ward’s absence. Supreme Court decisions...
THREE: “A Qualified Negro” [Includes Image Plates]
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Horace Ward’s two-year stint in the military was coming to an end, and he was scheduled to be discharged in August 1955. In July, state attorney general Eugene Cook released a statement to the press disclosing that he had been informed that Ward intended to reactivate immediately his suit in federal...
FOUR: “Journey to the Horizons”
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Rosa Parks’s refusal to surrender her seat to a white passenger on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on December 1, 1955, set in motion a series of events that would eventually transform a nation. The success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership role in it, signaled an...
FIVE: Tolerated, but Not Integrated
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During the early 1960s young people throughout the South were trying to create and sustain the spirit of the civil rights movement. The success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the subsequent creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), along with Martin Luther King Jr.’s...
SIX: “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now”
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The desegregation of the University of Georgia was one of the great triumphs of Horace Ward’s career. By the time that Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter graduated in 1963, Ward had spent thirteen years of his life trying to crack segregation at uga. Even while finishing his law degree at Northwestern...
EPILOGUE: Burying Unhappy Ghosts
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As the University of Georgia prepared to celebrate its bicentennial in 1985 university officials decided to seize the opportunity to begin a reconciliation with its first black undergraduate alumni, both of whom by now had distinguished themselves in their chosen careers. Hamilton Holmes had earned a...
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Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 10 b&w photos
Publication Year: 2002