University Of Georgia, University Of Michigan, Graduate Student discussed on Perspectives
Fences early. Is my story and respectfully, I suggested my story is both, so your story, we both grew up in those rich days of legal racial discrimination. That assigned us to the back of the buff colored water fountain schools, for colored children. Dr early admission and graduation from this university in nineteen sixty two was a major victory in the protracted struggle that ultimately, shattered decades of defacto, and did you racial segregation in America? Dr early. Thank you ball, your courage, you intelligence and your determination. Thank you for your unwavering, faith, perseverance and quiet dignity. It is with an abundant amount of Georgia bulldog, pride, that we welcome. Mary Francis early two perspectives. Mary Francis early. It is such a pleasure to sit and talk with you one bulldog, alum to the other. It's a pleasure to talk with you, another alum. How did you learn that university planned to honor you this way? I had a visit from the Dana college of education, and the trip the assistant to the president. They came to my home turned on the phone call to president. And we were he was on speakerphone. And that's how I found out. It was a real shock completely. I had no idea. But what an honor now when most people think about the integration of the university of Georgia. The first two names that come to mind are of Hamilton homes. Dr home, late Docker homes, and Charlene hunter, who were the first to integrate the university in nineteen sixty one but with your degree in nineteen sixty two you're the first graduate. How did that happen? Well, actually, I enter it, I'm up five months after them. But the reason was they were they were Turner student, turn a high students here in Atlanta, and I was in the first class of China. A high school I wanted to assist them because they were fellow Turner rights. And I didn't think that the university was treating them properly, I thought they should have been protected at the riot. And when I saw the riot, I said, they can't do that. I'm going to transfer from university of Michigan and go to Georgia. Now why were you student university of Michigan? Well, I wanted to improve my skill set, and I was working on my master's in music education there. Were you easily admitted to the university of Georgia? No. No, it was a trial. But. I was ready for it because I wanted I had wanted to do something in the, the city of Atlanta in terms of civil rights, and I couldn't figure out what I could do. Because I knew I couldn't pick it. I couldn't do sit ins I would have been fired. So I decided I can go to school. And that's how I decided that transfer from university. I had spent two years to two summers at the university of Michigan. And part of the admissions process university of Georgia included an interview that it took a minute to schedule. And you just decided that iming in can you tell us about that? Yes, it was a requirement, although I don't believe it. I don't believe they interviewed all with students who came, but at any rate, they said that it was a requirement. So just he'll by the way, was my mentor. He sort of led me through the process of what I'd have to do to get in, because he had helped Charlene Hamilton, of course, and I had not heard from them. I had sent my transcripts had been Santana. I had done the application, nothing came from them. So I decided, I'm going to write and let them know Albie down on our school systems, spring break, and I essentially scheduled the conference myself, did it go. Well. It depends on which side you're on. I was asked some very insulting questions. But I knew that Danner who was the registrar was trying to go into a confrontation perhaps. And I refused to do it, but I was seating on the inside mainly because he asked if I'd ever been in the house of prostitution and I said to him. No, I'm a professional I have no need of a house of prostitution on interest. And then he said, well, you know, you've gone to the university of Michigan. You probably ought to stay there because we don't have to accept your credits. And I thought university of Michigan is one of the top ten universities in the nation and you're not going to accept my credits. I didn't say that. I thought it and I said to him. Well, what I have learned I will always no, I will not lose anything. Once you were committed did you live on campus. I did I lived in the same room then Charlaine had just fake aided, she'd gone home for the actually. She didn't go home. She went to the times, I think, to do an internship, and it was the room that I saw on television that had rocks thrown a windows broken right on the street on Lumpkin street. And I thought, how could they put her in this room foldable to everything, but they wanted to keep this the dorm segregated because all the rest of the students lived upstairs, and it wasn't really a dorm room. It was a counselor sweet. I think and but I stayed I was a graduate student, and that was a freshman, dorm. You were in Myers Myers hall Myers hall. That's correct. What was your on campus experience? Like as a graduate student, similar Charlene's experience, very similar. I thought that graduate students than I would be sunny with would have been more mature that they would have been more tolerant, but such was not the case they satisfied away from me as a could I went to the I guess it was the egg auditorium to take the GRE exam because university of Michigan did not require it. But Georgia did and they were so busy. Examining my character till they didn't really know that. I would they didn't know that I had not taken it. So I went and sat down and everybody on that role got up and moved. And I was that was really sort of earthshaking to me because I was about to take a very difficult exam that I never taken before. And these students were. Acting and they will all graduate students they have to be to take GRE, but it was a, it was a very lonely summer because it was so they wanted to pretend that you weren't there. That had been very hard on you emotionally. It was I was twenty four years of age when I arrived, but three days later, I turned twenty five and I thought why. But when I went, I thought, you know, I can take anything that they shall out, but I didn't realize that as a human being one feels though, slights and one feels the isolation that they try to make you feel but I was determined that I was not going to show any of that. And the one thing that I remember the first day I was going to class. We wore dresses and skirts back then no shorts jeans like today, and I was wearing dress that had to be zipped up at the back and there was nobody, of course asked. Is it up for me? So I had to go across the lobby to the house, mother's room and ask her the zip mattress. But you know this is really being alone. But that was the main thing, the first I was just very lonely. Tell me about may March may March was a graduate student, and I don't know who made the arrangements, but she met me at the local dentist's office, and she lists go with me to registration. I didn't know her, but she was an art student. She was getting her degree that summer and she volunteered, I guess, to go with me registration, which was really very courageous for her because the students had done, I guess you call it a resolution saying that they would not, they would not associate with any of us because we were not there to get an education, we would there to upset the campus with that was not true, but May- met me at the, the dentist's office. And we went registration and as we approached the, the registration line, it was Stegman's Jim then. Coliseum. Now all the students who are in line that snaked out the door stopped talking and started looking at us. And I think that was the scariest moment I had on campus. I didn't know what would happen nothing did, but they stared down, and we just kept talking, but may also found out that I was having my twenty fifth birthday two days later, and I think she was responsible for meeting, the campus minister, Corky king. No, that I was there. And I was really across the street from the Westminster house and they threw a birthday party for me surprise birthday party. I don't know. I guess she must have told them, but that was one of the nicest things that happened while it was on campus at probably the one thing that makes you feel very well. It did it did. Did you have any African Americans support outside of campus considering the experience on campus was so lonely? Well, the, the local dentists and I talked about I'm trying to remember his name he was he was he had an office in Atlanta and in Athens. And he had actually come to my home in Atlanta before I came to campus and told me a little bit about Athens about what he was doing there and he was he was very friendly. He invited me to go to dinner with, with him the night that I was when I first got there, but I fell asleep and didn't get to go, but I could go to his office, or I could go to kill aliens restaurant, which was the only restaurant, I don't know if it was there when you were there, but it was on broad street, and that was a home, where Hamilton homes resided during his whole tenure at university of Georgia, and I could get so food and hence my talk with and someone's eat with. So there was support. But, you know, the, the citizens of Athens were very isolated. Themselves, that is there was a white Athens. And there was a black Athens, and it was almost zone, never the twain, shall meet. And you went back for a second postgraduate degree after you earned your master's wine. I went back and people often, ask me, why don't you go back when you know you weren't treated all that nicely. And I said, well, there was still too few blacks, and I was really people. Call me an unlikely candidate for civil rights activists. And I was I was very quiet but I was a good student. And I knew that, that was the one thing I could do rather than pick it or sit in. But I served there still weren't that many white blacks on campus and I thought, I'll go back and get my specialist degree. So I was here from sixty four through.