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We Shall Not Be Moved

We Shall Not Be Moved: The Desegregation of the University of Georgia

Robert A. Pratt
Copyright Date: 2002
Published by:
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    We Shall Not Be Moved
    Book Description:

    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.

    eISBN: 978-0-8203-2632-0
    Subjects: History, Political Science, Education

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. CHAPTER ONE More than a Matter of Segregation
    (pp. 1-26)

    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 entered World War II, blacks clearly understood, perhaps better than other Americans, that the defeat of Hitler and Mussolini would have an impact that reached far beyond the battlefields of Europe. Indeed, blacks pursued a “Double V” strategy: victory at home as well as abroad. Blacks had expressed a similar optimism in the period...

  6. CHAPTER TWO “The Color Is Black”
    (pp. 27-47)

    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 such as Sweatt and McLaurin had caused many white southerners to begin to worry about the future of segregation, prompting some state officials to take measures to prevent any subversive activities. So concerned were some white lawmakers about the activities of the NAACP and other radical organizations that occasionally the governor would ask the...

  7. CHAPTER THREE “A Qualified Negro”
    (pp. 48-66)

    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 court. “It’s ripe for a showdown,” Cook said. “If he wins, all he will do is close down the law school.” Cook was referring to sections of the Appropriations Acts, which prohibited the spending of state funds on any school unit with integrated classrooms. Cook revealed that he and...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. CHAPTER FOUR “Journey to the Horizons”
    (pp. 67-110)

    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 awakening of African Americans’ determination to be treated as first-class citizens, and it inspired an entire generation to confront the ugliness of American apartheid. Those who opposed change would meet this challenge with equal conviction, and nowhere was their determination greater than in their desire to preserve...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Tolerated, but Not Integrated
    (pp. 111-129)

    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 inspiring leadership, motivated thousands of people across the nation to combat the forces of Jim Crow. On February 1, 1960, four black freshmen from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College in Greensboro, North Carolina, staged a sit-in at an F. W. Woolworth Company store. On February 18, black students from Fisk University in Nashville,...

  11. CHAPTER SIX “Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now”
    (pp. 130-152)

    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 University, the University of Georgia was never far from his mind. When the victory finally came, Ward recalls that, in addition to experiencing the general euphoria of the moment, for the first time in his life he really understood the power of the law to right the nation’s wrongs...

  12. EPILOGUE Burying Unhappy Ghosts
    (pp. 153-160)

    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 medical degree from Emory University, the first black person to do so, and had a successful orthopedics practice in Atlanta. Charlayne Hunter-Gault had worked as a journalist for the New York Times for ten years before joining PBS’s MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour, where she would work for twenty years as an anchor and news correspondent....

  13. Notes
    (pp. 161-188)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 189-198)
  15. Index
    (pp. 199-205)