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sarah sarah spurred spurts spurts this program was made possible by the station another member stations of the eastern educational television network as longtime would tune good as someone will use a very unfortunate news it's b every day students go to college young men and women black and white like a normal fact of american life but this is the university of georgia and it wasn't always that way twenty five years ago the united states supreme court handed down a decision that would change my life
i don't know if in that decision was the spark that would ignite the civil rights revolution and i would become a part of it on may seventeenth nineteen fifty four the united states supreme court handed down its landmark decision that outlawed segregation in public schools the court say that separate was no longer eat or known as brown versus the board of education that decision declared that separate schools for blacks and whites were inherently unequal clark's work for one of the underlying bases for the brown decision you know the main reason for the conservative society that school which like children were forced to go worse impulse bold statement and infuriate court said in its most important sentence in the brown decision to separate them meaning they were children from others but some were major
qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community thirty points in ways like feelings of inferiority consistent with a sense of principle that a unanimous opinion by the nation's highest court was eventually to spread to every area of public accommodation waiting rooms bathrooms restaurant store and sparks vs it took the court a year to order implementation it would take the south much longer to carry it out that decision didn't really affect me not then but seven years later the brown decision took on a very personal meaning for me on a call january morning i walk through the states to become one of the first two black students ever to attend the university of
georgia and its nearly two hundred year old history like most people i guess i had some image in my mind of other places in the south where black students had attempted to test the brown decision places where violence and even mom who had carried the day places like little rock new orleans tuscaloosa and montgomery where massive resistance was the battle plan but i couldn't do well on such images that and i like to think about that cold january morning with getting through one step into a crowd of curious white onlookers gathered as i can to register there were no breaks no jeers that would come later i don't remember being scared just apprehensive and then there's not without some apprehension that i have now come back to see what has happened to hamilton holmes my high school classmate who entered with me to the university of georgia and the other schools in the state to sixteen years after we graduated
twenty five years after brown in nineteen fifty four the year of the brown decision i was in the seventh grade my school like all the others in the state was segregated all black soul was the high school i entered next fall but my senior year no movement been made to desegregate any of the schools in georgia but that year nineteen fifty nine a group of black leaders in atlanta who had been quietly talking about desegregation came to hamilton holmes and me about the possibility of going to one of the white georgia college as we thought it was a good idea and eventually picked the university of georgia in athens after i had known since i was twelve that i wanted to be a reporter in happy the sad about the same time to be a dr jordan had a journalism school the only one in the state and it also hits a period science facilities on desegregation state policy was to paint blacks to go out of state to specialize rather than attend white schools it didn't take much explaining for us to realize that our parents pay taxes and those taxes supported the university so we had a right to its benefits for
me it was just that simple but it was very hard to imagine here was that i've owned for about captain i didn't want to be like renders that one fifth of the pioneers and for different reasons neither did the state of georgia so we applied in a routine way they said now in a routine way and fell in a routine way we went to court constance baker motley now a federal court judge was one of the lawyers who argued our case ali you are still confronting what we called massive resistance in the deep south to the implementation of the brown decision i think we filed your case of the nineteen sixties which was well five years after the court rendered its decision this resistance manifested itself andrea court proceeding and the sense that we have to
prepare for the kind of the base of tactics which were a part of a strategy to avoid implementation of the brown decision a university officials tonight for example a delay denied your admission and hamilton holmes is missions only because of your race everyone was watching for the reason that watches georgia today because it was one of the early the southern states at the latter was even then a great city and that whatever georgia did would give some indication of the kind of resistance we might expect in the deep south the legal maneuvering took a year and have happily i went off to wave they went to morehouse finally in january of nineteen sixty one years will you belittle handed down the decision we would to be admitted with lightning speed three days later that morning est comme money because way down deep
inside i was playing the water watching of the real ones watched me i wasn't scared my mother a memorial with me that once there's no i was anxious about confining a registrar who claim during the trial the race that had nothing to do with why we had previously been dramatic mission the second night explosion happened a riot right outside my door one window the riot didn't frightening even as the brakes failed to my window sending shards of glass all over my clothes all i can remember is thinking so this is how it is after the noise subsided was suspended as the dean explained far own safety no one had been hurt but my pride was hurt and i think both camp and i felt defeated i cried and grew angry by lawyers persevered appealing again to the courts and again battered by the brown decision federal judge elbert total orders readmitted william tate was dean of man at the time and saw to it that some semblance of order was maintained i'll throw them
have battled for that the integration of the universe do was inevitable it would crawl that we failed and i think i share his sentiment that that long we could be delayed that live possibility that was about i think the more we went to court the more we had our him the more of the people in except in thank you been earlier when my had more trouble if it bit later it would've been an unmistakably your came at the right time at least as violent when it not tom johnson was a journalism student in a campus reporter when he and i enter now he is president of the los angeles times and a georgia alumni the riot live remember this is
george was george and those white students were really products of our heritage for many a year in which in which segregation had been a way of life from their childhood through their public schooling their family they have been taught that the segregation was an alien desegregation some alien approach almost in i think it was it was so much of that almost and family background was coming through that night and there was a tree and there was this is anomalous summit was encouraged members are state legislature for example we're calling student leaders urging them to rebel that black
just completed two days with all of these groups no discussion has taken place really about any racial problems almost can't i think that's a significant advance what the burning issues today did not seem to be those of raise the other side and we're concerned that the present moment about trying to achieve more equality in in programs for women and i think that perhaps that's a symbol of a movement from one generation to another the black students are accepted without comment and without question i think there were plane sometime after you and that they're not black students here to sew move them sailed more than you and hamilton had a collective do you will too heavy at one they fixed it in a way they may be i did in the
sense that if they grew themselves together on this campus they are not from oil being in that regime elements they would be if they were freely in the mainland with the ultra right hamilton home at thirteen arthur came back and we get one afternoon about what we've got going and attitudes today wouldn't would come out about you know is totally wild when we started we sort of thought that it was all right to the states loopholes so that it could be the start of something in that we can perhaps change things so that you know that my kirkuk they were having an offensive prison was now say surprisingly where but i think they were coming to and there have been amazing changes in the last fifteen or twenty years we're seeing things now
is that i never thought i would see in a lifetime and hope kids go to the school is fifty percent white and they get for insuring firms that they go with indifference and that their wife or until the vikings if it's a man talking to mention they come in our house it's a natural thing ok the near terms of forgotten new contestants really good science and we can talk about prosperity as a result of our experiences that now i'm how do you say what the experience to me or the whole universe when you're there it doesn't seem to
me i think i got a good education and i think that i i can always you know made a positive contribution to the migration i think that it was natural to someone handed to me in a way i feel unfortunately i was involved in something that war memoir ways it's just a lot i think you might like to think that i contributed to and i really think that we did the university of georgia is different today instead of two black students there are about one thousand out of the student body of twenty two thousand that means that less than five percent of the students are black and a state where forty percent of the population is black on a national level more blacks are attending college than ever numbers were bad a reference a yardstick for a comparison of then and now but in many ways they don't
tell the whole story of what has happened here enjoy it it wasn't allowed to play football here with will in the plan that was the team captain this year and was elected the sphinx and explosive society and one of the last white bastions in the university i couldn't work on the newspaper or drain jackson not only works on the paper but even recruit blacks from the journalism school things haven't changed i still have a feeling that people look at black students as if i was still some time to reject the wills secondary quality nobody died here now is actually an economic thing the school didn't have a choice because the fans and it's almost like this big dollars to need assistance into that i spoke with a number of students about the problem of black and white student relations do have some whites who grew up in south georgia
who are i have an attitude that downgrades the black student on the other hand you have other students who happily why that no other friends have in the black and they come and in the kind of pressure that the white students who had black students is going well the best example i have heard about three or four months ago and dining hall mr taylor me in about three other white students to girls were black and a guy who is black and we were sitting there talking and joking and he's having a good time no the core of my i saw some guys three why does a table next to me and they were looking at me and i think they will and i could see that making common stock in order of their mouth that to me all of sudden i realize they're putting me down to it was a psycho is the whole attitude well it made me feel loved well
i don't know it frustrated they are and to me that is why they recently cello lines the problem though is that i think i really think that the confusion is will the lives they want they want to equal the odds when you separate that he always wanted to do something different and i think that's a good question because i was going to get into that it seems almost ironic to me having to get in here and insisted you know on the right to have equal access to everything i'm not putting it down but i'm just curious about the need to how you see the need for a separate our own black organization that spends of doing now that you know and it was still not a park all this institution people come to this institution to map out the rest of their lives hopefully know who they're gonna now it be with that a married have children with its setting and as a whole the
society is telling everybody is socialized to be separate economists that relies so i guess this is just the beginning of a parent is going to follow through for the rest their lives with the us there's a certain culture that we want to preserve that history want to be made aware of the way and into one that we have to stick with with allows those terms of activity despite that spins and how they feel about blacks you haven't encountered that kind of thing no lessons also want you know that in the four years of a fiscal not once i had a black professor and a few black faces the entire campus and i think that unless both black and whites to see our black professors at the helm of the play is actually giving outpouring of major dispute they won't have the troops that the universe is not as aggressively you know one half of one percent of the total
mr wynn was in a white seventeen hundred on this at you know as though it was banned i talked with president davidson about some of the concerns that the students expressed only regret these people anywhere we can live a lot closer and we know that only they benefit from an institutional we got to the highest correlation discuss how the black faculty we recruit nationally until general a fan of the four five other places within this witnesses are selling with isis how religion in greece certainly because we need to oh i guess the last thing you do is you people you keep working on you think they'll ever come attack when lacey will not be a factor one way yeah that honesty won't serve coke so i'll know
i think we are worse after a moment at the campuses and was a special way our special places in a way that the play pretty well reflect your watch most of the society worked to solve about that you have sooo challenge in any of our institutions until its original if they're not revealing experience coming back to the university authorities now than i was in the sixties as a black i am one of many now on the campus it's a bruising to the ego that to be recognized as the historic first it makes me happy to walk that baseball game where the players are black and white and only here occurred when someone's dragged out alive by black students can come here and blend into the college scene it can happen and us i don't think i'll ever be comfortable here too much happening or that but i am reconciling the
past in the beginning i couldn't imagine being a pioneer my graduation i knew what that was all about him was unable to play football i was unable to write for the school paper things we both had wanted very much but we did make a start the university is still struggling to come to grips with race but it is an established fact as long as the struggle goes into positive direction i'm optimistic but the university of georgia does not tell the whole story of what has happened in this state for that we went to atlanta where i went to high school shortly after hip and i entered the university of georgia barriers began to fall throughout the state public school desegregation come in the fall of nineteen sixty one and with that would come the desegregation of our other public facilities atlanta was the next step in georgia's progress toward equality julian bond was active in the student movement and is now a senator in the georgia legislature when you look at the
schools how they stack up on the way to the school's fit into the scheme of things this is still a racially segregated schools my children go to public schools that aren't majority black if they have one white classmate in the course of an elementary school renowned be an unusual phenomenon of white school teachers and there are black teachers teaching in an what used to be white schools but this is essentially a segregated school system the rest of the city as an integrated city black people could go where we want to be we want to stay in a hotel job opportunities are relatively open compared to other places but the school system is nearly as racially segregated nineteen seventy nine as it is it was nineteen fifty four we've been trapped in the city of the longer run a chorus dancers housing integration but you could tell from being in new york and chicago are the district of columbia or atlanta but that is a distant distant dream they go to school in office their boss
answer that's because things in their own and also to be honest we found parents who liked the follies is going to pass this is henry man u turn a high school it was a segregated all black high school in nineteen fifty four when the brown decision came down and also in nineteen fifty nine when hampton i graduated except for minimal faculty desegregation is still one hundred percent black you were here in nineteen fifty four when his decision was handed down hot new it felt that the plan i was crying that
meant that we would have better opportunities for our students and certainly it would certainly offer them an opportunity to advance and realize that down at the time they would take some campfires to feel the full effects of the court ruling but i must say that i didn't realize it would take this long what do you think would be the impact on terror white students came here i don't think it would be desirable only is it was a free choice because portions it seems to me an education is a thing that should be left out i think the cars were it's it's that sound realistic to have us crew that's all right then at the same time you say you are educating young people for life
and there's nowhere you can go wow where you will find people along one race to go get on the bus to go downtown people are mixed so why have this violence segregated with one hour ramos that's realistic so surprised to find that the attitudes of students had changed a great deal in the last twenty years or how you feel about the education uganda turner say compared with two men got in a white school in a village just as much planning as black and wiser it should be a difference between what the song that was say it secretly because if you see less education you know they turned to so its aims and when i'm personally do because we don't have as many facilities that if we have that and if we had me more facilities we can do more with them sound the
way you want to have a common interest in georgia maybe no and no fire we say ay societies better than what it used to be that i personally don't feel it is and i personally just don't feel like to do with the atmosphere and being enjoyed by go go dirty you can't get justice isn't saying that we merely by court decisions kind of it you have and your children and my grandchildren will have to fight as hard as we thought and as hard as my parents and my grandparents worked and that the only thing that would worry me is if they decided that the battle was to art was trouble is too much and they will be defeated and blacks see and they deserve to
be there's a place where i do feel comfortable it's easy to feel that way i was welcomed back with many open arms and force that feels good how much change in fact almost no movement of all my classmates from nineteen fifty nine have children here at terminal the brown decision has twenty two years ted was a longtime coming it's confusing for me to come back here twenty years ago i felt that integration was the key for all of the earth for better educational opportunities with a matter of human dignity i'm glad things that turner don't feel cheated that's the most important thing how they feel about themselves but when i look at her high school and other high schools like it still segregated i know that brown hasn't been enough that here and charlayne hunter gault anything can
happen nice nice this program was made possible by the station another member stations of the eastern educational television network it's been
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The MacNeil/Lehrer Report
A Matter of Dignity
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NewsHour Productions
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NewsHour Productions (Washington, District of Columbia)
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This special report covers the lasting impact of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling 25 years later. NewsHour correspondent Charlayne Hunter-Gault looks at how the de-segregation of public schools affected the country, including her experience as one of the first African-American students at the University of Georgia.
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Producing Organization: NewsHour Productions
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Identifier: NH-19800311 (NH Air Date)
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Generation: Preservation
Duration: 00:30:00;00
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Chicago: “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report; A Matter of Dignity,” 1979-05-11, NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 27, 2024,
MLA: “The MacNeil/Lehrer Report; A Matter of Dignity.” 1979-05-11. NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 27, 2024. <>.
APA: The MacNeil/Lehrer Report; A Matter of Dignity. Boston, MA: NewsHour Productions, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from