Ground Crew: The Fight to End Segregation at Georgia State
The Hunt v. Arnold decision of 1959 against the state of Georgia marked a watershed moment in the fight against segregation in higher education. Though the Supreme Court declared school segregation illegal in its 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, Georgia was among many southern states that refused to abide by the Court’s ruling. In 1956, the Georgia State College of Business (now Georgia State University) denied admission to nine black applicants. Three of those applicants-lead plaintiff Barbara Pace Hunt, Iris Mae Welch, and Myra Elliott Dinsmore-coordinated with the NAACP and local activists to win a groundbreaking lawsuit against the state of Georgia and its Board of Regents. Hunt v. Arnold became the NAACP’s first federal court victory against segregated education in Georgia, establishing key legal precedents for subsequent litigation against racial discrimination in education.
With Ground Crew, Maurice Daniels provides an intimate and detailed account that chronicles a compelling story. Following their litigation against the all-white institution, Hunt, Welch, and Dinsmore confronted hardened resistance and attacks from white supremacists, including inflammatory statements by high-profile political leaders and personal threats from the Ku Klux Klan. Using archival sources, court records, collections of personal papers, news coverage, and oral histories of that era, Daniels explores in depth the plaintiffs’ courageous fight to end segregation at Georgia State. In lucid prose, Daniels sheds light on the vital role of community-based activists, local attorneys, and the NAACP in this forgotten but critical piece of the struggle to end segregation.
The Quiet Trailblazer
“The Quiet Trailblazer recounts Mary Frances Early’s life from her childhood in Atlanta, her growing interest in music, and her awakening to the injustices of racism in the Jim Crow South. Early carefully maps the road to her 1961 decision to apply to the master’s program in music education at the University of Georgia, becoming one of only three African American students. With this personal journey we are privy to her prolonged and difficult admission process; her experiences both troubling and hopeful while on the Athens campus; and her historic graduation in 1962″(UGA Press, 2021).
“Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights”
Donald L. Hollowell was Georgia’s chief civil rights attorney during the 1950s and 1960s. In this role he defended African American men accused or convicted of capital crimes in a racially hostile legal system, represented movement activists arrested for their civil rights work, and fought to undermine the laws that maintained state-sanctioned racial discrimination. In Saving the Soul of Georgia, Dr. Maurice C. Daniels tells the story of this behind the scenes yet highly influential civil rights lawyer who defended the rights of blacks and advanced the cause of social justice in the United States.
“Horace T. Ward: Desegregation of the University of Georgia, Civil Rights Advocacy, and Jurisprudence”
Horace T. Ward was the first African American to sue for admission to an all-white college or university in Georgia. His protracted lawsuit for admission to the University of Georgia School of Law, though unsuccessful, played a pivotal role in the desegregation of higher education in Georgia a decade later. Ward went on to a distinguished and precedent-setting career as a civil rights litigator, state senator, and ultimately state superior court and federal court judge–the first appointment of an African American to these judicial positions. Dr. Maurice C. Daniels not only chronicles Ward’s struggle and achievements but contextualizes them within the history of desegregation and civil rights. In meticulous scholarly detail, Daniels recounts the formative role of the NAACP and the perseverance and courage of African American students and lawyers who challenged segregation. In recounting Ward’s story and its surrounding events, Daniels has brought together an impressive array of archival materials, collections of personal papers, court records, and news coverage, along with a wealth of personal interviews by the author.