“Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights”

by Maurice C. Daniels

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, 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.

Hollowell grew up in Kansas somewhat insulated from the harsh conditions imposed by Jim Crow laws throughout the South. As a young man he served as a Buffalo Soldier in the legendary Tenth Cavalry, but it wasn’t until after he fought in World War II that he determined to become a civil rights attorney. The war was an eye-opener, as Hollowell experienced the cruel discrimination of racist segregationist policies. The irony of defending freedom abroad for the sake of preserving Jim Crow laws at home steeled his resolve to fight for civil rights upon returning from war.

From his legal work in the case of Hamilton E. Holmes and Charlayne Hunter that desegregated the University of Georgia to his defense of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to his collaboration with Thurgood Marshall and his service as the NAACP’s chief counsel in Georgia, Saving the Soul of Georgia explores the intersections of Hollowell’s work with the larger civil rights movement.

Praise for Saving the Soul of Georgia

“Donald Hollowell—a brilliant and courageous lawyer known as Georgia’s ‘Mr. Civil Rights’—has long deserved a biography to match his talents. In Saving the Soul of Georgia, this lion of the civil rights movement finally receives what he has so richly deserved. Daniels’s book is a magnificent contribution to the literature on the black freedom struggle and the local lawyers who helped sustain it.”—Tomiko Brown-Nagin, author of Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement, winner of the Bancroft Prize

“Not nearly enough has been written or is widely known about the giants on whose shoulders President Obama is fond of saying he stands. One of those giants is Donald L. Hollowell. Hollowell’s shoulders offered more than legal representation. When one of us needed reassurance or bail or defense, he was always there, day or night. Students used to sing, ‘King is our leader; Hollowell is our lawyer. And we shall not be moved.’ What my generation and the generations to come need to help us keep our eyes on the prize is a book like Saving the Soul of Georgia: Donald L. Hollowell and the Struggle for Civil Rights. It should be required reading for every teacher and student in America, so that they can know that freedom is not free and understand what it takes to bring us closer to a more perfect union.”—Charlayne Hunter-Gault, journalist and author of To The Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement

“This compelling biography of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s chief attorney in Georgia during the 1950s and 1960s delivers on the promise of its title. . . . With his close attention to court proceedings, Daniels penetrates the often-dense tangle of legal procedures . . .In [the author’s] hands, court proceedings come to life with a narrative accessible to lawyers and nonlawyers alike. . . . The inclusion of twenty-seven carefully selected photographs further brings to life one of the best biographies of the civil rights era.”—Polly J. Price, The Journal of American History


“Horace T. Ward: Desegregation of the University of Georgia, Civil Rights Advocacy, and Jurisprudence”

by Maurice C. Daniels

Horace T. Ward BookHorace T. Ward: Desegregation of the University of Georgia, Civil Rights Advocacy, and Jurisprudence tells the inspiring story of an African American man with a dream courageously pursued through years of adversity. In 1950, Horace T. Ward became the first African American to sue for admission to an all-white college or university in Georgia. His long, difficult struggle to enter the University of Georgia School of Law, though unsuccessful, played a pivotal role in the desegregation of the University a decade later. Though university officials deemed that he did not have the mind to be a lawyer, Ward went on to a precedent-setting career as a civil rights litigator, state senator, and judge, becoming the first African American state civil court, superior court, and federal district court judge in the state of Georgia.

Horace T. Ward not only chronicles Ward’s struggle and achievements but also contextualizes them within the history of desegregation and civil rights. It recounts the formative role of the NAACP and the perseverance and courage of the African American students and lawyers who challenged segregation. In recounting Ward’s story in its historical context, the book brings together an array of archival materials, collections of personal papers, court records, and news coverage, along with a wealth of personal interviews. The book presents an original and definitive history of a crucial epoch in the struggle for desegregation and civil rights.

Praise for Horace T. Ward

Ward is indeed an unrecognized trailblazer. This book places him firmly and properly in a constellation of accomplished advocates for equality who conquered Georgia’s apartheid system in the courtroom. The book is a must-read for scholars and the general public—for anyone who wants to know more about the struggle for civil rights. – Julian Bond

The book tells a fascination story that illuminates one of the great struggles of democracy in Georgia. There is something very important here for understanding today’s continuing struggles against barriers to opportunity, at the same time that tribute is paid to a truly great Georgian, Judge Ward. This is robust history at its very best. – Asa G. Hilliard, III

A clear, concise, authentic account . . . drawing on an impressive amount of archival data, court records, and first-person accounts, Daniels provides a compelling narrative of Horace T. Ward’s life and work and the long, hard struggle to desegregate the University of Georgia. The book should be valuable to scholars in disciplines such as law, history, social work, and education as well as to general readers. – Vernon E. Jordan, Jr.