The following people played key roles during the period of UGA's desegregation. For more detailed biographies, see The Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies or The New Georgia Encyclopedia.
Aderhold, a UGA alumnus and former dean of the College of Education, served as president of the University of Georgia from 1950 to 1967, a period in which enrollment nearly doubled. During the desegregation of the university, he urged the state’s political leaders to keep the institution open. After his presidency he became a consultant for the Southern Regional Education Board. He died in Athens on July 4, 1969.
Judge Bootle, a former dean of the Mercer Law School, was appointed to the federal bench in Georgia in 1954 by President Eisenhower. After five days of hearings in the case of Holmes v. Danner, he issued a 28-page ruling on Jan. 6, 1961 that Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter were entitled to immediate admission to the University of Georgia. On Monday, Jan. 9, in response to a motion from state Attorney General Eugene Cook, he issued a stay of that ruling – but the stay was overruled the same day by Judge Elbert Tuttle. Judge Bootle died Jan. 25, 2005 at the age of 102.
Caldwell, a UGA alumnus, taught law at Emory and UGA, and was dean of UGA’s School of Law. At age 36, he became the university’s youngest president, serving from 1935 until 1948. Caldwell then became chancellor of the University System of Georgia, a position he held until he retired in 1964. Caldwell died in 1977.
Danner was the registrar for the University of Georgia in 1961 and thus was named in the admissions lawsuit (Holmes v. Danner). Danner interviewed Hamilton Holmes at one point in the application process and reported he found Holmes’ answers to his questions "evasive" and "immoral." It was pointed out in court that these were the same adjectives he had used to describe Horace Ward’s answers when Ward had applied for admission.
Mary Frances Early
The first African American to receive a degree from the University of Georgia, she enrolled as a graduate student after the court-ordered desegregation. She received her master’s degree in music education on Aug. 21, 1962 and went on to a distinguished career as a music educator and administrator in the Atlanta public school system. Like Holmes and Hunter, she was a graduate of Turner High School in Atlanta, where she was valedictorian.
A native of Kansas, Hollowell became Georgia’s foremost civil rights attorney during the 1950s and 1960s, helping bring dramatic changes to race relations in the state. In addition to Horace Ward, Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter, his clients included Martin Luther King Jr., Julian Bond and others in the Civil Rights Movement. The civil rights pioneer died of heart failure on Dec. 27, 2004
Holmes graduated from UGA in 1963, with a bachelor’s degrees in science. Following graduation, he became the first African-American student admitted to the Emory University School of Medicine. At the time of his death on Oct. 26, 1995, he was an orthopedic surgeon in Atlanta, associate dean and a member of the faculty of Emory University School of Medicine, and chairman of the orthopedic unit at Grady Memorial Hospital.
Hunter-Gault received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UGA in 1963. She wrote for The New York Times for eight years and then was long associated with PBS’s MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour. Following an assignment as chief Africa correspondent for National Public Radio, she accepted a position as CNN’s bureau chief and correspondent in Johannesburg. Her numerous awards for reporting include two Peabody Awards for her coverage of Africa. Her memoir, In My Place, was published in 1992.
A native of Atlanta, Jordan clerked for Donald Hollowell’s law firm following graduation from Howard University’s School of Law. He later was field secretary for the Georgia NAACP, director of the Voter Education Project, and president of the United Negro College Fund and the National Urban League. A partner in a prestigious Washington law firm, he headed President Clinton’s transition team.
Constance Baker Motley
Motley received her law degree from Columbia University in 1946. The previous year, Thurgood Marshall hired her as a member of the small staff of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. After 20 years with the Inc. Fund (as it was known), she served one term as a member of the New York Senate. She was appointed to the U.S. District Court in New York in 1966 and became its Chief Judge in 1982. Judge Motley died on Sept. 28, 2005.
Sanders, a UGA alumnus, was president pro tempore of the senate during the session of the Georgia General Assembly that convened in January 1961 and had to deal with the issue of whether state funds would be cut off to the University of Georgia due to the admission of Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter. He was subsequently elected governor in 1962.
George T. Smith
Smith, a UGA alumnus, was speaker of the house during the session of the Georgia General Assembly that convened in January 1961. He believed, with Carl Sanders, that the legislature would do everything possible to keep the University of Georgia open despite the General Appropriations Act of 1956 that said only racially segregated units in the university system could receive state funds. Smith later served as lieutenant governor, and a member of the Georgia Court of Appeals and the Georgia Supreme Court. He died Aug. 23, 2010 at age 93.
Tate, a UGA alumnus and dean of men in 1961, played a significant role in quieting campus protests during the desegregation of the university. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, he again exercised a moderating influence in tense times as students protested the Vietnam War. He retired in 1971 and died in 1980. The Tate Student Center, dedicated in 1983, is named for him.
As a Time magazine reporter in 1961, Trillin covered the court fight that led to the admission of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes to the University of Georgia and followed their first week on campus. He returned to Georgia shortly before their graduation in 1963 to find out what their college lives had been like, then chronicled the story in An Education in Georgia. Trillin has been a columnist for Time, The New Yorker and The Nation.
Born in Southern California and raised in Hawaii, Tuttle received his law degree from Cornell. He was well-respected in Atlanta, where he was president of the Bar Association and Chamber of Commerce. He became a federal judge in 1954 when he was named to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta. He was serving as Chief Judge in 1961 when he overruled Judge Bootle’s stay of the order to admit Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter to the University of Georgia. He later served on the appeals panel for the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals until his death in June 1996, a month before his 99th birthday.
Vandiver, a UGA alumnus, was elected governor of Georgia in 1958 on a platform of fiscal conservatism and steadfast resistance to desegregation. Having vowed to defend the state’s segregated social system at all costs, Vandiver nevertheless concluded that the state could not close its schools to avoid desegregation. Because of his decision to reject the path taken by George Wallace in Alabama and Orval Faubus in Arkansas, he was denounced by the state’s vocal proponents of segregation. Vandiver died Feb. 21, 2005.
Ward, the first to challenge UGA’s racially discriminatory admissions policies when he applied to the law school in 1950, came to work for Donald Hollowell’s law firm after eventually earning his law degree from Northwestern. Ward later served as a deputy attorney for the city of Atlanta and an assistant attorney for Fulton County, then spent 10 years in the Georgia Senate before becoming a judge in the Fulton County Civil Court and Superior Court. He was sworn in as a U.S. District Judge in 1979.
Williams, the dean of students at the University of Georgia in 1961, initially escorted Charlayne Hunter to classes, while dean of men Dean Tate took Hamilton Holmes around campus.