An Education in Georgia: Then and Now, kick off event for the campus-wide read of An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes, and the Integration of the University of Georgia

To kick off the campus-wide reading event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of desegregation at the University of Georgia, UGA alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault will participate in a conversation with longtime New Yorker columnist and author Calvin Trillin to discuss his book An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes, and the Integration of the University of Georgia (UGA Press). The conversation will be moderated by Valerie Boyd, Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence, Associate Professor, Journalism, Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, UGA.

Register for this Zoom event here. 

Throughout the month of February, the Press will share supplemental materials including discussion questions, interviews, news articles drawn from the New Georgia Encyclopedia, and other prompts via social media. We will announce book giveaways in January as well as provide a discount code to students, faculty, staff, and community members who register for the event.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault is a Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist with more than 50 years in the media industry, extending her work at various times to all media including The New Yorker, NBC, The New York Times, PBS, NPR and CNN. She is also the author of four books, including In My Place, an autobiography and To The Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement. She continues with the PBS NEWSHOUR with a special series called Race Matters, looking at solutions to racism and is a highly sought after lecturer and moderator.

Calvin Trillin has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1963. As the Nation’s “Deadline Poet,” he writes weekly verse on the news of the day. In addition to his books of reportage, he has published memoirs, comic novels, and books of verse. His books include Remembering Denny, Obliviously On He Sails: The Bush Administration in Rhyme, Tepper Isn’t Going Out, About Alice, Quite Enough of Calvin Trillin, Jackson, 1964, and No Fair! No Fair! (with Roz Chast.)

Admiration and appreciation for Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes

The courage and sacrifice of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes 60 years ago might be termed “good trouble” today, however their heroic actions were complicated and divisive in 1961. Thanks to their steadfast resolve to attend class at the University of Georgia, they broke down barriers, opened the door to progress and created opportunities for generations to come by desegregating the university.

January 9 is the milestone anniversary when Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) started her quest for a journalism degree and Hamilton Holmes started his studies in science on his way to a career in medicine and healthcare administration.

Hunter-Gault’s impact is immense according to Charles Davis, dean of Grady College.

“The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, ‘There is nothing more majestic than the determined courage of individuals willing to suffer and sacrifice for their freedom and dignity,’” Davis quoted. “Charlayne Hunter-Gault’s courage, selflessness and most importantly, love for others and for UGA continue to amaze. She always answers the call, every time. I’ve never known another person who lifts me up in quite the same way. Majestic is a good way to describe her.”

Grady College alumni and friends share messages of appreciation and admiration on the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation. The complete video of appreciation messages for Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes can be viewed here. (editor: Dayne Young)
 

Hunter-Gault is well-known for her legacy at UGA, but her legacy at the College is equally important continued Davis. A few of her many contributions to the College include regular visits to interact with students; faculty support through the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence, held by Valerie Boyd; service as a former board member of the Peabody Awards; and co-benefactor along with her husband, Ron, of the Giving Voice to the Voice Fund. The fund provides grants to those amplifying stories that need to be told.

Hunter-Gault continues to inspire students and young alumni today. Recent graduate Ashley Carter (AB ’20) worked on the UGA Black Alumni Oral History Project through the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library that was funded by the Giving Voice to the Voiceless grant.

Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault at the inaugural Holmes Hunter Lecture in 1985. (Photo: Rick O’Quinn)

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault and the late Hamilton Holmes, I cannot explain how thankful I am for your bravery when you stepped on the University of Georgia’s campus for the first time,” Carter said. “That set the tone for years to come and students like myself who have graduated, and students who are still being admitted, we thank you. We appreciate you.”

Following graduation with a journalism degree in 1963, Hunter-Gault started her impressive career, first on the staff of “The New Yorker,” followed by The New York Times, PBS’s “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” and what is now the “PBS NewsHour.”  She has served as chief correspondent in Africa for National Public Radio, as well as bureau chief and correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa, for CNN.  Hunter-Gault has written several books including “In My Place,” which will be the featured book in March for the UGA Alumni Association’s Between the Pages virtual book club. Hunter-Gault has been honored with several awards, including two Emmy Awards and two Peabody Awards, including her coverage of Africa for NPR.

Her work has inspired numerous journalists, including some of the College’s most notable alumni like Deborah Roberts (ABJ ‘82), Ernie Johnson (ABJ ‘78) and Monica Pearson (MA ’14).

“I owe a debt of gratitude to you and Hamilton Holmes for paving the way for me at UGA,” said Roberts, a national correspondent for ABC, in a message to Hunter-Gault. “I wouldn’t be here at ABC News if it weren’t for you two. I stand on your shoulders, and my success is your success.”

Charlayne Hunter-Gault at the Centennial celebration for the college in April 2015. (Photo: Wingate Downs)

January 9, 2021, marks the start of a series of events at the University of Georgia to mark the progress that has been made and the continued work to create a more inclusive and welcoming campus. The anniversary celebration will continue for the next several months and includes a series of events in celebration of Hunter-Gault, Holmes and Mary Frances Early who transferred to UGA as a graduate student and was the first Black student to graduate from UGA in 1962.

Grady College is in process of hosting several events in association with the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation. Grady Newsource has produced a half-hour documentary about the impact of Hunter-Gault and Holmes that is expected to air in February. On Feb. 4, Grady will sponsor a virtual Campus Read event hosted by the UGA Press and featuring author Calvin Trillin. Trillin is the author of “An Education in Georgia: Charlayne Hunter, Hamilton Holmes, and the Integration of the University of Georgia,” and the conversation will be moderated by Valerie Boyd, the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer in Residence and Grady faculty member.

Please visit UGA’s 60th Anniversary of Desegregation website for a complete list of events.

Award-winning journalist and namesake to deliver Holmes-Hunter Lecture

Grady College alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault, an award-winning journalist, will present the 2018 Holmes-Hunter Lecture Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Chapel.

Hunter-Gault took time to talk with students and faculty members during the announcement of her Giving Voice to the Voice Fund in April 2016.
Hunter-Gault took time to talk with students and faculty members during the announcement of her Giving Voice to the Voice Fund in April 2016.

The lecture is named in honor of Hunter-Gault and her classmate Hamilton Holmes, the first African-American students to attend UGA. They arrived on campus in 1961 after civil rights leaders in Atlanta successfully challenged the segregation policy at the state’s universities. Hunter-Gault graduated from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1963, going on to work for prestigious media outlets like The New Yorker, The New York Times, PBS, CNN and NPR.

“We are delighted that Charlayne will return to campus to provide the Holmes-Hunter Lecture this year,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “She has achieved so much in her career as a groundbreaking journalist, and we are deeply grateful that she continues to give back to her alma mater in so many ways.”

Hunter-Gault and her husband, Ronald Gault, recently established a new endowment, Giving Voice to the Voiceless, to provide grants to UGA students promoting social justice and global understanding.

Among numerous awards for her reporting, Hunter-Gault won two Emmys for national news and documentary coverage and two Peabody Awards for excellence in broadcast journalism, administered by Grady College. She was the first African-American Commencement speaker at UGA in 1988. In 2001, the academic building where Hunter-Gault and Holmes registered was renamed the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building in their honor, marking the 40th anniversary of the desegregation of the university.

Sponsored by the Office of the President, the Holmes-Hunter Lecture focuses on race relations, civil rights and education and has been held annually since 1985.

Charlayne Hunter-Gault announces Giving Voice to the Voiceless fund

Award-winning journalist, author and distinguished University of Georgia alumna Charlayne Hunter-Gault has established a new endowment, Giving Voice to the Voiceless. The endowment, created by Hunter-Gault and her husband, Ronald Gault, will provide grants to university students to promote social justice and global understanding by giving voice to the voiceless, the charting light of the life and work of Hunter-Gault.

“From Athens to Africa and beyond, my ‘journeys to the horizon’ as a journalist have tried to find people whose voices need to be heard so they can realize their dreams for themselves and their communities,” Hunter-Gault said. “I hope this fund will encourage Georgia Dawgs from anywhere in the university to travel near and far, as I have tried to do, to give voice to those whose voices are unheard.”

Hunter-Gault announced the fund during her keynote address at the fifth annual Chess and Community Conference at the Georgia Center on April 1. Hunter-Gault has reported on the Chess and Community program, created and directed by UGA alumnus Lemuel LaRoche, on PBS.

“Charlayne Hunter-Gault is an instrumental figure in the history of this institution,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “We are honored that she and Ron have established this fund, which will further Charlayne’s profound legacy and will positively impact the lives of our students.”

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication Dean Charles Davis lauded “the remarkable work and commitment of Charlayne Hunter-Gault—from her PBS program ‘Race Matters’ that has shown us Lemuel LaRoche’s dedication to chess and community in Athens, to her Peabody-winning stories and her service on the Peabody Board of Jurors, and as a champion of journalism the world over.

“Her subjects give voice, and their personal stories move from our ears to our hearts,” Davis said, echoing the citation accompanying Hunter-Gault’s second Peabody Award.

“We are grateful to be the stewards of Charlayne and Ron’s vision for this fund,” Davis said. “As it grows, it will help generations of students engage in innovative projects, internships, study abroad experiences, field study and other endeavors that give voice to the voiceless.”

“Ron and I are honored to launch this fund with our contribution,” Hunter-Gault said. “We hope others will join to help students to give voice to voiceless individuals and their stories, and in so doing, to advance social justice, global understanding and the human good.

“This is especially a time when the voices of all good people need to be heard,” she said. “I hope this fund will help students find and affirm the voices of people everywhere who fight for freedom, justice and equality for themselves and their people.”

Hunter-Gault will present a public lecture on “Giving Voice to the Voiceless” at UGA this fall.

Hunter-Gault, a 1963 graduate of Grady College, was the first African-American woman to attend UGA. After graduating, she joined the staff of The New Yorker, followed by The New York Times, PBS’ “MacNeil/Lehrer Report” and what is now the “PBS NewsHour.” In 1997, she became the chief correspondent in Africa for National Public Radio. She joined CNN in 1999 as its bureau chief and correspondent in Johannesburg, South Africa, and returned to NPR as a special correspondent in 2005. She has authored several books, including “To the Mountaintop: My Journey Through the Civil Rights Movement.” Hunter-Gault has been honored with several awards, including two Emmy Awards and three Peabody Awards.

For more information about the fund or to support and collaborate on the project, please contact Parker Middleton at jparkerm@uga.edu.