Civil Rights Leader Who Desegregated University of Georgia Discusses Student-Led Movements of 1960s and Today

As a student-led movement for gun control sweeps the country, we look back at a key moment in another historic student movement: desegregation. On January 9, 1961, African American students Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes walked onto the campus of the University of Georgia to register for classes, as a howling mob of white students screamed racial epithets at them. It was a pivotal moment in the African American student-led movement to desegregate America’s public high schools and universities. Charlayne Hunter graduated in 1963 and went on to have an award-winning career in journalism, working for PBS, NPR and CNN. For more, we speak with Charlayne Hunter-Gault, award-winning journalist and author of numerous books, including In My Place, a memoir of her childhood and her years at the University of Georgia. Her recent piece for The New Yorker is headlined “Surviving School Desegregation, and Finding Hope in #NeverAgain.”

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. From school desegregation to #NeverAgain. As a student-led movement for gun control sweeps the country, led by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students who survived the mass shooting that killed 17 of their classmates and teachers, we’re going to spend the rest of the hour looking back at a key moment in history, a key moment in another historic student movement: desegregation.

It was January 9, 1961, that two black students, Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, walked onto the campus of the University of Georgia to register for classes, as a howling mob of white students screamed racial epithets at them. It was a pivotal movement in the African-American student-led movement to desegregate America’s public high schools and universities. On that day, Charlayne Hunter was just shy of 19 years old, one of the first two African-American students to enroll at the University of Georgia, after winning a landmark legal case. She had long dreamed of being…

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