Interview with Dr. Ben Rucker, July 25, 2019

Hargrett Rare Book & Manuscript Library
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00:02:30 - Why UGA?

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Partial Transcript: Well for me it was economic. It was a situation where my parents didn’t have money to pay for tuition or to pay for a higher education.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Rucker discusses why he chose to attend UGA.

Keywords: Gainesville Junior College, Ebella High School, desegregation, tuition, Talladega, Morris Brown, Fort Valley, Savannah State, Bulldog fan

00:05:02 - Bulldog fan?

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Partial Transcript: Otherwise, when I went to the University of Georgia, if a SEC team came we really didn’t go to the football games.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Rucker discusses the conflict of being and African American and being a fan of the Bulldog nation’s sports teams.

Keywords: Georgia Tech, Eddie McAshen, football games, SEC team, Richard Appleby, Horace Green, black athlete, University of Alabama, Ronnie Hogue, basketball

00:07:26 - Culture shock

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Partial Transcript: I guess from the standpoint of a cultural shock, going to school with whites and that kind of thing, my transition was probably easy.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Rucker discusses what it was like to go from an all black community into a white college culture.

Keywords: Classroom, Black Student Union, BSU, maturity, sister, Gainesville Junior College, organic Chemistry, professor, projectors, hazed, college novelty

00:15:31 - Dorm life

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Partial Transcript: I stayed on campus my two years. I stayed in Milledge Hall.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Rucker discusses the pressures, insecurities as well as the benefits as an African American of living in a dorm at UGA.

Keywords: Roommate, Reed Hall, Russell Hall, open-minded, Alpha Phi Alpha, Black House, Prince Ave

00:20:51 - The most stressful moments

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Partial Transcript: I take that back - there was some time stressful in May of 1970 I believe that was. There were demonstrations in the streets. And as a matter of fact, my wife who is my wife now and I, we were dating at the time and we ended up going to jail.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Rucker discusses his experience as a protester while attending UGA.

Keywords: Burney Harris High School, jail, Clarke Central, Augusta, SCLC, Southern Christian Conference, Martin Luther King Jr, Hosea Williams

00:27:00 - Motivation to succeed

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Partial Transcript: And I experienced how people who didn’t have education or didn’t use their education were, maybe it's too strong a word but doomed to experiences that were not necessarily uplifting.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Rucker discusses what motivated him to graduate in spite of the difficulties of being a minority at UGA.

Keywords: Laborer, parents, sister, HBCU, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Hamilton Holmes, confederate flag

00:35:43 - Words of encouragement

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Partial Transcript: Certainly, when I was going through it I wasn’t necessarily thinking about a legacy or anything at the time. But as I look back on it, certainly there is a legacy and you want to leave things better how you found it.

Segment Synopsis: Dr. Rucker offers words of encouragement to other minority students.