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Interview with Mary Frances Early, May 22, 2007

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:51 - Early life in Atlanta

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Partial Transcript: Please tell us a little bit about your early life, your family, your, your upbringing.

Segment Synopsis: Early recalls growing up in the Summer Hill neighborhood of Atlanta, her father's restaurant on Auburn Avenue, and reading in the nearby library. She notes her father's influence on her interest in music and her mother's influence on her interest in education. She recalls advancing rapidly through her early education and learning from textbooks discarded by the white schools.

Keywords: Atlanta; Auburn Avenue; Summer Hill; music education; segregation

00:06:32 - Turner High School / Clark College / Early career

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Partial Transcript: When I went to, um, high school, I went first to Howard High School.

Segment Synopsis: Early recalls attending several high schools before graduating from Turner High School, where her band director inspired her to pursue music education at Clark College. She remembers working with black and white children at a YWCA camp in New York, which she asserts influenced her desire to see different races living together. She remembers her first job out of college teaching fifth grade and music.

Keywords: Camp Lenoloc (Bear Mountain, New York); Clark College (Atlanta, Ga.); Howard High School (Atlanta, Ga.); Turner High School (Atlanta, Ga.); Washington High School (Atlanta, Ga.); YWCA; Young Women's Christian Association; music education; segregation

00:13:12 - University of Michigan / University of Georgia application process

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Partial Transcript: I went to Interlochen, um, which is a national music camp in Michigan.

Segment Synopsis: Early recalls attending a summer music program in Michigan and deciding to get her graduate degree at the University of Michigan. She remembers deciding to attend UGA instead after seeing news footage of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes struggling to gain admittance to UGA in 1961. She discusses her application process and UGA's efforts to bar her admission.

Keywords: Charlayne Hunter-Gault; Hamilton Holmes; Interlochen Center for the Arts; UGA; University of Georgia; University of Michigan; segregation

00:21:56 - Master's degree at UGA

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Partial Transcript: I was glad I had made the decision, and I was determined to come.

Segment Synopsis: Early recalls living on campus in summer 1961, registering for classes, and her relationships with white students. She remembers taking leave from her teaching job to attend spring quarter with financial support from the local black teachers' association and her church.

Keywords: UGA; University of Georgia; civil rights; music education; segregation

00:27:36 - Reflections on racial progress / Graduation

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Partial Transcript: I think some of our students are a little bit too militant.

Segment Synopsis: Early shares her impressions on the progress that has been made regarding race relations and the sense of urgency for progress she perceives in younger generations. She reflects upon her graduation in August 1962, the publicity surrounding it, and the misconception that Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes were the first African American students to graduate from UGA.

Keywords: UGA; University of Georgia; segregation

00:33:26 - Getting involved at UGA

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Partial Transcript: And as I have read, Professor Maurice Daniels found you after years, is that right?

Segment Synopsis: Early recalls how she became involved at UGA after thirty years of no recognition from the university. She discusses her work with the Alumni Board and the Graduate Education Advancement Board and details how the Mary Frances Early lecture was established in 2000.

Keywords: Donald Hollowell; Graduate and Professional Scholars (GAPS); Horace T. Ward; Maurice Daniels; UGA; University of Georgia; civil rights; segregation

00:40:12 - Specialist degree at UGA / Work after UGA

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Partial Transcript: Um, let's go back a little bit -- you got a specialist's degree from the University in 1967...

Segment Synopsis: Early recalls returning to UGA in summer 1964 for a specialist degree, her disappointment in the lack of African American students, and the persisting segregation on campus. She reflects on efforts UGA might make to attract black students. She discusses her life after graduating from UGA in 1967 and her efforts to increase diversity in music education.

Keywords: Atlanta Public Schools; Georgia Music Educators Association (GMEA); National Association for Music Education; UGA; University of Georgia; music education; race relations; recruitment; scholarships; segregation

00:46:42 - Work in Secondary Education / Final thoughts on UGA

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Partial Transcript: After -- I retired from Atlanta Public Schools in '94...

Segment Synopsis: Early recalls her decision to retire from Atlanta Public Schools and discusses teaching classes at Morehouse College, Spelman College, and Clark-Atlanta University. She discusses her world travels and the extent to which she believes UGA has become more diverse and inclusive.

Keywords: Atlanta Public Schools; Clark-Atlanta University (Atlanta, Ga.); Morehouse College (Atlanta, Ga.); Spelman College (Atlanta, Ga.); UGA; University of Georgia; University of Mississippi; music education