The First Black Students Admitted to 15 Prestigious U.S. Universities, and Their Stories Image via Georgia University System

8. Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes

Year: 1961
School: University of Georgia

So much for that Southern hospitality. In 1961, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes arrived at the University of Georgia to chants of "2-4-6-8; we don't want to integrate." Hunter-Gault, the university's first black female student, remembers the stench of tear gas piercing the cold air and a brick crashing through her window after a federal judge ordered that the university allow her to attend. One student threw a quarter at her, and told her to change her bed sheets.

"They didn't have a clue who I was or what my dreams were, and the fact that my dreams were the same dreams they had," she said. Her ambition didn't fade with the heckling. Hunter-Gault would go on to graduate with a degree in journalism, later working as a reporter for the New York Times, a local news anchor and a foreign correspondent for NPR. Holmes would go on to earn his M.D. from Emory, becoming the first black student in its school of medicine.

blog comments powered by Disqus