Mary Frances Early who made history in Athens by becoming UGA's first African American to receive a degree in 1962, is being honored by her former school on Wednesday. Early's story has been overshadowed over the years by the story of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, who were the first Blacks to enroll at UGA in 1961.
Mary Early is a former Turner High School student and studied Music Appreciation at Clark College (now Clark Atlanta Univ). She transferred her Master's study to UGA once they became desegregated. After finishing her Master's Degree at UGA, Early eventually became Chair of the Dept. of Music at Clark Atlanta University.
Civil rights pioneer Lonnie King Jr., who helped launch Atlanta student protests during the early 1960s, will deliver the keynote address at the event commemorating the 50th anniversary of Early’s graduation.
Early will be honored by university officials and by several colleagues from a former civic group called the Wataushis, who will present her with a “Torch of Knowledge” statue representing various aspects of achievement and civic activism.
If you want to read more about Mary Early and her interesting life in SW Atlanta read the New Georgia Encyclopedia.