Georgia Tech Integration
To avoid the civil unrest that attended the University of Georgia's court-ordered desegregation, officials at Georgia Tech began plotting an integration strategy in January 1961. After months of careful planning, Tech President Edwin Harrison announced the following May that the school would admit three of thirteen black applicants for admission the following fall. Despite enjoying broad support from Atlanta's business and political communities, tensions remained high as the fall semester approached and school administrators took a number of steps to preclude the possibility for disorder; Members of the press were barred from campus to discourage disruptive behavior and plainclothes police officers were on hand to ensure a peaceful desegregation process. On September 27, the school's first three black students attended classes without incident, making Georgia Tech the first institution of higher education in the Deep South to integrate peacefully and without a court order.
Archival Collections and Reference Resources
- Freedom Riders' 40th Anniversary Oral History Project, 2001 (John Davis Williams Library (University of Mississippi))
- Voices Across The Color Line Oral History Collection, 2005-2006 (Atlanta History Center)
- WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection (Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection)
- WSB-TV newsfilm clip of Dr. Judson C. Ward of Emory University speaking about a Georgia Supreme Court ruling allowing private universities to integrate without becoming subject to state taxes in Atlanta, Georgia, 1962 September 15 (News)
- WSB-TV newsfilm clip of Georgia Institute of Technology president Dr. Ed Harrison speaking to reporters about the school's integration and Ford Greene, Ralph Long, Jr., and Lawrence Williams, the school's first African American students, arriving on the campus in Atlanta, Georgia, 1961 September 18 (News)