Women Activists in the Fight for Georgia School Desegregation, 1958–1961

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About the Book

On the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, the Georgia General Assembly enacted a series of massive anti-desegregation laws to stand in opposition to the federal mandate. Governor Ernest Vandiver was elected with an overwhelming majority after promising to close every school if even “one Negro” entered a white classroom. While the fight for segregated schools was certainly strong, a small group of women in Atlanta’s white community played a radical role in bringing peaceful desegregation to the Georgia school system.
This book tells the story of HOPE (Help Our Public Education), beginning with a small neighborhood coffee chat then growing through mail and meeting campaigns across the state. The women of HOPE changed the school crisis from politics-as-usual to public controversy. Based on factual material found in library special collections, books, newspapers, transcripts, symposiums, and several interviews, this book honors and tells the story of a small group of courageous, hard-working women credited with creating a public climate in which peaceful desegregation was possible.

About the Author(s)

Rebecca H. Dartt is the author of several nonfiction books and one novel. She lives in Sarasota, Florida.

Bibliographic Details

Rebecca H. Dartt
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 229
Bibliographic Info: 10 photos, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2008
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3843-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0004-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

1. To Break the Silence      5

2. A City Too Busy to Hate      17

3. Who’s Running Georgia?      25

4. HOPE Is Launched      39

5. Women at Work      49

6. Tea and Bigotry      58

7. Courts and Politicians      69

8. A Solution or Delay?      81

9. Let the Hearings Begin      93

10. No Stone Unturned      102

11. Operation Last Chance      116

12. Athens to the Rescue      129

13. Getting Ready      139

14. A New Day in Georgia      147

Epilogue      154

Appendix 1: Majority and Minority Opinions in Plessy v. Ferguson United States Supreme Court Decision, 1896      159

Appendix 2: Opinion in Brown v. Board of Education United States Supreme Court Decision, 1954      167

Appendix 3: United States District Judge Frank A. Hooper Remarks, 1960      175

Appendix 4: Majority and Minority Reports of the Georgia General Assembly Committee on Schools, 1960      185

Chapter Notes      205

Bibliography      213

Index      217

Book Reviews & Awards

“a wonderfully researched historical account…the work is a stunning collection of information surrounding the landmark issue of desegregation”—Metro Spirit; “a compelling study…a thorough exploration…valuable”—Georgia Historical Quarterly.