The University of Georgia is a cornerstone of Georgia education, beginning as the first state-chartered public university in the United States. A pivotal moment in UGA history was the admission of Mary Frances Early into the College of Education in 1961. 

Early is the first African-American to graduate from UGA where she completed a master’s degree in music education in 1962. As one of the few black students at UGA, Early faced racism and became a pioneer in the Georgia Civil Rights movement. Today, UGA dedicates the College of Education to Early which now bears the name “Mary Frances Early College of Education.” 

Early applied to UGA in 1961 after Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes. Early’s admission was accepted while Hunter and Holmes were suspended from UGA as their case went through the Georgia courts. Prior to attending UGA, Early taught at John Hope Elementary school in Atlanta and eventually ended her career as a professor at Clark Atlanta University. 

In honor of the Mary Frances Early College of Education, take a look at these Red & Black archives articles about Early and the College of Education.


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