Athens community leaders delivered an open letter “calling for recognition and redress for” the University of Georgia’s “legacy of slavery” to UGA President Jere Morehead on the morning of April 10.
Leaders from Economic Justice Coalition, Clarke County NAACP, Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement and Athens for Everyone read the letter aloud in front of the UGA Administration Building. This was the first “collaboration” to address UGA’s racial legacy by like-minded Athens groups, Economic Justice Coalition Executive Director Linda Lloyd said.
“I just know that it’s one action that we’ve been all needing to take,” Lloyd said. “It goes from the [Baldwin Hall] slave graves all the way to living wages.”
Leaders in the black community in Athens have voiced their concerns on the issue of UGA’s history of slavery since the remains of enslaved people were uncovered during the 2015 expansion of Baldwin Hall.
“It is past time for your administration to act on the requests of its community and use its institutional power as Georgia’s flagship university to make positive social change in our city,” the letter states.
The letter, which was signed by ten community groups and Athens-Clarke County commissioners Mariah Parker, Melissa Link and Tim Denson, lists specific demands for UGA to “fund and celebrate efforts to recognize and redress” its history.
After reading the letter, leaders said they will hold a town hall event to discuss the issue with UGA administrators on April 24. No further details have been released.