Mary Frances Early

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Saturday, February 9, 2013

Mary Frances Early became the first African American to graduate from the University of Georgia (UGA). Her accomplishment has been overshadowed by that of Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes, who enrolled at UGA in January 1961, becoming the first African Americans to attend the previously segregated institution. Early remembers, "I sent in my application just after Char and Hamilton were evicted from campus for their own safety after a riot. . . . And I thought, 'Well, they have been brave enough to open up the undergraduate school, so somebody needs to step forward to open up the graduate school—why not me?'" She transferred her graduate work from the University of Michigan to UGA and graduated with a master's degree in music education in 1962, a year before Hunter and Holmes finished their undergraduate studies.