Black History Month: UGA Timeline


1961: Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter become the first African Americans to register at UGA after winning a legal battle to gain admission.

1962: Mary Frances Early earns a master’s degree in music education, therefore becoming the first African American to earn a UGA degree.

1968: Richard Graham becomes the first full-time African-American faculty member; he began teaching at the School of Music.

1969: The Zeta Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha becomes the first African-American fraternity at the university.


1970: Basketball player Ronnie Hogue becomes the first African-American to play a major sport at UGA.

1971: Richard Appleby, Horace King, Chuck Kinnebrew, Clarence Pope and Larry West break the color barrier on the football team.

1977: Leroy Ervin and Ron Fadden found Abeneefoo Kuo Honor Society for black students. The name means “circle of honor” in Swahili.


1980: Herschel Walker leads the UGA football team to the National Championship.

1981: Harold Wright becomes the first African-American drum major for the Redcoat Marching Band.

1987: Robert Pratt becomes first African-American faculty member in the history department. He later wrote a book on UGA’s desegregation, We Shall Not Be Moved.

1988: President Charles Knapp announces the hiring of 20 new black faculty members – nearly doubling the number (29) previously on campus. Bryndis Roberts Jenkins is named UGA’s first African-American vice president, heading the legal affairs office.

1989: The Office of Minority Services and Programs opens.


1990: The Board of Regents approves establishment of the African-American Studies Institute, an outgrowth of the African-American Studies Program, directed by Norman Harris -- paving the way for a major in African-American Studies, first offered in 1999.

1993: Telvis Rich and running mate Ron Jones became the first African-American students to serve as president and vice president of the Student Government Association.

1994: The African-American Cultural Center is founded by the Division of Student Affairs, African-American studies, and members of BFSO.

1999: Hilton Young (BSEd ’79) becomes the first African-American president of UGA’s National Alumni Association. Mark Anthony Thomas becomes the first African-American editor-in-chief of The Red & Black.


2001: UGA marks the 40th anniversary of desegregation.

2004: UGA partners with the Athens-Clarke County government and the school district to host inaugural Freedom Breakfast – now an annual event – to mark Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

2005: Faculty member Derrick Alridge is named one of 10 outstanding young African-American scholars in the nation by Black Issues in Higher Education.

2010: Broadway performer Tituss Burgess (AB ’01) presents a one-man show at the Morton Theatre to kick off the centennial celebration of the historic Athens venue.


Based off of milestones and achievements listed on the UGA 50th anniversary of desegregation site.