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tv   Mary Frances Early The Quiet Trailblazer  CSPAN  March 23, 2022 10:32am-11:33am EDT

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the gulf incident, the march on selma and the war in vietnam. not everyone knew they were being recorded. >> certainly, johnson's secretaries knew because they were tasked with transcribing many of those conversations. in fact, they were the ones who made sure that the conversations were taped as johnson would signal to them through an open dor between his office and theirs. >> you'll also hear some blunt talk. >> the number of people assigned to kennedy the day he died and the number assigned to me now. if mine are not less, i want them less right quick. if i can't go to the bathroom, i won't go. i just stay right behind these gates. >> presidential recordings, find it on the c-span now mobile app or wherever you get your podcasts. welcome, everyone, to
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atlanta history center's virtual series. my name is claire hailey, i'm the vice president of public relations and program here's at atlanta history center. it's my pleasure to welcome you to today's very special author talk featuring mary francis early. now if you don't yet have your copy of her newest book, you can get that from the museum store. you can get it on our campus or you can buy it online with options for domestic u.s. shipping or in store pickup. we're also coordinating copies of the book so we will facilitate that for you. as we said today's conversation is with hank. so i'm going to introduce them and turn it over to them to get started. mary francis early is a retired music educator and the first african-american student to graduate from the university of
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georgia in 1962. she taught at atlanta public schools, spellman college and was chair of clark taent's music department. she lives in georgia and continues to be an advocate for education and an active member of the uga community. as you'll see from her virtual background, the college of education was also recently named for ms. early. hank, who is today's moderator is a veteran jury roomist and an author and pea body award podcast host. he's the professor of of practice at emery's creaive writing program. he co-authored, which won the 2007 pulitzer prize for history. prior to emery, he was ab editor including a stint as managing editor of our "flaent journal constitution." y'all are in for a treat.
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two wonderful speakers today. if you have any questions that come up, you're welcome to drop those in the q&a and get to as many many as we can. thank you for being here today. >> thank you. thank you so much for that introduction. mary francis, it's so good to see you. >> it's good to see you too. >> i have been looking forward to this. and honored to be part of this. i want everybody to take one more look. if it you don't have this book, please get it. it's a phenomenal and marvelous story by and about mary francis early. and a musician, music educator, but also a brave and bold soul with a graceful defiance. with that graceful defiance, a little bit of stubbornness became the first african-american to receive the
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day employee na mahmoud from the university of georgia. s that was august 16th, 1962. and before we get started, i just want to give a little context. what that means is she began trying to get to the university of georgia in 1961. she was attempting at the same time that charlene hunter at the time and hamilton homes were attempting to get in undergrads and attempting to get in as a grad student. if you go back, the 61 years, it's almost amazing, but the south was doing. rising up to stop mary francis from getting into school. or james meredith over in mississippi. it happened in alabama. it happened in georgia. when mary francis is trying to
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get in, the governor at the time has run on a platform of not one. and everyone knew what that meant. no, not one. i will not allow one negro student into a state university. he ended up eating those words. and in mississippi, the newspapers there would run in jackson wrote a song and sewed the sheet music on the editorial page. the lyrics went something like never, never, never, never, never, never. and that was all. and that's how all these states
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just rose up to stop a single or two or three african-americans from getting into their state universities. it was a dynamic time in 1961 when mary francis is finally getting admitted in may of 1961. the freedom rides were rolling through the south, which was striking the fear of who knows what in white people that they might have to sit on a bus with with a black person. and it's just everywhere you turn you saw white resistance to what was so clearly and maybe not there at the time, but the inevitable. that someone of mary fant sis's mind and skill and talent and where with all would be a
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success at the university of georgia or any of these universities. so that among many reasons are why i'm so happy to be here. if i might take us back a little bit in time, i love that you point out in the book that you were born on a sunday, flag day and because you are indeed full of grace. your father i thought it was very interesting. he worked for a company in the southern wax paper company for awhile. very highly regarded. even had a letter of accommodation from his white boss. but then later struck out on his own and opened up a restaurant on auburn avenue. part of the building that's still there.
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the restaurant's name is the tuxedo coffee shop. so am i i right in understanding that your life growing up, i don't mean your house, but where you were going to see your father and your mother worked there too. >> yes. >> she was cooking there. at center of the you were only that whole life was only steps away from ebenezer baptist from the home of dr. king, the birth home, from the world offices, from night clubs, banks, that was your life. am i correct? >> you are correct. that was the center of black life. and i was in the middle of it. today we talk about being in a bubble. that was my bubble. and as long as i was there at my father's restaurant and across the street at the library, for black citizens, i was fine.
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but getting there, going on the streetcar, you have to sit in the back and all of the things that really resinated in my life that were disturbing came from outside of that bubble as it were. so my parents did try to i had a brother 18 months older. and he and i were taught that we were as good as anybody else. they did not teach us to hate white people. they taught us to hate those dreadful law that limited our becoming full-fledged citizens. so i took that in. i believed them. and in my book, there's a quote. it's from eleanor roosevelt. it says, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. i never gave that consent.
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>> your world that you lived in every day, you were seeing people of great accomplishment. african-americans with great accomplishment coming into the coffee shop and to what extent do you think that informed your own aspirations and gave you role models just walking in the door having a cup of coffee? >> it did. because there were very accomplished. you mentioned the fact that the atlanta daily world was there. first black bank which was built by a former slave after whom the high school was named, there was so many people. there were nightclubs, there were banks, there were a loi brar and all of that inspired me. and i never strayed too far from
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that area. because when i started teaching, in 1957, i had just turned 21 because my birthday is in june. and i was a very young teacher, but the school is very close to the king church. so that area nurtured me and helped to pave my way forward as an adult. >> and people who would be very important in your life who hill, for example, who would get to know very well, dr. king and others who would have assist you, and i would imagine these were people who knew your family and knew that you came from good stock. where a family that took education seriously, even though your parents were not especially
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did not have any higher education, i think the father had very little lower education. >> that's right. my dad only had an elementary school he had to work on a share cropper farm with his family. and he left there when he was 18 and went to the army. and came back toen atlanta. did not go back to jackson, fwa, which was his hometown. and he started working for the southern wax paper company. but my dad was also really an astute man. he was a wonderful golfer and played a big role in the golf and country club. it also was a person who loved classical music. he was the one that got me interested in classical music. i think because he was in world war i, he was probably in europe
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and apparently he never talked about it. he was able to get to some concert there is. he started to sit around on subject evenings and listen to the telephone hour, for classical music. operas, all of that. he started playing piano because he saw i was interested and he wanted me to accompany him because he was an amateur singer. he sang at churches and weddings. so he was really a restaurant astute man, although he had no high school education and certainly no college. >> that's very impressive. and your mother had high school education i think. but that didn't stop her from becoming a teacher. >> she was the top student in her high school class.
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she did go through 12th grade. her teacher became pregnant and they would not allow her to continue teaching. so the teacher recommended her to take on the classes. and there was one schoolhouse and she told me how difficult it was to teach the kids because the boys in particular, they had to stop going to school when harvest season came around. they had to help on their family's share cropper farms. so she had to customize their learning. it was hard. i can't imagine teaching grades 1 through 12. >> given all the teaching that you did in multiple classrooms, you would know how difficult that would be. >> yes, yes.
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>> you went to clark college. it seems like that was just an extraordinary liberating experience for you. even though you stayed in atlanta. if you don't mind, there's shotgun in the book that i'd like to quote from. it's a journal entry from when you were 1 years old at theened of orientation at clark college. let me just read when you wrote. i find it so powerful on saturday evening of freshmen orientation week, thank god i am an american. an american who can go forward not as a negro, but as a true american citizen to greater heights and to the pinnacle of success.
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tonight i say a fer vebt prayer for the freshman class of clark college and the freshman classes all over the world that they might dedicate themselves to the task of finishing this college course in four years, if possible, and then turn back to help their people who are not as fortunate as they. mold themselves into true citizens of the united states and of america so that some day the negro race will not be called nee gro but all will be united in the human race having differences only in the pigment of their skin, texture of their hair and having this in common. as citizens of the united states of america. wow, that was pretty advanced thinking for a freshman on her first venture away from home. >> yes, it was. it sounds profound to me.
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it's actually housed in the russell library among my papers. it was just a little blue notebook. actually my mother kept it. my mother was a horder. she kept all my report cards through college. she kept papers i had done because she was so proud of the fact. i guess she was reliving -- she wanted to go to college but she could not afford it. and she want theed to see me and my brother who went to university for awhile. but they had great aspirations for us and they gave us the home of a better future. and how i verbalized that, i just turned 17 in june and that was in september. i don't know. >> i'm so glad frankly that your
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mother kept everything. thatst that's why we have this book. it would be a very different book if we had to rely solely on memory on these things. solely on these things, you know. >> exactly. >> jumping ahead, your decision to go to the university of georgia, what were you thinking? nobody had done that when you applied. >> no, you know, but i saw the riot. i thought these were students i had graduated six years ahead of, and it was, quote, the elite high school. they were trying to equalize education, because i had gone to howard high school, i had gone to washington high school, and i was transferred there and i did not request going there. it was a great school. we had hand-picked teachers, and
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teachers that were dedicated. this was a new building and just the beginning of a new life or education for me. i had for the first time new text books. i never had new textbooks before, and at my old school we got the recycled textbooks, and i had no idea when i went to clark i would be sent back there for student teaching, and it was there that i met charlene. she wanted to interview me about that and she was the editor of "the green light," which was
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turner high's newspaper and i got to know that, and i got to know about turner because he was a star football player and a star student, and three years later we would be at the same school together. >> and it's -- it may be commonly thought, and if so it's commonly thought wrong, that after they got in that the doors just opened wide and uga suddenly said welcome all of our negro students here. it was not that at all. the one that came next would have to jump through the same
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hoops and go through the same things you encountered? >> yes, i had to go to the courthouse to have my citizenship verified, and i had to go through an interview, and that was very unpleasant. they did a investigation by the georgia investigative report, and i didn't know it existed until the year 2000, well after i finished at the university of georgia. they instigated a law that anybody over 25 could not go to the georgia school, and they did
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not want me there. after they got my transcripts from the university of michigan where i had studied for two summers, and they had my clark college transcripts, they asked for my high school transcript, and they never do that but i laughed because i made all a's, and they could not find a reason -- i am surmising, they got the investigative report and report cards and whatever over to the state legislature. there was an article in the paper on may 10th, 1961. it was written by margaret stanno, and she said the high
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level decision was made, and the state officials reluctantly decided they had to admit her based on her good teaching record and academics or they would suffer the judge admitting her and perhaps an injunction from the state, and people think when char -- i call her char, and after me they did not do those requests like they did me, and the judge ruled all qualified negros should be admitted. they tried everything to keep me
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out. >> i tell you, that was the story through much of the south, as many of us know now, the federal judges appointed by previously republican administrations came into these decisions having understood something that was different from what many of the old-line democratic segregationsists understood, they did not have to adopt those old segregation ideas and to interpret the law that way, and almost the entire fifth u.s. circuit court of appeals believed that way, and the federal judges had a tremendous influence in bringing the south of its horrific past. so you received your letter of
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admission in may of 61, and because you were going as a graduate student, you were not going for the seven years that charlotte and hamilton was going, and you graduated in august of 1962. at one point you said the university of georgia accepted you but did not welcome you. the student body was very chilly, i guess, to you. >> they were hostile. >> hostile is a better word, right. i think you wrote, you said the real problem that i face and knew that charlotte and hamilton faced daily is that we never knew what to expect. some days were rather normal and other days i felt like a pariah
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because of the ostracism and i depended on god's guidance. tell me about those days. >> those days, i still liked interacting with people, and a lot of things happened that let me know that i was not welcomed by the students. some students had written a proclamation before i came saying they would not welcome -- these people did not come to get an education but to destroy our university and they were going to protect it, and they were not going to welcome them and would not associate with white students that welcomed them. that went on for a long time.
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and many of them probably had been taught that they were superior, so in class they would sit far away from me. when i went to the agricultural auditorium, they were so busy trying to find out about my personal life, they did not check to see i had not taken it. i sat so row next to the entrance and all the students got up and moved to another row. i went to the library one night and had derogatory language hurled at me, and the guys that were there positioned themselves across the steps at the top to bar me, and when i got to the top step they broke it up. i had rocks thrown at me going to the post office, because they didn't have -- we didn't have
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any cell phones or computers at that time. you had to write letters even though atlanta was only six or seven miles from athens, and i was posting a letter to my mom and these young men across the street started throwing rocks and one of them hit me under my glasses and i thought they could have put my eye out, so i picked up the rock and threw it back and i didn't hit them, and i regretted that because i was attending dr. king's church, and he was my hero, and i went to his church on the sundays i was home when i was able to go home, and i confessed to him and told him what happened, and he said, don't worry, i would have done the same thing. i didn't believe him but it made me feel better, and he said, because you are human.
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it was a visceral response to something that i thought should not have happened. nothing like that happened again. there were many other things that happened that i didn't include in the book because i didn't want people to think everything was negative, the music department professors were very kind, and all i wanted them to be was fair, and they had done that. so i made good grades. my adviser told me at the end of the first summer, why don't you consider taking a leave of absence from your teaching job and coming back? we can get -- we can transfer some credits from the university of michigan and you might be able to finish if you go through the summer session, and that's what happened. i did not go to the university of georgia to become the first to graduate. i didn't even know if i would pass the classes, but it happened. i am proud of that.
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but i am proud of the fact that according to dr. king i made a contribution to the social justice human rights in georgia. >> uh-huh. and you did it by -- you were prepared for the academic challenges. that may have been in question in the minds of the white people at the time and maybe that was their cover story, and at any case that would be held up as is she ready for this? and you had assignments and opportunities, you performed in the chorus in the summer concert, and you wanted to invite your family and friends, naturally. they said no. you called donald hollowell, and
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like the lone ranger, he showed up at the right time, and i always want to know more about peoples' interactions with him at the time. i know he, in the end, he, too, worried about whether that was going to be safe, right? >> he did. he said the school -- uga was taking the stance of not allowing me to invite family and friends because it was an evening concert, and they could not ensure the safety of my mother, brother or friends. well, i had not thought about that. who would think about that? so when i heard that, and he said he agreed. so when the concert happened and there's a program, and i think my name is in there, but i was the black standing on the stage with the other chorus members.
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i felt like it was a small victory. every little step is like building a house. everything you do let's people know, it's okay, you know, the chapel is not going to fall in because a black person is onstage. those are the kinds of things that tried me sometimes, because i am human and i was human then, and i went often to dr. king's church to hear him preach because his message of love for all people, his message of brotherhood and the fact that we -- we all are equal as children of god. i felt it in my soul. it gave me the strength to go back the next week and face whatever happened, because some people said why didn't you just quit and go back to the university of michigan? i couldn't quit. i was committed because there were people that were helping me
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and i could not let them down. i chose this path myself. i was not solicited to go, i made that choice myself and i could not go back on that. charlene and i roomed together. when i went back in the spring of '62, and there were two bedrooms. we often noticed when we were going back to atlanta that a light blue car followed us. when it got to the clark county line it went back and went to athens. we found out later that was the state patrol. they were charged with keeping us safe in that -- in clark county, but outside clark county we were on our own, which sometimes made me fearful. nothing happened. god is with us when we are doing
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the right thing. as dr. king once said, the time is always right to do what is right. >> i want to remind our guests, we are taking your questions if you will put them in the chat, and claire will join us again in eight or so minutes so we can take some of the questions and present them to mary francis. when you tried to invite your family to the concert at the uga chapel, you couldn't do it, so then comes your graduation, your commencement, august 1962, and like any other student you wanted family and friends there, so tell us what happened. >> well, that time -- you see, i didn't really know, i had to
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wait until i got my grades at the end of the summer to know if i was going to graduate, and i didn't have time to send invitations but i invited friends and people from church, and 74 people came. >> 74? >> 74 people came. i am sure it was the first time uga had that many blacks at their commencement, and i was the only black graduating, so i was truly invisible. they couldn't see me. there were 700 other graduate students, and it was a funny situation -- it was not funny there, but when i looked at the beginning of the line there was a man standing there with the sword, and i wondered if they were expecting trouble and he's
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the first line of defense, and i found out that was a tradition that dated back to some years before that he is always at the beginning of the line. anyway, when we got in and we had not gone across the stage the way people do now, they had all the graduate students first to stand and i stood, of course, with all the other grad students, and they told us -- well, the president told us to toss our tassels. i did. that was president omar clyde adahold. i tossed my tassel, and i was so pleased because i achieved my goal, and i went back a year later and got another degree because it was too few, and i knew things would never be the same because other black
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students would follow, and charlene and hamilton would be the first, but there would be others. there was such a feeling for vindication that all had gone on and it was well worth it. i was happy because i achieved my goal, stayed the course and was getting a degree. there were no media present so it was not advertised. >> it was not advertised and the news conference of it was spotty, as we have discussed. you and i have discussed one -- the white newspapers didn't run it that you had graduated, and that -- any a black had graduated from uga until weeks later, you know. >> six weeks later. >> six weeks later. okay. in the end you won.
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so many honors have come your way. you had a couple haze scholarships and fellowships to travel to west africa for six weeks, and brazil, the georgia music educators association which for years denied you membership. by 1980 was no longer segregated and the members couldn't resist doing what was the right thing to do and they elected you the president of the georgia music educators association. you were director of music for eight atlantic public schools. a massive responsibility. you know, you can cite music, you heard egg sweuzit music.
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looking at the photograph behind you, an entire college has been named after you. the mary francis early college of education. and of all the buildings the college is in, it's in patterhold hall, the man that tried to keep you out, one of them. if i might ask you, because it's such a hot topic and maybe you want to answer and maybe you don't, but that's up to you. his is one of the names that is controversially being kept on a building after his segregational and what some might say is a racist attitude, and what are your thoughts about your name and his name being there on the
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building, and would you suggest his name should be removed? >> no, it's a great sense of vindication as far as i am concerned. i don't know how he felt. i know that many presidents have to yield to the political climate, and if they are not in accordance with what most of the politicians feel, they might not keep their jobs. i don't know how he felt. what i do know is it just shows that things can happen, and i am sure that that would not have been his choice that my name would be above his on that building, because as long as the college of education is housed in that building, both will be there. when this happened in 2020, when i approached that building for the first time and saw it, i was just overwhelmed, because people think teachers -- they say, you're just a teacher but
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teachers shape the nation. i feel that what i did helped to shape some of my students. >> uh-huh. i want to say something you won't say when you talked about vindication. i do notice that your name is over his. but i do think that there's always -- maybe there should be a plaque where it explains here are these two people, and i don't mean to put him down, but just to expand on that this building represents a very dynamic time in our history and the idea that your name is on there because you broke through a barrier that, you know, in those times he felt compelled to try and mount against what you were after. he, today, were he alive might
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think very differently and want to be the first to shake your hand. i don't know. we would like to think that. i know you have a real special keepsake, a couple of them that is a couple of letters from dr. king, and would you feel comfortable if i were to read one letter he wrote you? >> oh, i would be delighted. >> this was a direct letter to you from dr. king in his own handwriting. am i correct with that? was it handwritten -- >> i don't know -- no, it was typed. he signed it. >> he said, i saw you at church sunday and i intended mentioning to the congregation you had become the first negro graduate from the university of georgia, unfortunately however with a crowded mind it slipped my
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memory, and i simply wanted to write this note to say how proud we are of you in your accomplishment. you have done a suburb job and brought the state of georgia closer to the american dream, and please know you have my prayers and wishes for the days ahead and a future packed with meaningful familia, and it's always a pleasure to have you at ep kneeser, and i almost look at you as a member now rather than a visiting guest. nice. >> that letter meant so much to me, because i went to his church so that i could hear him. i knew he was younger, and he was problem seven or eight years older than me then, and he was a conversational and he had good patience and he was interested
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in any aspect of the civil rights group, and i did not dream he would write a personal letter, and he did not get to the graduation because he was in albany at the time working with the civil rights struggle there. >> right. uh-huh. >> that letter -- the original one is at the russell library, but it will always mean a lot to me. >> sure. yeah. >> a lot. >> not many of us have anything like that in our collection. i think as we go to the questions, there is one that i see that i wanted to go ahead and voice from one of our -- one of our people who's in the audience. i love this question. michael allmer is asking as you navigated the turbulence of the 1960s did you have any favorite
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outlets like music or books that helped ease the stress of the times? >> no, in athens there were no outlets if i was on campus on the weekends, there was no bars, and -- >> i think we're frozen. is that me? >> excuse me? >> go ahead. i think you were frozen there for a second. >> i said that i went to a restaurant which is the only black restaurant in town. that was my only outlet. but there were no other places for me to go, and nobody else invited me to go anywhere because the students were still standing off. i had no one to eat with or talk with, so i listened.
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there's a song called "stand by me." it's really -- it's really a song that is about love, i guess. but i was thinking, god, stand by me. the lyrics, they fit the situation. it was written, i think, in 1965, but that song resinated with me. now, since that time i spoke for the freedom breakfast which commemorates dr. king's life in 2011, and it was postponed because we had snow in january, so it was changed to february. i spoke about -- i had to change my speech about love, dr. king's idea of love for people, and i was going to say the words to the song, what the world needs now is love sweet love.
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but i sang it, and i didn't mean to sing it and it just happened. but music can lift you -- i did listen to music on the radio. i didn't have a television, not in my dorm room. but if you can imagine going to classes, going to get food in the cafeteria where students get up when you sit down beside them, and going back to your dorm and just studying, i was -- i had turned 25 my first summer, and i guess i should have been old enough to take that, but sometimes the loneliness gets to you. but consequently it was difficult. i survived. i'm here today. i can't believe that almost 60 years passed since that first degree, but it has. >> books at the time, were there -- nobody -- i don't know
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if there would have been popular books at the time, but i don't know if you had anything you read that brought you peace, brought you solace and were inspiring to you, and maybe even the bible? >> i was about to say the bible was about the only book i had time to read because i was busy studying. i did study constantly, which is why i did well. i mean, that's what students have to do today. it takes -- it takes a person who has the resilience to just stick to it, because all of us have weak points in our lives, but when i got to those points i would go to the bible and i always kept the bible with me. >> something tells me you were the only one who worried about whether you were going to get good grades. >> well, you know, i didn't know. i had one professor -- i didn't
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stay in his class and he asked me to sit -- he seated the students alphabetically, and he asked me to sit at the end and the last student's name was zachary, and i said, my name begins with an "e," and i said no, and i was put in a different class, and if i stayed in his class i probably would have gotten an "f," but i was a good student. >> i don't want to hog the show here and i want to open this up for people to ask questions. claire, you want to take it over? >> thank you for being here, ms.
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early. it is such a good conversation, and for those of you who are interested, there's a book. we had a woman write in saying ms. early i was one of your students with ralph long as principal and it was a memorable experience, and i knew you were special but did not know what an icon we had in our presence, and how did you come to teach at cones as it was a new school when you were there? >> well, i started -- ralph long was a wonderful man and principal and supporter of the arts. that was my first job. he moved to west lee avenue elementary school and i did. i went to wesley, and when cohen
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was built, and he asked me to accompany him there, and i did. so i was teaching at wesley with him, and john oak with him and at cohen with him. >> must have been a very special person to -- >> he was actually a tennis player, into sports, but he was a strong supporter of the arts. i never asked him for anything that he denied me for the students, of course. >> another question picking up on that. grace asks, you were heavily involved at clark college and in the atlanta area for decades, and in what ways have you seen the involvement of black artists grow in georgia? >> well, black artists have always been in georgia, and it started back in the days of
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slavery, actually, and in atlanta in particular -- i won't say georgia, but in atlanta in particular has a strong showing. the only thing i hope at one point we will have more black musicians in the symphony orchestra, and they made great strides but there is still room for improvement. i have seen a lot of growth. when you have been here for 85 years, you have seen a lot. >> i imagine so. a couple other questions coming in here, in particular about some advice you can give to current educators and experiences yourself as an educator. i will start with the one from sarah, and she was curious after you started your teaching -- well, you started your teaching career and then went back to uga and then restarted it, and did
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you have to deal with racism from your students and how did you approach that? >> i never taught in an integrated school. all my teaching was done in all black schools. i went to all black schools, so that was not something that i had to deal with, but when i became a supervisor and then director of music i had to work with white teachers as well as black and i had no problems at all because i made them feel that they were part -- that i was not their boss, i was their resource and helper, and when they realized that i had no problems. >> shawn asked if you can share -- he says, ms. early can you share your thoughts at telling your students not to stay -- >> i took fifth, sixth and
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seventh graders, and i took them to the atlantic symphony concert, and the white students went in the morning and the black students in the afternoon, and i prepared my students to listen to beautiful sim phonic music. they had a program and the kids could look at the program and read the words if they didn't know them. we all stood, and when i heard in the beginning the introduction, and dixie was being played, i told them to sit down. they couldn't sing it because i never taught them dixie, and when they sat down everybody all over the auditorium, everybody sat down. and the conductor noticed nobody
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was standing or singing and he conducted the song to the end, and subsequent concerts did not include dixie, and he would sing the star-spangled banner or america the beautiful. it was a rallying cry for the confederates. >> do you remember what year that concert would have been? >> it was probably 1959. >> again, if people out in the audience have anymore questions, now is the time, but we do have time to get to the last couple. i am going to combine two questions here because they are very similar. the question is unfortunately racism despite it being more hidden and abstract in the 21st century society, it still
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impacts society? >> now that the schools are integrated i think all teachers need to be aware of their great responsibility in leading students forward. i know about the critical race theory that people are afraid of, but teaching history is not critical race theory as far as i am concerned. i don't think it pits one group of kids against another. i every heard of people teaching slavery and having the black kids act as the slaves and all kinds of things have gone on, but teachers, in terms of what he or she has to offer will want to give the best to their students because we are preparing students to go out into the world and make the world a better place, and if you can't commit to that you shouldn't be teaching, because
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teachers help to shape the world. right now we need that in our schools. we need it desperately. i feel sorry for the teachers who are forced to teach in-person without having a mask mandate. i know that many teachers are troubled by that. all i can say is god has protected me for 85 years and i am still trying to help him by protecting myself, and i hope they will, too. >> thank you for that. it has been such a hard year for teachers, a hard two years going on three for educators, and do you have anything you would like to share to the educators, because i am sure we have an audience right now? >> i would say to the educators, you are in the best profession as you could possibly be in. as i said earlier, people used to say, she's just a teacher. but all of us are really teachers. some of us are prepared to teach
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certain areas, certain subjects, but if you are a teacher who is employed in a school, know that you are handling the most precious cargo that you could possibly have. you are helping students to grow, and if you can keep that in mind, i am making a contribution to my country, to my city, to my school system, and you will get that feeling that i got this morning when a student called to say that she was looking for the link because she heard that i was speaking and she said that i taught her more than just music, i taught her how to live. that, to me, is what all teachers should do and they are capable of doing if they put their minds to it. >> thank you so much, ms. early. hank, a wonderful conversation leader as always. thank you for that, hank. now available for preorder
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in the c-span shop, c-span's 2022 congressional directory. go there today to order a copy of the congressional directory. this is your guide to the federal government with contact information for every member of congress including bios and committee assignments and also contact information for state governors and the biden administration cabinet. preorder your copy today or scan the code with your smartphone. every purchase helps to support c-span's non-profit operation. first ladies: in their own words. our eight-heart series. >> it was a great advantage to know what it was like to work in schools because education is such an important issue, both for a governor, but also for the president and that was helpful
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to me. >> using the material from c-span's award-winning series, "first ladies." >> i am very much the first lady that believes you should believe what you mean and mean what you say and take the consequences. >> we will feature first ladies, lady bird johnson, nancy reagan, hillary clinton, laura bush, michelle obama and melania trump. watch first ladies in their own words, saturdays at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span 3, or listen on the podcast wherever you get your podcast. good evening, everybody, and welcome to the law of merchants. i will


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