Athens, Ga. — Students from Sara Cross’ fifth-grade class at Barrow Elementary School will take a March 3 field trip to the University of Georgia to learn about local and state history of the Civil Rights Movement.
As part of their year-long study of civil rights history, the fifth graders will gain firsthand knowledge of the difficulties UGA undergraduates Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter faced when they integrated the university in 1961. Their story is one of several featured in video documentaries produced by the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, a collaboration between UGA’s Russell Library and UGA faculty members.
Co-founded in 2000 by social work dean Maurice Daniels and education professor Derrick Alridge, the foot soldier project focuses on the civil rights efforts of “unsung foot soldiers” through oral histories and documentary films. A web site, www.fsp.uga.edu, with research materials, including K-12 curriculum for lesson plans, was launched in fall 2005. Daniels and Alridge, along with Cheryl Dozier, assistant vice president for academic affairs and associate professor of social work, and Jill Severn, access and outreach archivist at the Russell Library, will make presentations about the project and show film clips at the library.
“Just over 40 years ago, significant events in the struggle for civil rights took place on UGA’s campus,” says Bob Boehmer, UGA associate provost for institutional effectiveness and the event organizer. “It is important that the fifth-grade students at Barrow, which is located adjacent to the UGA campus, learn about these events that took place in their own community and understand the opportunities now available at UGA because of courageous people like Holmes and Hunter.”
The students will begin the tour at the front of the Holmes-Hunter Academic Building where Holmes and Hunter registered for classes 45 years ago. The building was renamed in their honor during the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of UGA’s desegregation in January 2001. Matthew Winston, assistant to the president, along with Scott Shamp, director of UGA’s New Media Institute, will discuss the significance of this UGA event. Shamp also will give a demonstration of a recent NMI student project (www.nmi.uga.edu/projects/podthology) in which material taken from video footage related to UGA’s desegregation was made into audio files that can be downloaded to an iPod. Commentary describing the scenes is also included.
Other stops include visiting with Robert Bryant of UGA’s Multicultural Services and Programs (www.uga.edu/msp), which coordinates campus events and educational programs to raise cultural awareness. The office also sponsors five student organizations, including the Asian American Student Association, the Black Affairs Council, the Hispanic Student Association, Indian Cultural Exchange, and InfUSion Magazine, a quarterly student-produced news magazine.
Box lunches will be provided at the Tate Student Center where Rodney Bennett, UGA’s vice president for student affairs, and Randy Groomes, director of multicultural programming for UGA’s Alumni Association, will share their perspectives on how the events of the Civil Rights Movement have impacted UGA.
This is the second year that Boehmer has partnered with Barrow fifth-grade teacher Sara Cross and Principal Tad MacMillan to arrange the field trip.
For further information, visit the following links:
Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies: www.fsp.uga.edu;
Commemoration of UGA’s Desegregation: www.uga.edu/news/desegregation