Athens, Ga. — The premiere campus screening of Donald L. Hollowell: Foot Soldier for Equal Justice will be Monday, Jan.10 at 8 p.m. in Masters Hall of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education Conference Center and Hotel. Hollowell, a legendary civil rights attorney in the 1950s and 1960s, was lead counsel in Holmes v. Danner, the landmark case that secured admission to the University of Georgia for Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault) and Hamilton Holmes, the first African Americans to register for classes at the university.
The screening, co-sponsored by the UGA School of Social Work, the Institute for African American Studies and the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies (FSP), is one of the opening events for “Celebrating Courage,” the university’s recognition of the 50th anniversary of its desegregation.
The documentary was produced by Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work and director of the FSP, and Derrick Alridge, director of the Institute for African American Studies and professor in the College of Education. The documentary tells Hollowell’s story through his service as lead counsel in the Holmes case; his legal victory that won the release of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. from the Reidsville State Prison; and his effective defense of Preston Cobb, a 15-year-old black youth who was sentenced to die in Georgia’s electric chair.
“Even though the film chronicles a broad spectrum of Hollowell’s civil rights triumphs and achievements, there’s major coverage in the film related to the desegregation of the University of Georgia, beginning with Ward and culminating in the admission of Charlayne and Hamilton,” said Daniels. “I am delighted his social activism and civil rights work will be viewed by a new generation.”
The film was narrated by Hunter-Gault, who went on to graduate from UGA in 1963 with a journalism degree. As a journalist, she won Peabody and Emmy awards for her work. Others who played a key role in UGA’s desegregation were interviewed in the film, including former Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver; attorney and business executive Vernon E. Jordan Jr., and Federal Judge Constance Baker Motley, members of Hollowell’s legal team in the Holmes case; Federal Judge Horace T. Ward, the first person to challenge UGA’s discriminatory admissions policies and co-counsel in the Holmes lawsuit; and Judge William Bootle, the judge who handed down the desegregation decision.
Four FSP documentaries will air on Georgia Public Broadcasting during the first week of UGA’s celebration Jan. 10 – 13 at 9 p.m.: Horace T. Ward and the Desegregation of the University of Georgia will air Jan. 10; The Aftermath of the Desegregation of the University of Georgia and Horace T. Ward’s Climb to the Federal Bench will air Jan. 11;Hamilton Earl Holmes: The Legacy Continues will air Jan. 12; and Donald L. Hollowell: Foot Solider for Equal Justice will air Jan 13.
The world premiere of the documentary was held at the Woodruff Fine Arts Center in Atlanta April 15, 2010. The documentary viewing was followed by a panel discussion, featuring Jordan; Ward; Mary Frances Early, the first African American UGA graduate; and Judge Glenda Hatchett, star of the television courtroom series Judge Hatchett, who served as moderator. Actress Jasmine Guy was the guest host. Louise Hollowell, Donald Hollowell’s wife, was honored at the event.
The School of Social Work recently established a professorship named in honor of Hollowell, who died of heart failure in 2004. The Donald L. Hollowell Distinguished Professorship of Social Justice and Civil Rights Studies is the first distinguished professorship named for an African American at UGA. At the world premiere event, the school announced the full endowment of the distinguished professorship. A search is currently underway to fill the position.
The documentary was developed in partnership with the UGA Center for Teaching and Learning and the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies.
For more information on the UGA School of Social Work and the making of the documentary, see www.ssw.uga.edu:8091/plone.For more information on the UGA Institute for African American Studies, see www.afam.uga.edu/.For more information on the Foot Soldier Project for Civil Rights Studies, see www.footsoldier.uga.edu/.