Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia’s ninth annual Mary Frances Early Lecture will be held April 15 at 4 p.m. in the Chapel. Open free to the public, this year’s lecture will be given by Maurice Daniels, dean of the School of Social Work at UGA.
Entitled “Unfinished Business: 21st-Century Civil Rights Movement,” Daniels’ lecture will cover highlights of the 20th-century struggle for freedom, civil rights and social justice in the U.S. It also will focus on the individual and collective efforts that are vital in achieving social change in the 21st century, according to Daniels, who has extensively researched civil rights in Georgia.
His book Horace T. Ward: Desegregation of the University of Georgia, Civil Rights Advocacy and Jurisprudence and his documentary on the same subject have received national acclaim. He is the senior researcher and executive producer of two other award winning public television documentary films about key figures in civil rights, including the TV documentary “Hamilton Earl Holmes: The Legacy Continues.”
Daniels, who joined the UGA faculty in 1979, has served in several positions including assistant to the dean of the Graduate School, director of the master’s of social work program and associate dean. He was named the school’s dean in 2005.
As a longtime member of the UGA faculty, he has watched the evolution and expansion of diversity on campus.
“While the struggle for social justice continues, the university has made important strides in diversifying its student body on the undergraduate and graduate levels.” Daniels said. “UGA also has made progress as it relates to the recruitment of a diverse faculty and staff.”
Daniels served as adviser for the Graduate and Professional Scholars for more than 10 years, which was founded in 1984 to support underrepresented graduate and professional students. He also helped establish the Black Faculty and Staff Organization and played a key role in the development of the university’s Institute for African American Studies and the Office of Institutional Diversity. Daniels is the co-founder of the Athens Area Habitat for Humanity and is active in civil rights and social reform organizations such as the NAACP, of which he is a life member.
Sponsored by UGA’s Graduate and Professional Scholars, the lecture series honors Mary Frances Early, who was UGA’s first African-American graduate. Early, who earned a master of music education degree in 1962, plans to attend this year’s lecture.
“Mary Frances Early played a pivotal role in the desegregation of the University of Georgia,” said Daniels. “She is a trail blazer, bridge builder and an important person in the history of dismantling segregation at UGA.”