College and the Council on Human Relations
Late in 1960, students from Berry
College exchanged research materials with African American
students on the campus of Atlanta’s
College, an institutional member of the Atlanta
University Center. Soon after, the Berry contingent decided
to show their appreciation by hosting Morehouse students at
their Rome campus.
Dr. John Bertrand, President of Berry College from 1956 to 1979,
and William Gordon, associate professor of speech,
invited the Morehouse group to visit. Word spread about these
plans, sparking a protest against the goodwill gesture, led
by members of the local Ku
Klux Klan and Rome's Citizens Council, along with a handful
of Berry College Students.
In lieu of hosting the Morehouse students, Bertrand quickly assembled
the Berry College community to deliver an address. On April 28,
1961, he delivered a talk entitled “Beyond Racism” to reminded
the audience of Berry's Christian foundation. He encouraged them
to replace prejudice and violence with tolerance and understanding.
Bertrand may have understood in a new way the challenges he confronted
on campus, and the obstacles that he and other moderate activists
and community leaders surmounted, in trying to bring about
peaceful social change in their area of the state. Just
a few months earlier, The
University of Georgia had very nearly seen its doors closed
by state politicians when two African American students from Atlanta, Charlayne
Hunter and Hamilton
Holmes, attempted to enroll. Riots had erupted on the Athens
campus, and many members of the white mob inciting violence had
not even been taking classes at the university.
That same year in Atlanta, Frances
Pauley, an established social
justice crusader, accepted a
position as Executive Director of the Georgia Council on Human
Relations. The Council had been initiated by the Atlanta-based Southern
Regional Council (SRC), which grew
out of the earlier Commission on Interracial Cooperation (CIC)
which had formed to eradicate racial tensions during World
War I. During World
the CIC dissolved and the SRC stepped
in. Chartered in 1944, the organizers of the SRC originally
established the Georgia Council as a bi-racial group committed
to a philosophy of equal opportunity. It did not directly
address the issue of segregation. By the time Pauley joined
the Georgia Council, the SRC had begun to question the legality
of Jim Crow regulations through the formation of state and local
chapters of the Council on Human Relations. As director, Pauley
hired Oliver Wendell Holmes, a black minister in Savannah and
an Atlanta native, as Assistant Director.
During her tenure as Executive Director, Pauley received word of
Berry's rejection of Morehouse students and their cancelled visit.
Eighteen days later, she traveled to Rome to meet with local residents
to form a Rome chapter of the Georgia Council. After the Council's
organization in 1961, Pauley expanded her network to include middle-
and lower middle-class African Americans.
Resources (click here)
Printable Version (click here)
1. What effects, if any, did integration have on student enrollments
and teacher hires among southern HBCUs? To answer this question,
select an HBCU from the list below. Research and compare its numbers
of students and faculty in 1920, 1940, 1960, 1980, and 2000. What
evidence can you find that attributes any significant increases
or decreases in student enrollments to integration? Refine your
comparison by observing the numbers of male and female students
over these years. What discrepancies based on gender, if any, do
you notice among the students, and what may be the reasons for any
differences you observe?
Alabama Agricultural & Mechanical
Clark Atlanta University
Florida Agricultural & Mechanical
Grambling State University
North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University
2. Read the article "President
Emeritus Bertrand Dies" from the
Chronicle archives, which discusses Dr. Bertrand's
contributions to Berry. What factors do you think led to his moderate
stance on integration at Berry and in Rome's public
3. In 1961, Koji Yoda became the first international student fully
enrolled at Berry College, three years before the college
welcomed African American students. Why do you think students enrolled
in southern colleges would have preferred to share classrooms with
students from other countries rather than African Americans?
Take it to the Streets!
Recent scholarship has expanded the timeframe of the Civil Rights
Movement to include the 1940s. Read the article about the Commission
on Interracial Cooperation (CIC) in the New
Georgia Encyclopedia. Write a one-page essay that addresses
the merits of tracing the beginning of the long
Civil Rights Movement to the post-World War I era.
Writer: Lavada Dillard
and Researchers: Laura Anderson, Christina L. Davis, Lavada Dillard,
Mary Boyce Hicks, and Professor Barbara McCaskill
Site Designer: William Weems
Freedom on Film is not responsible
for the content of external web sites.