Submitted by Camie on Mon, 02/22/2021

A new exhibit at the Special Collections Libraries chronicles the journey of students advocating for a more inclusive learning environment at the University of Georgia over the past six decades.

The exhibit, entitled Making Space: Fighting for Inclusion, Building Community at UGA begins with the experiences of Hamilton Holmes and Charlayne Hunter (now Hunter-Gault), the first Black students to enroll at UGA in 1961, as well as other early path-breakers such as Horace Ward, the first Black applicant to the law school, and Mary Frances Early, UGA’s first Black graduate. Located in the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s gallery at Special Collections, the display continues by exploring the advocacy of individuals and student groups for racial and social justice into the 21st century.

Through memorabilia, photographs, and official documents from university archives, Making Space illustrates the adversity Black and LGBTQ+ students faced, along with their work to gain opportunities in classrooms, in athletics, and in campus life. In addition, QR codes connect visitors directly with the men and women who lived those experiences through the Black Alumni Oral History Project and newsfilm footage from the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection.

“My favorite piece is a 1969 list of demands that shows the Black students coming together and deciding what they wanted out of their institution,” said Chanara Andrews-Bickers, a doctoral student in the department of English who curated the exhibit.

Andrews-Bickers said that working on the project helped inspire her and give her purpose while she teleworked during the pandemic.

“I began my position as a student curator in the summer of 2020, a time that for all of us was riddled with uncertainty.” Andrews-Bickers said. “This position gave me something to connect to. Reading the stories of people like Ken Dious and Pastor Nawanna Lewis Miller gave me something familiar, something to ground me and move me forward and remind me why I’m here – to research and share the stories within the institution and beyond.”  

A companion exhibit to Georgia Trailblazers: Honoring the 60th Anniversary of Desegregation at UGA, currently on display in the Main Library, the display celebrates the 60th anniversary of the desegregation of UGA. Archivists will host a virtual tour of the exhibit on Facebook Live at 2 p.m. Friday, March 19.

The exhibit will remain on display at the Special Collections Building through July 2. Before arriving to UGA’s campus, visitors should check their symptoms via UGA’s Dawg Check tool. Masks are required and visitors must follow social distancing guidelines in the galleries.

For more information about the exhibit, contact Jan Hebbard, exhibition coordinator, at jhebbard@uga.edu or visit https://www.libs.uga.edu/hargrett/.