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Mary Frances Early Discusses Autobiography, Civil Rights Legacy

UGA Media Relations

The University of Georgia’s first Black graduate has penned her autobiography. Sixty years after the integration of UGA, Mary Frances Early is releasing the book titled: “The Quiet Trailblazer: My Journey as the First Black Graduate of the University of Georgia.” She shares life lessons from her childhood, her pivotal role in helping desegregate UGA and beyond. During an interview with the civil rights pioneer, she shared insights into the book.

“The thing that I like to hear most is that, thank you for helping to pave the way, because that was my intent” according to Early. “I knew that if I got a degree that others would follow.”

She reflected on what life is like after being shunned, slighted and intimidated during her tenure in the 1960s to being admired and celebrated now.

“I did not go to be the first graduate. I’m honored that that happened, but I want to be known, when I leave here, I want to be known as one who helped with the desegregation.”

In February of 2020 UGA’s College of Education was named in honor of Mary Frances Early.

I knew that if I got a degree that others would follow.

“When we walked up to that building and I saw my name emblazoned across the top, I don’t know how to explain how I felt.”

Mary Frances Early will take part in UGA's Signature Lecture Series on September 28, 2021. She will launch her book and participate in a live conversation with UGA Women's Basketball coach Joni Taylor.

You can hear more from Mary Frances Early on Athens News Matters.

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