Georgia State University to Honor Unsung Heroes of Civil Rights Movement

ATLANTA — Whenever Crystal Freeman looks at old photographs of her mom, it sometimes brings tears to her eyes.

“Well, I really didn’t know until high school because my mother never really talked about it,” Freeman said.

Barbara Pace Hunt bravely fought for change on the campus of the Georgia State College of Business Administration.  Today, it’s the Georgia State University.

“In 1959 there were 3 courageous women,” Yves McKenzie said.

McKenzie is with GSU’s College of Law. Barbara Hunt, along with Myrna Payne Elliott and Iris Mae Welch, took the school to court. They insisted they were denied admission because of their race.

“Even after the case was won, they still were not accepted as students,” McKenzie said.

But it helped to break the back of segregation in the state’s colleges and universities. Within 2 years black students were admitted.

“We want to say thank you. Thank you for your mother’s contribution. Thank you for the fight,” McKenzie said.

Georgia State will create a memorial garden in honor of what Barbara Hunt, Myra Elliott, and Iris Welch did. Crystal Freeman says although her mom was never able to attend this school, she was proud of the change she brought here.

“I’m so glad she lived long enough to see Georgia State graduate the highest number of African Americans in the state,” Freeman said.


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