• UGA's first black graduate will be honored by Atlanta City Council this week

    By: Raisa Habersham, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    Atlanta City Council will honor Mary Frances Early, the University of Georgia's first black graduate, during its meeting on Monday. 

    Early will be one of a handful of people honored, including the city's Department of Corrections Chief Patrick Labat. The city is also honoring The Fox Theater's 90th anniversary. The theater opened two months after the stock market crash in 1929 on Christmas Day. 

    The honor comes weeks after the Georgia Board of Regents approved a request from UGA to name its College of Education after Early. 

    UGA will unveil the college's new name on Feb. 25, 2020, to coincide with Black History Month.

    Early arrived at UGA in 1961, a few months after Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes became the first African American students to enroll there. 

    She graduated from the university on Aug. 16, 1962 with a master's degree in music education, becoming the first African American to earn a degree from UGA. Early returned to UGA in 1964 and earned a Specialist in Education degree in 1967. 

    Early was a music teacher in the Atlanta Public Schools system and eventually was promoted to music director of the entire school system. She retired from working in public schools in 1994. Early later taught at Morehouse College, Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University as head of the music department.

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