Mary Frances Early at a UGA ceremony in 2012 celebrating the 50th anniversary of her graduation as the first African American to receive a degree from the university.
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Mary Frances Early at a UGA ceremony in 2012 celebrating the 50th anniversary of her graduation as the first African American to receive a degree from the university.

The University of Georgia's College of Education will be named next year to honor the school's first African American graduate. 

 

Mary Frances Early was the third black student to attend UGA, but she was the first to graduate, earning a master's degree in music education in 1962.

 

 

She transferred to the university as a graduate student after seeing the persecution that the school's first black students dealt with.

 

Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Holmes had graduated from the same high school as Early. 

 

RELATED: 'The Quiet Trailblazer:' Mary Frances Early's Legacy At UGA

 

After the two were admitted to UGA, they faced discrimination and riots. Early, who was attending the University of Michigan, took notice and decided that she needed to help change the culture of her home state.

 

“I saw those two young people and felt that I needed to join the struggle and do what I could to end the segregation that was so prevalent in the South,” said Early in the Georgia Groundbreakers documentary about her life. 

 

Early would go on to become the music director of Atlanta Public Schools and teach at Clark Atlanta, Morehouse and Spelman. 

 

UGA's College of Education will be officially named to honor Early in February of 2020.

 

Mary Frances Early was honored with an official UGA portrait in 2018. Now, the university is naming its College of Education after her.
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Mary Frances Early was honored with an official UGA portrait in 2018. Now, the university is naming its College of Education after her.