THE man at the University of Georgia who most often ends up dealing with problems of student behavior—and the only university official who seemed significantly interested in keeping order during the first week Charlayne and Hamilton were on the campus—is William Tate, who has been dean of men for seventeen years and, except for a few years as a prep-school English teacher, has been at the university since 1920, when he arrived as a freshman from Pickens County, in north Georgia. Early in my second visit to Athens, I went to talk to Tate about how the students had acted during the first week of integration and how they had acted since. His philosophy during that first week was merely “to keep some of the boys who feel strongly from making fools of themselves,” but both Charlayne and Hamilton came to believe soon after their arrival that the dean’s extraordinary concern for his students and his university included a concern for them.
Tate’s methods of keeping order vary greatly with the situation. One morning, during the first few days of integration, while Hamilton was being taken on an orientation tour of the library, I saw Dean Tate approach a crowd of boys who had gathered in front of the building. He looked them over for a moment, then began to talk to them about what the library was made of. The columns, he said, were of Indiana limestone and the steps of Georgia granite. The lobby, though, was made of Georgia marble, from around Tate, Georgia, where his family had run the marble works for many years, and, the dean assured his audience, some day, after years and years of wear, there would be nothing standing of the library but the lobby. The boys laughed and drifted away. When a crowd was more threatening, the back-home stories of the Dean’s life in the Salacoa Valley were replaced by the confiscation of a student’s identification card in an astonishing operation that combined an iron grip to prevent the prisoner from escaping, a swift movement toward the wallet to help the boy find the card, and a kindly hold to keep the terrified boy from falling. Dean Tate is a big man, with most of the fifty or sixty pounds he has gained since his career as a Georgia cross-country runner settled in jowls and stomach, but he is still too agile to be eluded by many undergraduates. A prominent nose, a tiny mouth, eyes squinting out of gold-rimmed glasses, and hair cut short on the sides like an Army sergeant’s give Tate the look of a gigantic, thoughtful owl—especially if he happens to be leaning back in his chair trying to recall the name of an ancestor or the position of a Georgia football player.
“First I always say, ‘Gimme your I.D. card,’ ” he said, when I asked him about his preferred method of handling a crowd. “I don’t talk with them or tell them anything. Their first instinct is to give it to me, and, more often than not, they do. I help them with it sometimes. You notice that out there I didn’t let them get around me, or get me over here and them over there. I move among them. I get personal. I call the names of the ones I know. I say, ‘Henry, what you doing over here?’ That’s a big psychological thing—a technique, you might call it.” In Tate’s view, however, his success in dealing with the crowds during desegregation lay in more effective weapon than technique: his background.
“One thing that was never forgotten in all of that hullaballoo is that I wasn’t a Yankee,” he said. “That big segregationist who was out there offering to put up bond for anyone arrested called me Bill all evening. After all, I was here. My brothers were here. I married a girl whose grandfather was chancellor. I have four grandparents and six great-grandparents buried in Georgia. You can’t have but eight great-grandparents, you know. There was no question I wasn’t a Yankee. There was the knowledge that this guy who’s taken up for the nigger, he’s sort of one of us. Things might have been different if it had been a man from the University of Pennsylvania or Harvard. I’m essentially provincial, you know. I used to say I consider South Carolina the Deep North, Alabama the Far West, and Florida the tropics.” Of the University of Georgia alumni who sent Dean Tate letters concerning his role as the protector of the Negroes, ninety per cent praised his actions.
“I think the main thing that has changed among the students since that first week is that we no longer have the boys who felt they could keep them out,” Tate continued. “That group has disappeared—either graduated or flunked out.” The leaders of that group, I recalled, had been law students, who seemed to be interested in practical politics rather than political theory, and who apparently thought that resisting desegregation was the way to the legislature. (Their favorite forum was the Demosthenian Literary Society, whose dominant concern for several years had been ultra-conservative political causes.)
“Well, old Dean [J. Alton] Hosch over at the law school is very sensitive about that,” Dean Tate said. “I’ll tell you, in every state law school you have in the lower section of your class some of the great future leaders of the state. Whenever you have a law school in the state, some people who think they’re going to be governor are going to be there—in the lower section. Naturally, the Supreme Court decision is something a law school ought to be interested in, and these people are. There were just three Law School boys leading that group, and all of them flunked out. Well, two of them flunked out and the other didn’t pass the bar exam down here at Milledgeville, and he’s an insurance adjuster or something. I think we’re getting along pretty well now. Oh, we had to call in one or two boys. A boy in the cafeteria used to throw down the change on Charlayne’s plate; sometimes a nickel would land in the squash or a dollar in the iced tea. I called him in here and I said, ‘I’m just going to tell you one thing and I’m not going to say any more and then I want you to come back and talk to me in a day or two.’ I told him, ‘I’m hired by the university and when you work in the line in the cafeteria so are you. I don’t care how you feel about things. You’re being paid by an institution whose policies are otherwise.’ A day or two later he came in and said he decided I was right.”
The current attitude of most students toward the whole affair, Dean Tate thought, amounted to a sheer lack of interest. It did seem logical that students in the mainstream of Georgia social life should have no more interest in Negro undergraduates than they had in anybody else who was not a member of their own group—especially if any show of unfavorable interest was likely to get them involved with Dean Tate. “Both Charlayne and Hamilton have gotten along okay,” Tate said. “I think the students have been friendlier to Charlayne. Hamilton’s got a very intelligent view of the whole thing, but he’s not exactly an extrovert.”
In the two and a half years since Hamilton and Charlayne returned to a chilly peace on the campus after the riot, the routine of Hamilton’s life at Georgia had not changed—or, as Hamilton, always literal and exact, put it the first time I saw him on my second visit to Athens, “I haven’t been able to detect any difference if there is any.” Hamilton still roomed with an Athens family named Killian and took all his meals at Killian’s Four Seasons, a small restaurant that the family operates next to their gray frame house. As Hamilton began his final ten-week quarter at Georgia, he had never eaten in a university dining hall, studied in the library, used the gymnasium, or entered the snack bar. He had no white friends outside the classroom. No white student had ever visited him, and he had never visited one of them. He had, as his father told me, “lived for Friday,” and had driven the seventy miles to Atlanta every week end since his enrollment. He could sum up his social life at the university in a few sentences: “I’ve gone to almost all the plays—three or four a year. I usually go alone on Thursday night. I’ve been to the football games. I haven’t gone to any basketball games because they’re on Saturday night. There’s better basketball in Atlanta—plus I’d have to stay here all day Saturday, and I can’t be fighting that.”
Hamilton’s approach to the situation he found himself in at Georgia could be defined as simple combat—combat that he had already won to the extent of being elected to Phi Kappa Phi, a scholastic honorary society. “One thing stuck in the back of my mind the whole time,” he said. “Danner got up on the stand in that trial and said if they had to take somebody, okay, they might take Char some day but I wasn’t qualified. That made me mad. But look, that guy said I wasn’t qualified and here I end up with one of the highest averages in the school. You know, when I went to Morehouse I just fell in love with the place; I had made a frat and I was playing football and I didn’t want to push it. But shoot, I figured we had gotten into this thing and we couldn’t back out. Then, after that interview and the way they brought it up in court, I was raring to come down here and show them. That’s why I got such a kick out of Danner coming up after my election to Phi Kappa Phi and congratulating me. He’s in Phi Kappa Phi too. It used to be he wouldn’t talk to me on the campus. Now he almost crosses the street to see me.”
Nobody else crossed the street to see Hamilton; practically nobody else even acknowledged his existence. There were some stares, and occasionally, while he was walking across the campus, he heard a remark flung from a passing car. However, unlike Charlayne, Hamilton, husky, athletic-looking and usually wearing a scowl, had never been jeered at by a student passing him on foot. “There’s one little boy that every time he sees me in his car he has something to say, but when I pass by him on the campus he doesn’t say a word,” Hamilton told me. “I guess they’re never quite sure of what I might do. With the girls they don’t have to worry.” Although Hamilton’s address and phone number were listed in the student directory, the Killians had experienced no harassment after the first week or so. “I haven’t had any trouble, except a few months ago I had somebody to flatten all the tires on my car, and they tore the chrome off my car once,” Hamilton said. “But that’s about all, except the incident at the frat house.” The incident at the frat house, as Hamilton had revealed in a television interview a year after it happened, occurred when he parked his car near the Kappa Alpha house and went into the infirmary down the street to visit Charlayne. He came out to find his car blocked by another car and a crowd of boys in a belligerent mood waiting to see what he would do about it. Hamilton eventually reached into his car for a flashlight and, holding it in his pocket and pretending it was a gun, persuaded the boys to move their car. After the incident at the frat house, Hamilton was bothered even less.
One cause of Hamilton’s isolation was, of course, mere physical distance. Killian’s, to which I drove one night during my stay in Athens to have dinner with him, is a mile from the campus, and Hamilton invariably covered the distance alone in a car. Moreover, his courses did not give him any reasonably small base of operations, where people could get to know him. “I haven’t actually cultivated any close friendships,” Hamilton explained. “Char sees those people in journalism all the time. In pre-med, about the time I get to know somebody, we’re separated and I don’t see him again.” But another cause of Hamilton’s isolation, as Dean Tate had told me, was his own personality. Unlike Charlayne, or most of the rest of his own family, Hamilton does not have an easy flow of words. He answers questions directly but is not troubled by silence—an attitude that may stem from a serious childhood speech impediment, which has left only an occasional, almost imperceptible block in his speech. Hamilton’s manner in the Athens Negro community, where he was well known and well liked, was about that of any amiable, successful athlete—a quick, friendly nod to one of the “street boys,” a tap on somebody’s shoulder as he walked into Killian’s. I remembered a lunch at Killian’s during the tense second week of integration when Hamilton, who had to face the crowd once more for an afternoon class, was pacing up and down the restaurant, obviously, if silently, nervous. Charlayne, who was through with classes for the day, had looked up in mock concern and said, “Hamp, would you like for me to walk you to class?”
When I arrived at the Killian house, Hamilton was changing out of his basketball clothes for dinner. He played basketball at the Negro Y.M.C.A. almost every afternoon, he told me—partly to keep his eye in shape for the basketball he played on Saturdays in Atlanta and partly just for something to do. His schedule had changed only insofar as the times of his classes and labs had changed from quarter to quarter—classes in the morning, back to Killian’s for lunch, classes and basketball in the afternoon, Killian’s for dinner, studying. His Atlanta schedule had also remained the same. “With me nothing had changed,” Hamilton said. “When I go to Atlanta, I play basketball with the same boys I played with before. I have the same girl friend. I still work as a lifeguard in the summer. It’s all the same.” Before we left for dinner, Hamilton got a phone call from Alice Henderson and Kerry Rushin, the two Negro freshmen from Atlanta who were then sharing Charlayne’s suite in Center Myers. They asked him to pick them up so they could eat dinner at Killian’s and study there, and Hamilton agreed right away. As we drove in to get them, he explained to me that he and Charlayne and Mattie Jo Arnold, a graduate student in music who roomed off campus, did a lot of chauffering for the girls, who had no car and would otherwise have been isolated. Hamilton, the girls (everybody lumped Kerry and Alice together as “the girls,” perhaps because they both are tiny and were nearly always together), Mattie Jo Arnold, and Mary Blackwell, a freshman music student from Athens who lived at home, formed a small society, seeing each other from time to time at Killian’s during the week, transporting one another around Athens, and occasionally meeting at the home of a large Athens family to gossip and play bid-whist. Of the two other Negroes at the university, Harold Black, a freshman living in one of the men’s dormitories, was rarely a member of the group, and Charlayne never.
When we returned to Killian’s, I asked Hamilton about the Canterbury Club, the Episcopal student’s organization, which, at the start of integration, had seemed to offer some possibilities as a home base. “I used to go to Canterbury every Wednesday, but I stopped going in the fall of last year,” he said. “We used to go for services from five to five-thirty, and then we’d eat and there would be a program from seven to eight, and after that we’d play cards and that kind of thing. Everything was fine. We all talked and joked and everything. But the next day I’d see the same people on the campus and they’d turn their heads to keep from seeing me. It got so I couldn’t take it. I almost blew up. I’d walk in that place and everybody would be smiling. It was just disgusting. Finally, I just couldn’t take it any more and I left. I didn’t say anything; I just never went back. After a month or so, the minister came up to check on me—because I had gone every Wednesday until then—and he asked me what was wrong and I told him. He said, “Why don’t you come back? Things will change.’ I said, ‘I don’t want you to go back and tell the folks “Treat him nice.” ’ He thought it was his Christian duty to check up on me, but he wasn’t too enthusiastic. I guess he figured he had done his duty to the Lord.”
Hamilton’s only other contact with campus organizations had been his initiation into Phi Kappa Phi, which was friendly; two or three visits to Westminister House for forums discussing integration; and a strange experience with a medical honorary society. “It’s kind of unusual,” he explained. “They don’t tap you; you have to make an application. The only qualification is an eighty-three average, which is only a B average, and being a junior and in pre-medicine. They initiate at the beginning of every quarter. They asked me a few times if I was going to apply, so finally last fall I decided to fill out a card. I was expecting to hear from them, and then a couple of weeks later I saw that they had held their initiation. I asked one of the boys about it and couldn’t get any answer. But I was busy and I didn’t push it. You know, they haven’t had any initiations since then—none last quarter, none this quarter so far. I put an end to that. Those people are so stupid—all that trouble just to keep me out. I wouldn’t have pushed it; I wasn’t going to bother with it. But here they quit initiating anybody just to keep me out. Those folks sure are stupid.”
Hamilton said that on his own chosen field of combat, the classroom, everybody had played by the rules and he had no complaints about the instructors. “If anything, they might have given me the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “One quarter last year I had a couple of instructors I wasn’t so sure about at first. They weren’t too cordial. I’d see them on the street and they’d kind of frown up. You know, in my position you get sensitive about such things. But I found out they just weren’t cordial types. I got an A-plus out of one and an A out of the other, so I don’t guess they were holding me back. The students respect me in the classroom, but outside the classroom it’s a different thing altogether. I guess they think that outside the classroom I’m just another nigger. It used to bother me. But all I can see now is June first. I’d sure like that Phi Beta Kappa key, but otherwise I’m just counting days. It was partly my fault, too. I’ll admit I didn’t try too hard. About this time last year I sort of gave up. I just figured I’d make it on my own. And, just so I can get home on the week ends, I’ll make it.”
Although Hamilton had often stressed that the atmosphere at Georgia would improve only if white students got used to seeing more Negroes around the campus, he had decided against trying to make himself a familiar sight. “Char wanted me to eat on campus, but it just didn’t interest me,” he said. “That just isn’t in my personality. I would have been going out of my way, and I don’t believe in that. At home I run with a few friends and my girl. It just wouldn’t have been me to go down there to be noticed. I’ve concentrated on getting some good grades; I was so determined to show them that what they said about me wasn’t true. I haven’t gone out of my way at all to make friends. And I don’t expect them to go out of their way—just go along in the normal way. I’m used to speaking to almost everybody I see. That’s the way I was brought up. At home, when I walk down the street, I speak to almost everybody who passes. It’s been that way all my life. All week I look up at people, wanting to speak, and people turn their heads. I guess that bothers me more than anything else.”
I told Hamilton I had been having a hard time finding Harold Black, who never seemed to be in his room or at Westminster House, where Charlayne had told me he did his studying, and after dinner Hamilton suggested we drive over to Reed Hall, the dormitory where Harold lived. “Harold’s an idealist,” Hamilton said on the way. “I guess he had read about college life, and he thought he’d come here and have friends and do things. I told him, ‘Slow down, boy.’ They tried to get me to talk him out of staying in the dorm—Dean Tate did—and I did think it would be better to wait until there were two boys to room together. But he’s stubborn. That boy’s stubborn. He thought it would be an ideal situation—playing cards with the boys and all that. It’s just not like that here now. Maybe a few years from now, but not now.”
When we arrived at Reed Hall, Hamilton walked casually through the lobby to Harold’s room on the first floor. He knocked, but Harold was still not home. The rest of the doors in the hall had slatted panels in them, but Harold’s panel had been replaced by a solid piece of wood. On it was scratched “Nigger Nest.” Hamilton looked at it and smiled. “That’s just been put there since last quarter,” he said. “I haven’t seen it before. They had to take the slats out and put this panel in because people were dropping firecrackers through the slats. But Harold doesn’t complain. He won’t even admit that anybody’s bothering him. That’s one thing about that boy. Maybe it’s because he wants to show me that he was right about living in the dorm, but he doesn’t complain.”
Hamilton and I drove back to Killian’s. As I left his car, I noticed that on the front bumper was a red and black sign reading “Georgia Bulldogs.” I had also seen Georgia decals or bumper stickers on the cars driven by Charlayne and Mary Frances Early, and I asked Hamilton why all the Negro students went in for such things. “Well, we do go to school here,” he said. “It’s school—spirit? No, not spirit. I’m trying to think of another word. I’ll let you know.”
I was curious to learn how Harold Black had got into the dormitory and how he was getting along there, and I asked Dean Tate about it on one of my visits to his office. He told me that he had offered to waive the rule that all freshman men must live on campus, since he felt, as Hamilton did, that a single Negro boy might still find it hard going in a freshman dormitory. When Harold declined the offer, he was given a room with no more fuss. “We do most things for this new boy,” Tate said, “and I expect if pinch came to shove we would have done most things for Hamilton, too.” He suggested that I talk to Dan Biggers, the head counselor for freshmen and the man directly in charge of the freshman dormitories, to find out how Harold was faring.
Biggers, a husky, straightforward Georgian in his mid-thirties, has his office in Reed Hall, and when I visited him there, he told me he was “mighty pleased and relieved” to see how well Harold had made out. “In many ways I think the boys believe it’s a dead issue,” Biggers said. “They just don’t talk about it. There have been some incidents. There was some trouble with firecrackers, but that seems to have calmed down. And even at the time, nobody went around saying, ‘Did you see what they did to him?’ There’s a bathroom near his room that could have been considered his own, but other people use it. It’s no use pretending that a boy on the third floor could be as openly friendly with Harold as he could with anybody else and not get into some social complications. But Harold has friends. He isn’t left to eat alone. We’re not at the point of social acceptance, but we’re going through a stage we have to go through to get there.
“Way back in the very beginning, the boys who were being overly friendly toward him were getting some pressure. I tried to caution them about being discreet, and I think it’s worked out very well. Charlayne worried about him a lot at first; she used to call up here like a mother hen. Harold’s done a lot of things that the others haven’t. He’s gone to pep rallies for instance, and those are pretty lively events. He takes physical education. He’s been to the campus movies. He even goes to a white church in town. Harold’s extremely level-headed; he sees the big picture, and he’s intelligent about it. There was a pep rally, by chance, the night after the bad trouble in Mississippi, and I thought it might not be a good idea for him to go to that one. I tried to call him to suggest that he skip it, and Charlayne called, worried that he would go. I finally reached him the next morning, and it turned out he had felt the same way and hadn’t gone.”
The attitude of Tate and Biggers seemed to the Negro students to be based on an honest interest in making the transition with as little disturbance as possible, which it was precisely their jobs to do. When Tate made a request—such as asking Hamilton, in the first weeks of integration, to postpone wearing his new University of Georgia windbreaker until tempers had cooled a bit—it was usually acceded to without question. But in dealing with some university officials, Hamilton and Charlayne must often have felt as if they were right back in the Athens federal court. What might in some hands have been a prudent means to an end became a stall that was meant to be an end in itself. University officials were sometimes so devious, so unwilling to discuss the problems presented by the Negro students directly, that it seemed as if they were afraid that Mrs. Motley or Hollowell would leap from the plaintiff’s table in triumphant accusation if they mentioned the word “Negro” or “segregation.”
For example, Harold Black was apparently the only Negro student who was treated honestly in the matter of dormitory space. Mary Frances Early had applied for a single room after her first summer and had been told that the space problem was precisely acute enough to necessitate placing one graduate student in a freshman dormitory. Hamilton had thought briefly about moving onto the campus and had applied for a room in a dormitory that was mainly for law and graduate students but that also had some room for senior honors students. “I went over the first day you could apply and they said they were all full,” he told me. “Shoot, all full on the first day—I knew that was a lot of baloney. But I wasn’t that anxious to move anyway, so I didn’t push it.”
Charlayne, trying to escape from an isolated room in a freshman dormitory, did push it, and, after the most serious of her disagreements with the administration, was still in Center Myers, the only senior there. The dean of women’s office, she said, had given several reasons for refusing her another room: that Candler Hall, the dormitory she had requested, did not contain any single rooms; that it did contain single rooms but none was available; that there was no way of knowing how the housemother in Candler would feel about having her there. At one point, Charlayne became angry enough about the runaround to ask Hollowell to go back to court, but he decided against it. Thinking it might be interesting to see what the runaround was like, I decided to look into Charlayne’s rooming problem, starting with the office of the dean of women.
Edith Stallings, the dean of women, turned out to be a short, chubby lady who looked more like a housemother than a dean and had a bubbling, cheerful style of conversation to match her appearance. Dean Stallings told me that Charlayne was a fine girl and had “gotten along just wonderfully.” She seemed grieved at my bringing up the unpleasant subject of room segregation, but the subject sounded much less unpleasant when she started talking about it.
“It’s not a matter of segregation,” she explained. “It’s really more a matter of consideration. It’s a kindness more than anything else not to put them into a dormitory where there’s a gang bath and shower. I know a lot of parents would complain, and why hurt a girl that way? We don’t like to put any student in a position where she’s not wanted. It’s not race. We have a problem with some of our own girls. We feel that if there’s a conflict we can avoid we must try to avoid it. We wouldn’t put a white student in such a situation. Why, we had a case where a little white girl was obnoxious, and the parents of another girl insisted they didn’t want their daughter living with her, so we moved the little girl to another dormitory.”
I reminded Dean Stallings that Charlayne was not obnoxious.
“Oh, no,” she said, appearing shocked that I should even suggest such a thing. “Charlayne is a fine girl. She’s gotten along just wonderfully.”
Dean Stallings appeared to be a lady capable of finding a pleasant interpretation for the most heinous turn of events, and it seemed obvious that she was defending a decision somebody else had made. When I inquired about this, she said merely, “The decision didn’t come from this office, but I think it’s a good idea, and considerate.”
The next step in the hierarchy was the dean of students, so I went to see Joseph Williams, with whom I had spent an uncomfortable hour or two in front of Center Myers Hall “that night.” Since my last visit, Williams had been promoted to dean of the College of Education. In fact, he was often mentioned as a possibility for the university presidency after the retirement of O. C. Aderhold, an agricultural-education specialist, who had been dean of the College of Education himself. Williams had still been dean of students at the time Charlayne made her room application, and he was quite certain that “when she applied at Candler Hall it had been sold out—there were no rooms available.” I told him that Dean Stallings had not mentioned a lack of space and had said that the original decision did not come from her office, which would certainly have had the authority to refuse an application if there was no room. “When I left the dean of students’ office in July, it was a matter of space,” said Williams. “After I left, I haven’t inquired.” Williams also explained that Mary Frances Early had not actually been denied permission to bring her family to a concert. “No official exception was made,” he said. “There was nothing official about it. If she had insisted, she would not have been denied permission. She was never told pointblank that she couldn’t bring anybody.” Williams told me that Negro students were no longer discouraged from bringing guests onto the campus, and that Miss Early, in fact, had invited an unusually large number of guests to her graduation ceremony.
Williams’ behavior during the riot had been a subject of fascination to reporters covering the desegregation of the university, and I took advantage of my visit to ask him how he had happened to make the decision to suspend Charlayne and Hamilton—a decision he had insisted was entirely his own. He talked about the danger of the mob, and the danger to other students. Then he smiled and said, “I knew they would be ordered right back in anyway.”
A few days later I asked Williams’ successor as dean of students, Daniel Sorrells, whether Charlayne’s room request had been denied for humanitarian reasons or because there was no room in Candler Hall. “Well,” he said, “it was really a combination of the two.” I thought of asking why a combination was needed if there was no space, but that line of questioning would probably have just taken me right back to Dean Stallings.
“We could go back to court on the rooms,” Donald Hollowell acknowledged when we met for lunch a few days later on Hunter Street, in Atlanta. “But in the case of the freshmen, university authorities would probably say that they were put in Charlayne’s suite not for purposes of segregation but so Charlayne could help them learn their way around. It’s obvious that she’s being segregated in the dorm, but it would be very difficult to prove. You would have to balance any attempt against the added notoriety, the added trouble and expense. We could probably prove it. The question is: Is it worth it?”
Unlike most Southern cities, Atlanta does not have an obvious scarcity of Negro lawyers. There are about two dozen, as opposed to four in the entire state of Mississippi. But some of them are not interested in civil-rights cases, some of them ask as high a fee as the white lawyers on the other side, some of them are incompetent—and most of the civil-rights cases end up in Hollowell’s office. It was Hollowell who, a few weeks before, had requested the injunction ordering the removal of the roadblocks that had become known as “Atlanta’s Wall.” He also had handled the case to desegregate Atlanta’s recreational facilities, had been associate counsel on the Atlanta public-school case, had handled the bus segregation cases in Atlanta, Macon, and Augusta, and was associated in the suits to desegregate Georgia State and the Savannah public schools. For a year or so, he had appeared continually in Atlanta city court with sit-in demonstrators. While I was in Atlanta, he was busy trying to obtain a new trial for Preston Cobb, Jr., a Jasper County Negro who became temporarily famous when he was sentenced to be executed for murder at the age of fifteen. Hollowell was also trying to maintain his own practice, and while he was going from court to court for Preston Cobb, in a successful attempt to stay the execution, he simply did not have time to desegregate Charlayne’s dormitory.
“I was writing a lawyer today about how much time is consumed by cases of this kind,” Hollowell said. “Just collateral time talking to the press, for instance.” He had to end our lunch early. Some of the demonstrators I had seen in front of the Henry Grady Hotel on my first day back in Atlanta had been arrested when they refused to leave the lobby, and he had to be in court to defend them.