Marker honors first African-American students at Statesboro Campus
In 1965, seven black men and women made history as the first African-Americans to enroll on the Georgia Southern Statesboro Campus. Today, a historical marker is prominently displayed on Sweetheart Circle in front of the Marvin Pittman Administration Building to recognize those trailblazers.
John Bradley, a high school teacher in Statesboro, enrolled as a graduate student in January 1965. That fall, six undergraduates joined him. They were Clavelia Love Brinson, Arlene Daughtry, Ulysee Mosley, Shirley Woodall, Jesse Zeigler Carter and Catherine Davis, a sophomore transfer student who would become the first black student to earn a degree at Georgia Southern.
Carter and Mosley were among many black alumni who returned to campus for the public unveiling last spring. Mosley, a retired principal who lives in Indianapolis, said the ceremony was an emotional experience. “Our passion to succeed was not an easy task, and it was by sheer amount of will that we manifested that which we visualized,” he added.
Carter, also a retired educator, said she was proud to be one of “the brave warriors who paved the way for the many students who followed.”
Mosley grew up in Albany, Georgia, and was Georgia Southern’s second black graduate. He was thrilled to be back on campus to reunite with college friends he hadn’t seen in decades.
“I take pride in saying that racial inclusion at Georgia Southern did not come from my own efforts, but with the help of my colleagues who stood with me during those trying times of racial integration,” he said. “Reuniting with pioneers that I hadn’t seen in 50 years was exciting. I saw Carolyn Milton* who had a sway in her walk and an infectious laugh; Jessie Zeigler, who exuded a strong attitude of pride; and there was John Lawrence.* I ate many meals at John and Barbara’s table in Swainsboro, Georgia.”
In his remarks, Georgia Southern University President Jaimie Hebert, Ph.D., said the marker “will serve as a constant reminder of the bravery and perseverance of our first African-American students, and the community they built.”
*Carolyn Milton and John Lawrence entered in fall 1966.