*Before Charlayne Hunter Gault became an award winning journalist and influential figure in television news, she was a news story herself, for being among the first two black students, along with Hamilton Holmes, admitted to the University of Georgia.
Their entry into history books in 1961 was only after a series of court challenges, exhaustive media attention and violent demonstrations on the Athens campus. Gault recounts the harrowing experience in an upcoming episode of PBS’s “African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.”
The six-part series, which premiered Tuesday, is the first to trace the entire history of black people in America, with Gault’s story among those included to rep the post-Brown vs. Board of Education era of racial integration.
Gault, who has written a black history book for teens, hopes Skip Gates’ “Many Rivers” will be viewed by both the young and non-black audiences.
“I just think that a lot of the reaction that we get today in this cacophony of racial hatred results from ignorance, and so I think that Skip’s series will help that,” she told us at the TCA Summer Press Tour. “I’ve done a history of the Civil Rights movement for young readers, and when I go around to the high schools, the kids know two names, Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King.”
Below, Charlayne Hunter Gault talks a bit about breaking the color barrier at the University of Georgia.
“African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.,” airs Tuesdays from 8 to 9 p.m. through Nov. 26 on PBS. Watch a preview of episode 2 below.