University of Georgia to Honor Its First Black Applicant

Horace-WardIn 1950 Horace Ward applied for admission to the University of Georgia School of Law. He was the first African American to have applied to the university. His application was denied because at that time Blacks were not permitted at the racially segregated educational institution.

Ward, who was a graduate of Morehouse College in Atlanta and held a master’s degree from Atlanta University, enrolled instead at the Northwestern School of Law in Illinois. After earning his law degree, he returned to Georgia and joined the legal team that represented Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Hamilton Homes in their successful efforts to racially integrate the University of Georgia.

Later Ward was elected to the Georgia General Assembly and the state Senate. In 1974, Ward was appointed as a judge in the civil court of Fulton County. In 1979, he was appointed to the federal bench by President Jimmy Carter. Judge Ward took senior status in 1994 and retired from the bench in 2012.

Now the University of Georgia, which more than 60 years ago did not consider Horace Ward’s application for admission because of his race, has decided to award him an honorary doctor of laws degree at this spring’s commencement ceremonies.


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