Our Georgia History
 

Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
July 3, 1918 Ernest Vandiver born, Franklin County, Georgia
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
September 3, 1947 Ernest Vandiver marries Richard B. Russell's niece, Sybil Elizabeth Russell
  Richard B. Russell, Jr.
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
September 10, 1958 Ernest Vandiver wins the Democratic gubernatorial primary, assuring his victory in the general election
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
October 26, 1960 Robert Kennedy calls Georgia Governor Ernest Vandiver seeking King's release from Reidsville Prison
  The Road to Integration
  Martin Luther King
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
January 7, 1961 After meeting with attorney Griffin Bell and others, segregationist governor Earnest Vandiver moves to stay Bootle's order to desegregate the University of Georgia
  University of Georgia, Athens (UGA)
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
January 9, 1961 Bootle stays his ruling forcing the University of Georgia to desegregate. Bootle's stay is ruled "improvidently granted" by an Atlanta judge. Vernon Jordan is told to escort Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes to UGA to register for class. Georgia Governor Earnest Vandiver, who is required by law to close integrated schools does so in a way that UGA can keep operating at least for a few days: He cuts off state funding.
  Donald L. Hollowell
  University of Georgia, Athens (UGA)
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
  The Road to Integration
January 10, 1961 Judge W. A. Bootle issues a temporary injunction preventing Georgia governor Earnest Vandiver from cutting off funds to the University of Georgia to prevent black Americans from attending class.
  Donald L. Hollowell
  University of Georgia, Athens (UGA)
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
January 12, 1961 Judge Bootle orders UGA to readmit Charlayne Hunter and Hamilton Holmes and charges Governor Ernest Vandiver with the responsibility of protecting them
  Donald L. Hollowell
  The Road to Integration
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
January 12, 1961 Judge W. A. Bootle strikes down a state law designed to cut off funding if the University of Georgia becomes integrated.
  Donald L. Hollowell
  University of Georgia, Athens (UGA)
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
January 19, 1961 In an attempt to deal with federal pressure to integrate schools, Gov. Earnest Vandiver proposes an amendment to the Georgia constitution that ends all laws designed to maintain segregated schools. In order to have it pass the overwhelmingly pro-segregation legislature, he includes a local option to close schools or integrate. This date is often noted as January 18.
  The Road to Integration
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.
May 18, 1966 Former Governor Earnest Vandiver, considered the front-runner for this year's governors race, withdraws his name from contention. He had suffered a mild heart attack and would not be able to handle a campaign
  Ernest Vandiver, Jr.


Governor Ernest VandiverRaised in rural east Georgia, Vandiver became mayor of Lavonia in 1946 and came to the attention of Georgia politicians Eugene and Herman Talmadge in part thanks to his father, in part thanks to his relationship to his uncle by marriage, Sen. Richard B. Russell. His early political career saw him as campaign manager for Herman Talmadge's successful 1948 run for governor. In 1954, Vandiver was elected Lt. Governor to Marvin Griffin. He was elected in his own right in 1958.

Faced with a major political crises as he took office (the state was in deficit thanks to the policies of Marvin Griffin and corruption in many of the state's departments), Vandiver worked to clean up the state offices, balance the budget and keep Georgia schools segregated. He had campaigned on the platform "No, not one will enter," a reference to black students entering white schools.

In 1960 he faced the forced desegregation of Atlanta schools. While working to obey the court rulings and state law, Vandiver was hit with a firestorm - a federal judge in Macon ordered the integration of the University of Georgia in Athens. Vandiver ordered funds for the college cut off. The following day the University suspended the students for "their own protection."

Federal judge W. A. Bootle ordered The University of Georgia to immediately reinstate the students and ordered Vandiver to protect them. Faced with mounting federal pressure to integrate schools and little choice other than integrate or shutdown, he addressed the legislature personally and asks that the laws to prohibit integration be repealed. That fall blacks began attending white school, although it would take nearly ten years and three governors before Jimmy Carter completed the job Vandiver started.

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Ernest Vandiver, Governor of Georgia





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