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Reinhardt University to celebrate 50th year of campus integration as part of Black History Month

James JordanThe year 1966 was a turbulent one for Atlanta and its ongoing march toward integration. “Separate but equal” was slowly falling by the wayside as an enlightened populace realized the term just meant continuing more of the one-sided segregation that keep the races separate but truly unequal.

That was the year Hank Aaron hit his 400th home run. But even his rock star status in such a segregated society prevented him from enjoying the full privileges of being an American, much less an African-American.

On September 6 race riots, symbolic of that century of pent-up black oppression, erupted in The City Too Busy to Hate. But while Atlanta burned to the south, Waleska to the north took a bold step into the future as James T. “Jay” Jordan walked onto the campus of Reinhardt College.

Jordan’s first steps into the future as the school’s first African-American student charted a new course for the college, now Reinhardt University. His unintentional legacy will be recognized this month, along with other notable events surrounding that historic event 50 years ago.

Mallard QuoteReinhardt’s observance of Black History Month will continue throughout the month of February as it features the many accomplishments and proud heritage of African Americans. The annual observance will include symposiums, performances, and film screenings, with the cornerstone being the celebration of the 50th Year of Integration of the university.

And it all began with Jordan’s simple quest for a higher education from a small, private liberal arts college near his hometown of Canton. That eight-mile drive changed Jordan, as well as his classmates, forever.

“Reinhardt has a history of trailblazers among her graduates who have not drawn attention to themselves. Jay is no different; he came to our campus as a student, not as a headline,” says President Kina Mallard.

“This is the time to recognize him for his contribution to our history and for his accomplishments to society far beyond our walls.

“Because of that new day which Jordan brought to the college, today our campus is much more representative of the diversity of the greater Atlanta area. A full third – 33% of our 1,400-member student body – is non-Anglo and 20% are African-American.”

Jordan’s place in history – as well as those of other prominent African-Americans – will be celebrated and open to the public free of charge. All events will be held in Bannister Glasshouse, Hasty Student Center.

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