Q: The all-white pant thing changed while you were there?
Q: Tell me a little bit about the desegregation of the University. I guess you were on The Red & Black paper.
TJ: I was on The Red & Black. I was covering the desegregation of the University. I was covering both for The Red &Black and for the Macon paper. As a result of the way the Macon paper had a relationship with the Associated Press, some of my copy made it on to that. The very fact the Macon paper entrusted me to report that important story rather than sending in more senior reporters was I thought pretty powerful. They played my stories out front. On The Red &Black, I was looking at copies that I have here. I was out front with my coverage as the lead reporter almost throughout that. It was definitely some memories I will never forget. I was part of the press pack, I guess, that was near the Arch as Charlayne Hunter, now Charlayne Hunter Gault and Hamilton Holmes walked through the Arch on their very first entrance. That's where I got to know my friend, Vernon Jordan. He was one of those who accompanied her.
Q: What was your view of the campus mood at that time and the way and the state and the University approached that?
TJ: It is like I will never forget, I would hear the shouts from the white students and look over and see friends of mine. People I knew well, who were shouting, "Two, four, six, eight! We ain't gonna intergrate!" Far more serious words of hate as we were walking along and I was about as close to Charlayne as I am to you, a young white student...I guess he was a student, assuming he was a student...tried to spit on her, and the spittle did not hit her, but it hit the arm of one of the security people right in front of me. That...here I am, I am really...I never experienced that in Macon, I never experienced it anywhere. Either that evening or the following evening, I was in front of her dormitory, Myers Hall, covering it. Angry group of students out front...out of the crowd comes a guy with either a brick or whatever...and threw it at her dorm. I guess trying to throw it at her window maybe. I knew him! I named him. I can say that he was an acquaintance of mine. I spoke to some of the girls in the dormitory, who were in the dormitory area where Charlayne was to live, and I will never forget that they told several of us reporters. Again, because I'm a student, I was probably like, and many people knew me by then, I was able to get access that many of the New York reporters and Atlanta reporters weren’t able to get, I will never forget that one had said that "Charlayne, we are so glad to have you here. Honey, we are so glad to have you
here," seems like he said. "We have needed a maid to clean up this place, these halls
for a long time." I just thought about--what a hurtful, hurtful thing. That led me to invite Charlayne to come down to work, because I knew that she had an interest in journalism, to work on The Red & Black. I'm not sure if I've ever told this before, maybe I have, but with the exception of maybe three or four of the staffers, she was mistreated by The Red & Black staffers. Young journalists...let me just tell you they were just not friendly...there were a couple of big exceptions. I'll never forget. Marcia Powell, that name just popped up now, was a great friend of her on the staff. There were a few others, but I thought of all things, here we are, a young group of journalists, and here is a young woman who wants to be a journalist and we weren't nice to her. That's one of my great regrets. Great regrets.
Q: She went on to become a fine journalist.
TJ: She did, including one point, working with me at CNN.