Trailblazers: The Struggle and the Promise - GT Jackets

Trailblazers: The Struggle and the Promise

In August 2018, Raphael L. Bras, Georgia Tech provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, turned to Atlanta sculptor Martin Dawe.

The provost had received a call from Francis S. “Bo” Godbold with an idea to have a statue dedicated to Ford C. Greene, one of three African American students who integrated Georgia Tech in 1961. Godbold, who led a successful career in the financial services industry after graduating from Tech in 1965 and Harvard Business School in 1969, shared a class with Greene his first quarter on campus. Godbold witnessed firsthand the turmoil Greene at times experienced and was deeply moved by his classmate’s courage in the face of adversity.

His idea eventually developed into a having a sculpture of all three of Tech’s first African American matriculants – Greene, Ralph A. Long Jr., and Lawrence M. Williams – dedicated and installed on campus grounds. The men made their arrival on campus in September 1961, less than five years after the bus boycott in Montgomery ended. That year, Georgia Tech became the first major university in the Deep South to open its doors to African American students without a court order.

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