Summer 2010: Of Note

Snapshot

Lucy Huie

Courtesy Tammie Smith

History Hero

Clayton Historian honored with Governor’s Humanities Award

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By Mary J. Loftus

As a young mother, Lucy Cline Huie 39Ox 42G had a cross burned in the front yard of her Jonesboro home, probably in retaliation for forming a chapter of HOPE (Help Our Public Education) to try to keep local schools open during the battles over desegregation in the late 1950s. “They thought we were traitors,” she told an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter many years later. “It was worse because we were from here, not just Yankees who didn’t know any better.” She kept that charred cross in her garage for many years.

In May, Huie was honored with a Governor’s Award in the Humanities for her work supporting desegregated public schools, as well as later efforts conducting oral history interviews with Clayton County residents and helping Historic Jonesboro launch its Native American Heritage Day.

“For her, dignity, honor, and service are not just words,” says Jamil Zainaldin, president of the Georgia Humanities Council. “Keep in mind this was 1958, a very dangerous time to be so public about what she was doing. . . . We can talk about heroism in battle. Well, this is what it looks like.”

The daughter of a Methodist circuit rider in North Georgia, Huie has been a World War II army nurse, owned a travel agency, and helped run her family’s cattle farm.

The Clayton County oral history project was born out of an interview Huie conducted with her mother in the 1980s, after which she decided to broaden the scope to include other longtime residents, recording their recollections about social changes since World War II. The collection consists of eighty-eight audiocassette tapes, recorded from 1989 to 1998, now stored in Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library.

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