This council was a blend of about 50 black and white concerned leaders and they went to extreme measures to bring about peaceful changes.
The group started in 1959 with secret meetings held out on the Edgefield Farm, owned at that time by Martha Griffin, who was then the director of the art department at Shorter College. Franziska Boas, her best friend, was the one who developed the idea of trying this approach. She notified several of their colleagues and they started meeting weekly for sometimes four to five hours, developing strategies to bring the community together.
They would negotiate on major issues that would arise. I kept the notes during the meetings. Representatives from the colleges would seek out prospective students, prepare them for registration for classes and acquire financial assistance for those who needed help.
They also escorted them on campus to their classes. Their enrollment was successful due to the collaboration of these concerned citizens. The council members met with the superintendents, principals and teachers of the public schools for a plan of action to bring about peaceful integration. It was not easy or always positive, but it was successful and without any major violence.
Some of the members of the council were John Bertrand, president of Berry College, Randall Minor, president of Shorter College, Phillip Grier, John Lipscom, Lewis Lipps, Griffin and Boas, college professors, Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Aycock, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Jones, Capus White, Samuel Burrell, M.J. Darko, Edith Lyons, Lois Bryant, Sara Hixon, E.R.Trigg, Ethel Hyer, Mattie Terhune, the Esserman and Heyman families, the principals of the school, several ministers of various denominations, and myself.
After the initial formation, the Council met monthly, and sponsored an annual banquet as a fundraiser and a time of fellowship. After about 20 years the group gradually dwindled, mostly because of so many members passing away, and then it disbanded.
We really need to organize another council that is as effective as this one was.