Shadowed Places and Stadium Lights: An Oral History of Integration and Black Student Protest in Marietta, Georgia

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This oral history of school desegregation in Marietta, Georgia, focuses on football culture as a stage for racial reconciliation and rupture. The state championship that Marietta High’s first integrated team won in 1967 functions as the foundational event in Marietta's narrative of racial harmony. This discussion explores how that racial harmony narrative obscured black student activism, particularly the homecoming protests of 1969. The oral history and analysis here make a case both for the importance of excavating suppressed histories of activism, as well as for identifying the processes that obscured those events. Such narratives of student protest are, I argue, critical to how contemporary school communities can formulate a politics of racial justice in place of a narrative of racial harmony.