Resources held by Special Collections on race and integration at the University of West Georgia
Lillian Murlene James was born January 5, 1930 in Rome, Georgia. In June of 1948, she completed a commercial certificate from Albany State College. After marrying Clarence Williams in December of that year, Mrs. Williams spent the next decade raising their children.
In the summer of 1963, thirty-three year old Lillian Williams became the first African-American student to attend West Georgia College. Registering for courses in English and geography, Mrs. Williams had initially planned to attend the school for only the summer quarter. However, she continued at WGC, earning both her bachelor’s (1967) and master’s degrees (1972) in education. From 1963-1968, Mrs. Williams taught at Hudson Elementary in Carrol County. After integration of Carroll County Schools, she taught at Sand Hill from August 1968 to her retirement in June 1995.
As quoted in a 1993 Perspective magazine interview, she stated: I couldn’t have asked for a better place to attend college. With what was happening with Martin Luther King and the Kennedys, it was sort of frightening, but I think the people in Carroll County wanted other people to know that we can do things the right way.