AUBURN UNIVERSITY – The Auburn University College of Liberal Arts will present a free, public discussion with Anthony Lee and Willie Wyatt Jr., who were instrumental in integrating Macon County schools and then attended Auburn University as freshmen in 1964.
Wyatt and Lee will discuss their experiences related to the integration of Auburn University on Tuesday, Oct. 1, from 2-3:15 p.m. in the Student Center, room 2222, as part of the college’s CLA Reads celebration and the university’s commemoration of 50 Years of Integration at Auburn.
Wyatt and Lee were the first African-American undergraduate students to enroll at Auburn, and Lee was the first African-American student to complete all four undergraduate years and graduate from the university in 1968.
The event is part of the College of Liberal Arts’ semester-long, college-wide reading of Anne Rivers Siddons’ novel “Heartbreak Hotel.” In the novel, Siddons, an Auburn alumna, fictionalizes her days at Auburn during the tumultuous civil rights period. As a student, Siddons served as a columnist for The Plainsman and was let go from the newspaper staff when she wrote a column favoring integration. The novel recounts the event and gives insight into the Auburn experience of the past.
Other events associated with the CLA Reads celebration of “Heartbreak Hotel” include a tribute to Siddons at The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center during the Auburn Writers Conference on Oct.18; an art exhibition and costumes display; and several open classes covering themes related to the novel. For a complete schedule, go to http://auwomenlead.tumblr.com.
For more information about Auburn University’s commemoration events, go to the website at http://wp.auburn.edu/diversity or the “Fifty Years Diversity” Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fiftyyearsdiversity2013.