A locally produced documentary on the desegregation of UTC will have its broadcast premiere this Sunday on NewsChannel 9, WTVC, at 2 p.m.
"Reaching the Light: The Story of the Desegregation of the University of Chattanooga" was produced by the Communication Department at UTC and completed in February 2012. The head of the department, Dr. Betsy Alderman, served as executive producer of the film, and colleagues Dr. Felicia McGhee-Hilt and Professor Mike Andrews helped conduct interviews with many of the former students, faculty and college administrators who were significantly involved with campus desegregation in the 1960s.
Alderman said the story is told in the context of the national civil rights movement and describes efforts by the city of Chattanooga and the board of trustees at the University of Chattanooga, as the school was formerly known, to make the local desegregation process "the most peaceful in the nation."
The film also features personal stories and comments from Dr. Horace Traylor, the first black graduate of the University of Chattanooga. Traylor received his master's of education degree in 1965.
It was Traylor's persistence that helped break many racial barriers at the school, officials said, as he repeatedly applied to the college until he was admitted.
McGhee-Hilt said the film tells many stories that have never been told before.
The film was shown for the first time in February of this year during a screening event at the school's University Center.
Updated @ 4:17 p.m. on 06/15/12 to correct the date of completion from 2011 to 2012.