Tony Barnhart

December 5

6:30 PM Doors Open
7:00 PM Program

Tailgate-Style Dinner & Drinks Included

$45 / person

$40 / 2+ tickets

$200 / table for 6

The 19 of Greene

Football, Friendship, and Change in the Fall of 1970

How integration succeeded on the gridiron for Georgia’s Greene County High School

The 19 of Greene narrates Tony Barnhart’s experience with integration in small-town Georgia as a member of Greene County’s first integrated football team. The longtime sportswriter, also known as Mr. College Football, details the Tigers’ surprisingly successful season, the enduring relationships he formed with his teammates, and the difficulties of school sports integration. As he witnessed the positive role that football played in the process of racial integration at Greene, his foundational experiences continue to help Barnhart navigate the persistent reality of racism more generally.

The early chapters set the stage for Greene County’s 1970 football season by outlining the roots of integration in the South beginning with Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and how it and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 eventually led to Georgia, and Greene County in particular, being integrated in the classroom and on the athletic field. Barnhart discusses how the three high schools in Greene County—Greensboro, Union Point, and Corry—eventually became one by the fall of 1970. In addition, he outlines the rollout of integration of the Greene County school district population in 1965–66 and how it eventually led to athletics being integrated in the fall of 1970.

Returning to each of the players, as well as the coaches, teachers, and administrators who contributed to that 1970 season, Barnhart interviews these contacts to revisit this important time in all their lives. Their stories make plain that football merely served as the backdrop for the sociological interactions and events taking place in Greene County, Georgia, the South, and the United States at the end of the civil rights era and how change would be as rewarding as it was difficult.

TONY BARNHART was a newspaper reporter for thirty-five years before becoming a college football television analyst for ESPN, CBS, and the SEC Network. He is the author of five books, including Always a Bulldog: Players, Coaches, and Fans Share Their Passion for Georgia Football. He is a member of the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame’s class of 2021, winner of the Bert McGrane Award from the College Football Writers Association, and a Grady Fellow at UGA’s School of Journalism. Today he writes for his own website, TMG College Sports, and lives in Dunwoody, Georgia, with his wife, Maria.