Opera Tells How Georgia Racism Backfired





STATESBORO, Ga. — At the end of Act One, the tenor wearing a white suit and trademark red suspenders clutches his fat cigar in a smoldering rage.

"I'm not gonna put up with any social equality in this state as long as I'm governor," he sings in a dark, resonant voice. "We don't need no Negroes and white people taught together."

The segregationist Gov. Eugene Talmadge, still one of Georgia's most theatrical political figures 60 years after his death, is taking center stage again _ this time as the villain in an opera.

"A Scholar Under Siege," composed by Georgia Southern University music professor Michael Braz, tells the true story of how Talmadge in 1941 fired the college's president amid suspicions that he supported integrating the school.

The opera, which opens on campus Friday and runs through the weekend, was written for the university's 100th anniversary celebration this year. ...


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