Can I get a Witness?

before: Jet magazine (August 15, 1963)

left to right: Charlayne Hunter (Gault) and Walter Stovall

after: the marriage certificate of Hunter and Stovall;
witnesses were Harvey Pekar and his first wife, Karen
(Jet magazine/ September 19,1963)

South Carolina-born Charlayne Hunter Gault is a noted American figure in that she and Hamilton Holmes were the first black students to attend the University of Georgia, Athens in the early 1960s. The pair suffered terrible racial attacks and still made it to the top of the heap. For the past forty years Mrs. Gault has had a successful career in journalism, here in the United States and as a foreign correspondent.
Someone to admire? Most definitely!

In the year of 1963 — at age twenty-two, she married her first husband, a white man named Walter Stovall.
A handsome couple? You bet!
The couple met on the campus of U.G.A., dated in secrecy (usually traveling west, to Atlanta as it was more liberal at the time). Stovall was the son of very wealthy, very connected parents. As soon as word got out, the angry, racially tension-filled people of Georgia (Remember, this was and still is the South!) wanted both of their heads (More or less, hers — I am guessing.). Georgia's then Attorney General Eugene Cook said "We're waiting to put 'em both in jail!"

The pair married in a civil service ceremony in a Detroit, Michigan courthouse.
They made their home in New York City. And had a little girl, Susan.
Their union lasted for roughly a year or more.
Underground comic book writer and Jazz critic Harvey Pekar and his first wife, Karen, were their witnesses (See Hunter and Stovall's marriage certificate above). How The Pekars knew the Stovalls is not exactly known. Were Harvey and Karen taking care of business at the courthouse and the four struck up a conversation on the spot, which lead them to being their "best man and woman"? Did they share a love of Jazz and were friends beforehand? Someone knows. Harvey may have.

While flipping through old copies of Jet magazine (the Hunter/Pekar connection), I told Bob and it blew our little minds.
Pekar passed away today.
The story is an interesting one even if it may (or may not be) the full story.


Dusty said…
Lex10: Yes…Yes, it is. From other articles I have read regarding this marriage - Hunter/Stovall - Ms. Hunter-Gault does not speak of this union. It would be interesting to find out if she recalls The Pekars being their at the courthouse.