Knox Alumnus Awarded High School Diploma Denied For Defying Segregation

n-2014-08-11-earley-nprFrom: NPR (Washington, DC) -

(Galesburg) school district finally handed (Knox alumnus) Alva Earley his high school diploma — more than five decades after he attended Galesburg High School.

In 1959, Galesburg banned Earley from graduating and denied him a diploma after he and other African-Americans had a picnic in a park that was unofficially off-limits to blacks…Universities, including Northwestern and the University of Chicago, withdrew their acceptance letters. The president of Knox College in Galesburg later allowed Earley to enroll after learning about the park incident…

(Earley) kept (the 1959 incident) a secret until a Knox College reunion last year, when he told some of those former high school classmates, including Owen Muelder… “The important thing was not that I got the diploma,” (Earley) said. “It was that they tried to get me a diploma. They succeeded. They cared about me.” Read more…