9 ASU students granted degrees after 50 years

Posted by: Mario Hendricks - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - It's a major milestone in one's life, college graduation.

Nearly five hundred students from Alabama State University walked across the stage to receive their diplomas.

Among those graduates were nine students who have waited 50 years for that honor. They were expelled in 1960 for their participation in student sit-ins.

ASU President Dr. William Harris called today's graduation historic.

"We wanted to recognize that it happened and to try our best to undo what was clearly to man an injustice. We cant undo it we cant change it but we can do everything we can to say that it was not right and recognize the sacrifices of the people involved," stated Dr. Harris

On February 25th, 1960, those nine students took a stand against segregated dining facilities at the Montgomery County Courthouse by staging a sit-in.

Back in February of this year, they were reinstated into the university marking the 50th anniversary of the sit-in.

The nine sit-in participants proudly stood before a packed house, receiving a standing ovation as they accepted their diplomas.

Many had tears in their eyes as they heard their names called.

"We honor and respect Dr. Harris for having the courage to do what was right. This should have happened many years ago we give him the honor for stepping forward and honoring us," said sit-in participant James S. McFadden.

Many of those honored now live out of state and traveled several miles to attend today's ceremonies.

They say making the trip back to Montgomery brought back lots of memories of the struggles they faced back in the sixties.

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