Man who grew up in segregation earns Ph.D. from Univ. of Alabama - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Man who grew up in segregation earns Ph.D. from Univ. of Alabama

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Jessie Latten went from playing at rush parties in a segregated South to earning his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Source: WBRC video Jessie Latten went from playing at rush parties in a segregated South to earning his Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. Source: WBRC video
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

A 62-year-old Birmingham man preparing to finish his Ph.D. is proof that anything is possible.

Jessie Latten grew up in a segregated Birmingham, even participating in civil rights marches as a teenager. Now, he's earning a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama. He first visited the school as part of an R&B band hired to play at rush parties.

He was awed by the University, but never dreamed he would one day attend as a student.

After high school, Latten left Alabama and toured with his band, but life took a hard turn. Latten struggled with alcohol until returning to his hometown.

"I returned to Birmingham pretty much a defeated person. But one Sunday morning, the Lord save me. I became a new person. I went back to grad school at age 53. I received my Master's degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2005 and I entered the doctoral program at the University of Alabama in 2006," Latten said.

Latten also earned a BA from the Universiity of Massachussetts, Amherst. This Saturday, Latten will receive his Ph.D. in Counselor Education.

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