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Illinois man is awarded his diploma 55 years after racist denial

Galesburg, IL (CNN) -- After 55 years, Alva Earley finally received his diploma after racism prevented him from obtaining it. 


In 1959 Earley was a senior at Galesburg High School in Illinois. He was already accepted to Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.


One night Earley and some friends decided to go to North Lake Storey Beach. At that time African Americans could not go there. When a school official found out the plan, he threatened to not to allow Earley to graduate if he went.


Despite the threat Earley went anyway and was denied his opportunity to graduate and receive his diploma.  


Bart Arthur, the current superintendent of Galesburg High School, says it is an honor to finally award Earley with his diploma. 

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