La Plata High School held a special ceremony Thursday to award diplomas to students 52 years after graduation, some posthumously.
In 1969, seven students decided to participate in a sit-in for racial justice. As a result, they were denied diplomas. The students were protesting because the school did not allow black students to participate in certain school programs. In February 2020, the NAACP and the school board held a special ceremony to recognize these people’s education. An official graduation ceremony was held Thursday.
“Forty percent of the students were African-American, and only one girl made the majorette team, and it wasn’t fair, and we wanted to change it,” said Kenneth Shirriel, one of the participants in that sit-in.
He says it was important to participate in the student sit-in, even if everyone knew the consequences.