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updated: 8/4/2014 6:15 AM

Man denied diploma to receive it 55 years later

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Associated Press

GALESBURG, Ill. -- A school district in western Illinois will give a high school diploma to an African American man 55 years after he was denied one because he attended a picnic at a park where blacks weren't allowed to go to at the time.

The (Galesburg) Register-Mail reports that Alva Earley will receive on Friday his Galesburg High School diploma as part of a reunion for the class of 1959.

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Earley says his lack of a diploma prompted to two colleges that accepted him to rescind offers. He says he was ultimately admitted to Knox College.

He later graduated from college and went to law school and became an attorney. But he says he was denied a job with the federal government because he didn't have the high school diploma.

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