After 50 Years, Lanier’s First Black Student Receives Diploma
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Monday, May 18, 2015
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After 50 Years, Lanier’s First Black Student Receives Diploma

In 1964, Sherlon Hosea had her sights set on graduating from a once-segregated Sidney Lanier High School.

One of the first three black students to integrate “The Castle,” Hosea made the list of those students to be transferred to Lanier as she was on track for graduation.

Yet administrative paperwork made it clear that she was unwelcomed. Hosea’s transcript for the first year displayed all Fs – in red ink. Determined to finish at Lanier, she returned and worked harder. The same results were posted.

Concluding that the chances of graduating from LHS were nil, she transferred to a private school, and then left the volatile racial climate of Montgomery. 

On Sunday, May 17, Principal Antonio Williams amended that segment of little known history. A visibly moved Ms. Hosea, donning the school’s cap and gown, walked across the stage to receive an honorary diploma.

“Ms. Hosea could have used her experience at Lanier as an excuse or a reason to give up,” Dr. Williams told the graduating class of Lanier during the ceremony. “She could still be bitter, upset, discouraged, frustrated with Lanier and the times, but she stayed focus and persevered through it all and today we say thank you. Because of you I stand here. Because of you, the class of 2015 stands before you.”

The honorary graduate, who attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., is now a retired dental hygienist and is an ordained minister. She is the proud mother of two adult sons and two grandchildren. Next year, Hosea plans to partner with LHS with an empowering program for the girls. 

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