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Expelled students to get degrees

Albany State University President Everette Freeman addresses the media Thursday at a news conference where he announced that the Georgia Board Board of Regents has granted the school’s request to award honorary degrees to 32 former students who were expelled from the college in 1961 during the Albany Civil Rights Movement.

Albany State University President Everette Freeman addresses the media Thursday at a news conference where he announced that the Georgia Board Board of Regents has granted the school’s request to award honorary degrees to 32 former students who were expelled from the college in 1961 during the Albany Civil Rights Movement.

ALBANY, Ga. — Albany State University’s fall commencement on Saturday will be a bittersweet moment for 32 former students who will receive honorary degrees from the university.

The students were expelled from Albany State College in 1961 for taking part in protests during the early days of the Albany Civil Rights Movement.

The 32 honorary degrees are the most ever awarded at one time by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents, and will cap a year-long effort by the ASU Student Government Association, faculty and administration.

“I can’t think of a better way to end a year of celebration than with the awarding of these honorary degrees,” ASU President Everette Freeman said Thursday, referring to the school’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Albany Movement. “This is a very happy moment for ASU. The students were exercising their rights during a time of racial segregation that resulted in their being expelled from school.

“But they went on to lead exemplary lives.”

University System of Georgia Chancellor Hank Huckaby announced this week that he, on behalf of the regents, had approved Freeman’s request to award the honorary degrees.

“The University System recognizes the unique nature of the situation that occurred at Albany State 50 years ago and applauds President Freeman and the University for paying tribute to these former students,” Huckaby said.

The school will award 31 honorary baccalaureate degrees and one honorary doctorate — that to Bernice Johnson Reagon. A noted cultural historian, Reagon also will be the commencement speaker.

“This is one of those moments you wait for all of your life,” Freeman said. “This is a wonderful time for the people of Dougherty County to come together. We thank Chancellor Huckaby and the Board of Regents for their leadership.

“Our recognition of these men and women completes a year of programs, remembrances and salutes to this extraordinary class of 50 years ago.”

In addition to Johnson, those being honored Saturday are Walter Armstrong, Marva Berry, Lillian Sue Bethel, Hosezell Blash, Ann Booyer, Bobby Burch, Henri Cohen, Janie Culbreth, Brenda Darton, Richard Gay Jr., Lula T. George, Larry Gibson, Bertha Gober, Blanton Hall, Gail Hall, Benjamin Humphries, Donchester Johnson, Opal Jones, Annette Jones, James Jones, Nick Louketis, Harold Manning, Alton Moultrie, Wilda Person, Ola Mae Quartimon, Charles Ranson, Andrew Reid, Jeanette Sibley, Betty Slater Williams, Evelyn Toney and Andrew Williams.

The graduation ceremony is scheduled for 9:45 a.m. Saturday at the Albany Civic Center.

Comments

43cop 3 years ago

Well, these degrees will be just as worthless as the "so-called" full time students. EXAMPLE: two ASU students took the entrance exam for a large law enforcement agency around Atlanta and the highest score was 43. The Captain that gave the exam felt that something was wrong with the exam and gave it a second time to both graduates and they really improved: high score 48. Enought said.

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bubbavet 3 years ago

DID THAT INCLUDE THEIR EXTRA POINTS FOR BEING A MINORITY? JUST WONDERING

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VSU 3 years ago

Don't forget to name streets, buildings & bridges after these people who did nothing.

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whattheheck 3 years ago

Why not a degree? They put forth as much effort as those who attend now. The only surprise is that all did not get doctorates and some form of back payments

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ObjectiveEyes 3 years ago

Don't give them any ideas!

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wonderbread 3 years ago

VSU - did they teach you to hate down there? Maybe you should go back. These degrees are well deserved - those ASU students made history and changed Albany for the better.

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TheMember 3 years ago

Wonderbread, I was having a boring day until I read your comment, thanks. Made Albany better, WTH would make you say something like that. We need to keep all comments serious and stop your jokes, made Albany better, you kill me.

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VSU 3 years ago

Changed Albany for the better? You have got to be kidding? What kind of crack are you smoking? Albany with it's high crime, lost numerous business over the past few years, Albany is ranked in the top 5 of the poorest cities in the country when back in the 60's it was the fastest growing city, but the last 10 years or so it has gone downhill fast. Changed Albany for the better...Really!!!!! Wonder what you have been eating with your bread, but obviously it isn't healthy for you. I agree with TheMember, we needed a good laugh.

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Sally_O 3 years ago

If Albany has changed for the better, then praise the lord it can't get any worse.

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herewegoagain 3 years ago

I will be glad when the Entitlement days are over. It will be then and only then will we see any recovery.

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bubbavet 3 years ago

REGRETFULLY, IT AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN

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chinaberry25 3 years ago

What I do not understand is were they expelled for life or a short while? Did they not have an opportunity to go back? If not, that is a violation of civil rights and money can be awarded. If not, they do not deserve anything because they had every opportunity to return to school. They should have been give free tuition, and a diploma only if they finished. Free tuition because of expulsion only.

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JustAnotherVoice 3 years ago

I guess I don't understand why these students deserve an honorary degree. If they had been at a white college or not at any college and protested, I would understand. But, they were black students at a black college and were expelled from that college for protesting. What did they do that the college expelled them for? Was ASC president William H. Dennis white? The article could certainly use some tweaking and expansion.

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waltspecht 3 years ago

If Albany State Expelled them for participating in the demonstrations, why would they accept the degrees from a School that obviously didn't support them at the time? To take part in these protests took courage, and that I will grant them. They are deserving of recognition, but not from the School that sold them out.

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TrixibelleBento 3 years ago

Getting rewarded for civil disobedience is not something I support. Otherwise, the Occupy-ers would all have doctorates by now.

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bany_baby 3 years ago

Chinaberry25, Bubbavet, VSU...you all need to find Jesus and quickly. Everyday when I read the articles, the same crew is on her criticizing everything! You 3 are ALWAYS so negative. The only time you comment is when you have something negative to say. The most positive story is smeared and bashed because of your negative, opiniated comments. You all are never encouraging and hardly ever stick to the subject. It is sickening and you all should try praying more and complaining less. You can get your point across without all of the negativity. Whoever you all are, you should try praying and asking God how you can be helpful instead of continuing to tear this city and the people in it down with the way you guys always speak!. I know you can't regulate a "blog" or "comments" because people can easily spit venom while hiding in the grass (in this case, behind your computer screen while you are at work) but I will continue to pray for you, this city and all those that dwell within it.

Although it seems bad around here, I know a God who CAN and WILL turn things around for the better and I'm just crazy enough to believe that HE is going to do it! Albany will get better! I have faith in a God who knows how to deliver!!!!

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firefly 3 years ago

So, here you are criticizing people for their negative view? Pot meet kettle. Next time how bout we just stick with your second paragraph? Can I get an Amen?

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bany_baby 3 years ago

If pot is meeting kettle then that's fine with me, if that's what you gather from reading my comments then ok. However, my focus is upon prayer instead of complaining. We need more people praying for this city instead of complaining. Be blessed.

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Sally_O 3 years ago

Actually, I feel God has deserted this city. Too much evil going on. Albany is cursed and Albany will surely burn in hell come judgement day.

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bany_baby 3 years ago

The bible says that "if my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves, pray and seek my face, and turn from they wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and heal their land". Let us pray...

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Abytaxpayer 3 years ago

Just another way to rewrite History. Yesterday’s thugs and criminals are now today’s valued Idols. No wonder we have the likes of Velvet Riggins, Gloria Baker, Victor Edwards and #34 as Leaders in Albany. I guess in the future we can bring this group back and give them the KEYS to the City. Quality in Quality out!

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transplant100012 3 years ago

Albany, Dougherty, Georgia, Slave Belt, and USA history has moved one step closer with the awarding of these degrees to healing the aftermath of one of humanity's greatest sorrows, the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade. Albany was one of the worst strongholds for slavery and the aftermath, which necessitated the Civil Rights Struggle and the fight of the ASU students who stood up for what was right.

The racial division that was sown so long ago is still evident. Unfortunately Albany and America may never achieve greatness because they will not face their past. The shame of it all is that the rich tricked many of those who think they are better than everyone else, which is why the 1 percenters own everything. IT NEVER WAS ABOUT RACE, IT WAS ALWAYS ABOUT MONEY---RACE WAS THE RED HERRING!

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Abytaxpayer 3 years ago

@ Trans ..............................Albany and America may never achieve greatness because they will not face their “Past“. Just how long do we have to keep beating this “past” thing? No other group of people have refused to move forward because they are bent on crying about how great great grandpa was treated. You are right it is All about the money. The check “Getters” will never be check “Writers”. Nothing to do with the past but all about self-worth. Folks with low or no self-worth are content to sit in self pity whining about the past but are content to walk to the mailbox to get their “Entitlement” check. Welfare is a necessity for people with real needs cause by situations beyond their control but sadly it is an “Entitlement” to most because of history. The sad part is this same group does not realize they are enslaved once again by the politicians buying their free will and self worth with a check.

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