Man who helped desegregate high school in 1950s gets diploma

June 2, 2019 GMT

WILMINGTON, Del. (AP) — An 84-year-old man who was among the first five black students to enroll at a Delaware high school finally has his diploma.

The Delaware News Journal reports Salesianum High School in Wilmington gave a diploma to Fred Smith on Friday.

Smith and four other black students enrolled at Salesianum in 1950, four years before the Brown v. Board of Education case that dismantled school segregation.

The Army drafted Smith while the four other men graduated. After two years in the Army, Smith went straight to a job so he could support his mother and two younger siblings. He never graduated.


After he received his degree from the Catholic school on Friday, Smith returned to Citibank, where he still works the overnight shift, 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.


Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del.,