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City Native Gets Diploma 54 Years After Completing Requirements

City Native Gets Diploma 54 Years After Completing Requirements

The Charlottesville and Albemarle public schools have taken care of some unfinished business from the 20th century. The city and county have awarded a high school diploma to the woman who’s now Olivia Louise Ferguson McQueen. When she was the teenager known as Olivia Ferguson, she integrated a previously all-white school in the 1958-’59 academic year. She completed her requirements in what was then the City School Board office on the campus of Venable Elementary School. McQueen (pictured right) wore a graduation gown Saturday with the green and gold colors of the old Burley High School. Her father was the late George Ferguson, who sued the City School Board in the mid-1950’s. His lawsuit was aimed at prodding the city to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s order to desegregate public schools. Evelyn Yancey Jones is one of McQueen’s admirers and calls her a shining star.