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University of Arkansas Honors Past Graduate Denied Commencement

Black woman's family receives respect due her in 1951

Washington, who followed in her mother's footsteps, has enjoyed a successful career in education. After teaching in the Baltimore City Public Schools, she served as education coordinator for the NAACP and later was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Yet, with her accomplished résumé, Washington didn't embark on this new endeavor to change the world. "My intent was not to start a revolution. It's kind of unbelievable that it's grown to this," she says.

And what her mother would say if she were alive today? "She was not the person to seek attention. She would smile and shake her head and say, 'Treopia, you know this is not necessary. You know you shouldn't have done this.' I would say, 'I know, but I did.' "

Carla Adair Hendricks is a writer in Conway, Ark.

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