Black Valedictorian Sues Her School After Being Forced to Share Honor with White Student
In 1957, nine black students were denied entry at the illegally racially-segregated Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, setting off a firestorm that became a watershed moment in the civil rights movement.
Now, a young woman claims another school in the state is still discriminating against minority students.
In a lawsuit filed against the McGehee School District in McGehee, Arkansas, 18-year-old Kymberly Wimberly says she graduated from McGehee High School with the highest GPA in her class, but was forced to share the valedictorian honors with a white student with a lesser academic record. The suit alleges a “pattern and practice of school administrators and personnel treating the African-American students less favorably than the Caucasian ones.”
Despite having a baby in her junior year, Wimberly took honors classes and maintained a stellar GPA. “I’m not going to say it wasn’t difficult. My teachers thought I’d fall flat on my face, but I kept trying to succeed,” said Wimberly, who will attend the University of Arkansas this fall.
Wimberly wants punitive damages and for the school record to list her as her class’s sole valedictorian.