College's invitation to integrate made history





SWANNANOA, North Carolina (AP) -- There is no monument to Alma Shippy.

No plaque describes how, in 1952, the shy teenager packed a bag of clothes, caught a ride in a friend's pickup truck and walked into history on the campus of Warren Wilson Junior College.

It's an obscure vignette in civil rights history. Shippy not only was Warren Wilson's first black student, but one of the few to attend any segregated college or junior college by invitation -- and not by court order and armed escort.

A core of Shippy's family and friends -- some of whom paved his way and some whose path was paved by him -- want wider attention for what they see as a bright moment of brotherhood in one of the South's darkest eras.

"There were no dogs, no guns. He didn't have to be shot at. There was nobody that was beaten up, nobody died because he came here," says Rodney Lytle, a 1974 Warren Wilson graduate and now the school's multicultural adviser. "And that -- that story -- that is beautiful!"

And it didn't happen by chance....

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