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Killeen’s first African-American graduate 50 years later

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Chelsea Hover
News 8 Austin

A congregation had more reason to rejoice Sunday.

That’s because this week marks a special anniversary for one of their long time members Mildred Bernice Anderson Debose.

She was the first African-American ever to graduate from Killeen High School back in 1958.

“I was not the only black but the first one to graduate,” DeBose said.

She remembers being treated differently by the teachers fifty years ago and recalls being called names by her peers.

But now, she sees those hard times in a different light.

Honoree Mildred Debose understands her role as a pioneer in Killeen.

“Years later I said well, the Lord used me to be a trailblazer for other African-Americans to come through the Killeen school system,” she said.

Tierra Martin is a freshman this year at Killeen high school.

“I think there’s more African-Americans there than all the other races put together,” she said.

But she said African-Americans are still faced with racism everyday at Killeen High.

“Saying you don’t belong here, you don’t do this, we were here first, and all that kind of stuff is still going on at Killeen High School,” Martin said.

Mother Debose said it breaks her heart to see the struggles of today’s youth, especially with drugs and violence.

She tries to inspire them to stay in school and get an education.

“Rise above social injustice. Rise above ignorance. Rise above hatred,” DeBose said.

Those are words of wisdom from a woman who’s been through it all.

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Written by Symphony

May 15, 2008 at 11:06 am

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