Otis Taylor Graduates High School 57 Years After Being Expelled For Afro

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A 74-year-old blues musician received his diploma over 50 years after he was expelled from a Denver high school because he refused to cut his afro.

According to CBS News, Otis Taylor, 74, was kicked out of Manual High School in 1966 due to his hair.

"You had to have that James Brown haircut. You can have all you want on the top, but you had to be clean on the sides," Taylor said. "The whole school district was coming down on people who didn't look how they wanted you to look."

The critically acclaimed musician recalled administrators giving him an ultimatum.

"Cut your hair or leave."

Following his expulsion, Taylor went on to produce over a dozen blues albums and win several awards for his work. He received the ultimate award last month when Denver Public Schools presented him with a long overdue honorary diploma.

"Today is a day that we rectify the failures of the past," Auon'tai Anderson, VP of the Denver School Board, said. "I know what Otis experienced along with others will no longer happen in the state of Colorado."

When asked if he wonders how his life would be different had he cut his hair, Taylor told CBS News he has no regrets.

"The wrong happened a long time ago. So being a Black man in America, I'm going to deal with wrongs," Taylor said. "My kids went to college. My wife loves me and we've been married for 37 years. How can I regret?"

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