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Facing intolerance, Miriam Fuller always kept going

Miriam Fuller has a long lists of “firsts” she’s accomplished in her lifetime.

Miriam Fuller has a long lists of “firsts” she’s accomplished in her lifetime. Photo by Julie Smith.

Miriam Fuller never let anyone stop her from trying.

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When she wanted to enroll in a typing course at the all-white Clinch Valley College in 1960, she was told by many that they would never accept her. She replied, saying they’d have tell her so.

“I always had the attitude that if I can’t go, tell me and then I’ll take it from there,” Fuller said.

But they didn’t.

Fuller, 79, became the first black student at what is now known as University of Virginia’s College at Wise, where she enrolled to learn typing and shorthand in order to properly prepare students of her own for paying jobs.

“Racism was really prominent at the time,” Fuller said.

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