HATTIESBURG, Mississippi (AP) – Some students at the University of Southern Mississippi are working on a project to document the story of a black man who was not allowed to attend college in the 1950s.
Clyde Kennard was refused entry between 1955 and 1959 and later died after inadequate medical treatment while serving prison time for crimes he did not commit, philosophy professor Samuel said Bruton in a university press release.
Bruton teaches the Philosophy of Law course which explores Kennard’s case. He said it gives students a chance to see how the legal process can be corrupted and distorted.
The students took documents related to Kennard’s case and made them accessible in a centralized and accessible digital humanities site. Students researched Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission documents, transcribed previously recorded interviews, and conducted oral histories with people who have featured prominently in Kennard’s story.
Cynthia Myles, one of Bruton’s students, said it was a learning experience.
“Being able to go and conduct oral history interviews is like literally speaking to the story,” Myles said.
Bruton emphasized the importance of remembering and honoring Kennard’s story.
“It’s a clear example of racial injustice,” Bruton said. “This is a powerful reminder of an unacceptable behavior that happened not so long ago, right here in Hattiesburg and at USM.”
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