Pine Belt residents take time out to commemorate civil rights pi - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

Pine Belt residents take time out to commemorate civil rights pioneer

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HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

While many began their day starting up the grill, others kicked off Independence Day by remembering a civil rights pioneer.

Mary Magdalene Baptist Church took the time out to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the death of Clyde Kennard. Kennard was the first known African American to seek enrollment at Mississippi Southern College, now known as the University of Southern Mississippi. He applied in 1956, 1957, and 1959, but was never allowed to enroll.

On Thursday, church members along with Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree, State Representative Percy Watson and Dennis Dahmer paid their respects to a man they believe paved the way for many African Americans.

“If it not had been for him I don't think we would be at the University of Southern Mississippi today, Carey College, Jones Junior College, any of the colleges and universities in South Mississippi,” said church member Gloria Pack.

Kennard died from colon cancer in 1963.

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