HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The following is a news release from The University of Southern Mississippi
An upcoming lecture series named after Clyde Kennard is a collaborative initiative sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters at The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi Humanities Council (MHC), Historic Eureka School and Freedom50 Research Group, an interdisciplinary cohort of Southern Miss professors.
The three-part series will present critical perspectives of the Clyde Kennard case in relation to racial progress at Southern Miss. "Can We Achieve This Togetherness In Our Time," will be held at the historic Eureka School in Hattiesburg March 23, March 30 and April 6. Each lecture will begin at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
The lectures will examine the (in)visible signs of cultural change that have occurred at the university, and the challenges it faces as a public institution marked by a sordid history of race relations as it also extends to the entire state.
Dr. Sherita Johnson, associate professor of English and director of the university's Center for Black Studies, will present the first lecture in the series March 23, examining Kennard's letters to the University making the argument for racial progress, specifically desegregation. "How the Clyde Kennard story is told matters as much as who tells the story. It is inspirational," Johnson said. "We want to preserve his legacy, not just a sad memory of the past."
Johnson's lecture will also feature Dr. Curtis Austin, associate professor at Ohio State University and former director of the Center for Black Studies at Southern Miss.
On March 30, Dr. Loren Saxton Coleman, assistant professor in the USM School of Mass Communication and Journalism, and Dr. Cheryl Jenkins, associate professor in the USM School of Mass Communication and Journalism and associate director of the university's Center for Black Studies, will discuss the student perspective on Clyde Kennard and efforts to desegregate the university via The Student Printz and The Unheard Word.
"Although the lecture series is a collaborative research effort with scholarly intent, its focus on a topic that is significant to the greater Hattiesburg community makes it relatable on multiple levels," Dr. Jenkins, said. "We want to have honest discussions about race and what Mr. Kennard's legacy means for everyone. It is my hope that the voices of former students, community members and, yes, us as scholars, come together to tell a story of hope, resolve, and progress."
The Coleman/Jenkins lecture will feature Dr. Riva Brown, assistant professor of public relations at the University of Central Arkansas, first Black editor of the Student Printz and editor of TheUnheard Word.
The final lecture of the series on April 6 will feature Dr. Rebecca Tuuri, an assistant professor of history at Southern Miss. Tuuri will discuss the evolution of Black student activism on campus. Her lecture will feature Dr. Eddie Holloway, dean of students at Southern Miss.
"This is such an important story, and with MHC, the historic Eureka School and university support, we are able to talk about Kennard's story in his community, which will hopefully help create a more inclusive dialogue about race and relations," Dr. Coleman said.
This project was made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, finds, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council. For more information, contact Dr. Jenkins and email@example.com or Dr. Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.