New film documents life of civil rights pioneer Clyde Kennard

New film documents life of civil rights pioneer Clyde Kennard

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A new documentary about Hattiesburg civil rights pioneer Clyde Kennard premiered at the Lake Terrance Convention Center Wednesday night.

"Measure of Progress: The Clyde Kennard Story" documents Kennard's attempts at enrolling at the University of Southern Mississippi in the 1950's when it was a segregated Mississippi Southern College.

He was turned down several times and ultimately was sent to prison on trumped up charges.

He died of cancer after being paroled.

The film was sponsored by the Freedom50 Research Group at USM.

"It's important that we know his story, because oftentimes in the civil rights movement, we only remember or know of the major events, when there are so many things locally that are happening that helped to make those major events possible," said Sherita Johnson, director of the Center for Black Studies at Southern Miss and organizer of the Freedom50 Research Group.

"A lot of research went into this, a lot of different hands were involved in this and we hope and pray that we put together something very beautiful that we get to share with future generations," said Bobby D. Steele, Jr., co-producer of the film.

The documentary grew out of a two-year research project studying racial progress at Southern Miss over the last five decades.