HATTIESBURG, MISS. - Members of the University of Southern Missippi’s faculty held a viewing ceremony for the new Clyde Kennard documentary, Wednesday night.
Several members of the USM staff came together to make the film of Kennard, showing the obstacles he faced by being the first African American to attempt to enroll at the then Mississippi Southern College.
“This documentary premiere was a combination of two years of work that I did with three other individuals in the Freedom Fifty Research Group. We started doing a research project where we were taught measuring the racial progress on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi, and all of our discussions seemed to center around the attempted integration by Clyde Kennard at the university,” Associate Director for the Center of Black Studies at USM, Cheryl Jenkins said.
Director of the Center of Black Studies at USM, Sherita Johnson, one of the members who helped in the research project gave her thoughts about the premiere.
“It went great. This is what we were hoping to get,” Johnson said. “That is to premiere the film for the public to start discussions about Clyde Kennard. Who he was and why he matters. What is his legacy today?”
Kennard never got a chance to officially become a student at the school, but his impact is visibly seen today.