Southern Miss Students Compile Research Site Dedicated to Man Denied Entry to the School in 1950s

Students in a philosophy of law class at The University of Southern Mississippi are working on compiling a digital humanities site dedicated to Clyde Kennard — an African American man who was denied entry to Southern Miss between 1955 and 1959 and later died after receiving inadequate medical treatment while serving prison time for crimes he did not commit.

Students explain the Clyde Kennard case during a Nov. 30 community presentation at the Eureka School.Students explain the Clyde Kennard case during a Nov. 30 community presentation at the Eureka School.The University of Southern MississippiWith research materials on Kennard scattered across the web, the class hopes to build a "centralized, readily accessible" site for those materials. Through their own research for the course, students have been compiling materials from the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, transcribing previously recorded interviews and conducting oral histories with people who were part of Kennard’s story.

Dr. Samuel Bruton, a professor of philosophy and instructor of the course, which is one of several service-learning courses at the university, said that he uses Kennard's story to demonstrate how the legal process can be corrupted and how changes to the law are necessary to bring about justice.

“Legal change is the way to go about promoting justice through legal systems though it doesn’t always exist there,” said student Emma Cox in a news release.