USM students work on digital site dedicated to Kennard’s story – Picayune Item

Students in a philosophy of law course at the University of Southern Mississippi (USM) this semester looked at living history while beginning to work on a digital humanities site dedicated to Clyde’s story. Kennard.

Kennard, an African American who was refused entry to the Southern Miss between 1955 and 1959 by university, local and state officials, died of inadequate medical treatment while serving a prison sentence for crimes for which he had been falsely accused.

Philosophy professor and course instructor Dr Samuel Bruton explains that the Kennard case offers students the opportunity to see how the judicial process can be corrupted and distorted. The students’ research during the course also contributed to the greater benefit of compiling material related to the Kennards case, which is currently only available in places scattered across the web, for a centralized and easily accessible humanities site. digital.

Students researched Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission documents, transcribed previously recorded interviews, and conducted oral histories with people who have featured prominently in Kennard’s story.

The information gathered will soon be available on the new Digital Humanities website and was also showcased this fall at Presbyterian Christian School, Sacred Heart High School, and in a community presentation at Eureka School. During the Eureka School presentation, students got to hear many people who knew Kennard and were actively involved in his case.

Cynthia Myles, one of Bruton’s students, said the opportunity was a learning experience.

“Being able to go and conduct oral history interviews is like literally speaking to the story,” Myles said.

And although Kennard did not see legal justice during his lifetime, Bruton’s students see how much change in the law is needed to bring about justice.

“Legal change is the way to promote justice through legal systems, although it doesn’t always exist there,” said student Emma Cox.

Bruton emphasized the importance of always remembering and honoring Kennard’s story.

“It’s a clear example of racial injustice,” Bruton said. “This is a powerful reminder of an unacceptable behavior that happened not so long ago, right here in Hattiesburg and at USM.”

PHI 453 is one of several service learning courses offered at the University of Southern Mississippi. Service learning courses are supported by the Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and involve course-based and credited educational experiences in which students participate in organized service activities that meet identified community needs, A list of service learning courses offered at USM can be found on the Center for Community Engagement website at usm.edu/cce.


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