Mississippi college giving posthumous degree to black vet

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (AP) — The University of Southern Mississippi will award a posthumous honorary degree to a black U.S. Army veteran who was rejected when he tried to integrate the school decades ago.

Clyde Kennard applied several times between 1955 and 1959 to what was then called Mississippi Southern College. His applications were blocked by state, local and college officials.

In 1960, Kennard was falsely charged with taking part in the theft of chicken feed, and was convicted and sentenced to seven years at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman. While there, he was diagnosed with cancer but was denied proper treatment until he was critically ill. Under pressure of bad publicity should Kennard die at Parchman, Gov. Ross Barnett ordered his release in early 1963. Kennard…

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