They Arrested Him To Keep Him From Attending College

cotton field
L. Graciella Maiolatesi
October 18, 2022

In 1955 Clyde Kennard was rejected from Mississippi Southern College. They said it was because his application lacked references – but Kennard knew it was because he was Black!

Kennard published about the racism he’d experienced within local newspapers. Enraged, white leaders searched for “derogatory information” about Kennard to make his rejection more credible - but found nothing! 

Kennard stated he’d bring his case to federal courts if rejected again.

University leadership and police worked tirelessly to thwart Kennard’s admission, including arresting him for petty reasons. But one charge stuck. 

Kennard was arrested for allegedly stealing $25.00 worth of chicken feed and was sentenced to 7 years in prison.

In prison Kennard worked grueling hours on cotton plantations. Over time he developed terrible abdominal pain. Doctors said he was pretending so he could escape. 

His pain became so severe other incarcerated men carried him to and from the fields. Eventually his community rallied enough support to get him released - he died in 1963.

Kennard wasn’t recognized as a civil rights leader until 1991 when evidence revealing he’d been framed surfaced, but again blatant racism ensured he wasn’t pardoned until 2006! 

Even in death white supremacy can’t let us rest! We honor Kennard every time we call out their BS!

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