Activist Clyde Kennard

Activist Clyde Kennard
June 21, 1927 – July 4, 1963

Clyde Kennard was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. When he was 12, he moved to Chicago to attend school.  He graduated from Wendell Phillips High School.

He joined the military in 1945 and served in both Germany and Korea until 1952 when he was honorably discharged.

Activist Clyde Kennard

Furthering education 

After the war, he returned to Chicago and completed three years of study at the University of Chicago. In 1955, Kennard returned to Hattiesburg to help care for his mother and run the family farm. Kennard wanted to complete his college education, so he sought to enroll at the all-white Mississippi Southern College, now the University of Southern Mississippi.

In 1955, Clyde Kennard attempted to enroll in Mississippi Southern College, an all-white public university in Hattiesburg.  His credentials met the criteria for admission, but the university denied his  application on the ground that he had been unable to provide references from five alumni in his home county.

In actuality, of course, it was because he was black.Activist Clyde Kennard

Continued attempts

In 1958, Kennard argued that “merit be used as a measuring stick rather than race. We believe that for men to work together best, they must be trained together in their youth. We believe that there is more to going to school than listening to the teacher and reciting lessons. In school one learns to appreciate and respect the abilities of the other.”

On December 6, 1958, Kennard published a letter in the Hattiesburg American newspaper. He argued that “merit be used as a measuring stick rather than race. We believe that for men to work together best, they must be trained together in their youth. We believe that there is more to going to school than listening to the teacher and reciting lessons. In school one learns to appreciate and respect the abilities of the other.”

In response, the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission – a state agency formed to protect segregation – hired investigators to research Kennard’s background and uncover details that could be used to discredit him; these attempts were unsuccessful.

Kennard withdrew his application after Mississippi Governor James P. Coleman met personally with him to convince him to desist from applying to Mississippi Southern.

Activist Clyde Kennard

Framed

Kennard did not give up and reapplied in August 1959, threatening to take up the derailment of his application in federal court. He was again rejected on a technicality.

On September 15, 1959, the college president again rejected Kennard’s application on a technicality. Leaving the meeting,  constables Charlie Ward and Lee Daniels arrested Kennard for reckless driving.

Ward and Daniels claimed before Justice of the Peace T. C. Hobby to have found five half pints of whiskey, along with other liquor, under the seat of Kennard’s car. Mississippi was a “dry” state, and possession of liquor was illegal.

Shortly afterward, on September 25, the Hattiesburg American published another letter Kennard wrote. In it he wrote, ““[W]e have no desire for revenge in our hearts. What we want is to be respected as men and women, given an opportunity to compete with you in the great and interesting race of life. We want your friends to be our friends; we want your enemies to be our enemies; we want your hopes and ambitions to be our hopes and ambitions, and your joys and sorrows to be our joys and sorrows.”

Activist Clyde Kennard

Convicted

Kennard was convicted and fined $600. He soon became the victim of an unofficial local economic boycott (also a tactic of the Sovereignty Commission), which cut off his credit.

All these claims were false, of course, and were meant to keep Kennard from continuing to apply to the university.

It didn’t. Kennard continued his attempts to register at Mississippi Southern.

Activist Clyde Kennard

Imprisoned

On January 23, 1960, after his third attempt to enter the college and his arrest on bogus charges, Kennard was still not ready to give up the fight. He wrote to the editor that he had “done all that is within my power to follow a reasonable course in this matter… I have tried to make it clear that my love for the State of Mississippi and my hope for its peaceful prosperity is equal to any man’s alive. The thought of presenting this request before a Federal Court for consideration, with all the publicity and misrepresentation which that would bring about, makes my heart heavy. Yet, what other course can I take?

He was arrested again on September 25, 1960 with an alleged accomplice for the theft of $25 worth of chicken feed from the Forrest County Cooperative warehouse. Kennard went to trial, with the accomplice, Johnny Lee Roberts, testifying that Kennard paid him to steal the feed.

On November 21, 1960, an all-white jury deliberated 10 minutes and found Kennard guilty.  He was convicted and sentenced to seven years at Parchman Penitentiary.

Speaking at a rally in support of his friend, the NAACP activist Medgar Evers broke down in tears as he described the “mockery of judicial justice” in Kennard’s case.

Activist Clyde Kennard

Cancer

He was diagnosed with colon cancer in prison, but he was refused treatment and forced to continue working in the fields despite his weakened physical state.

Only after Evers, Martin Luther King Jr., and others threatened to accuse the State of Mississippi of murder was the emaciated and terminally ill Kennard released. Dick Gregory paid for him to undergo treatment in Chicago. But it was too late to save the man who wanted a college degree. Kennard died on July 4, 1963, less than a month after his friend, Medgar Evers, was murdered.

Activist Clyde Kennard

Revelations

In 1991 the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi published previously secret documents from the files of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, showing that Kennard had been framed.

In 2005  Jerry Mitchell, an investigative reporter for the Clarion-Ledger interviewed the black witness who, as a teenager, had testified against Kennard. The man admitted that Kennard had “nothing to do with the stealing of the chicken feed.”

[From the Americas Who Tell the Truth site} Kennard’s case came to the attention of a high school teacher in Chicago. Barry Bradford and his students teamed up with Steve Drizin, the Director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University’s School of Law, LaKeisha Bryant the president of the Afro-American Student Association at the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Joyce Ladner and Raylawni Branch, the woman who had served Kennard coffee on his way to apply to Mississippi Southern the third time and had gone on to an impressive career of her own.The team documented the case in favor of Kennard, discovered the legal arguments that could get the case back into court, and began to apply public pressure with the help of the former federal judge from Mississippi, Charles Pickering.

Finally, on May 16, 2006, the case that Steve Drizin called, “one of the saddest of the civil rights era because he was silenced by ‘respectable’ people – academics, politicians, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, businessmen – all acting under the ‘color of law,'” finally ended up in the same court where the 33-year-old Clyde Kennard had been convicted. The presiding judge at the Circuit Court of Forrest County, Robert Helfrich declared, “It is a right-wrong issue. To correct that wrong I’m compelled to do the right thing and declare Mr. Kennard innocent.”

Activist Clyde Kennard

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Cold War

Korea divided

September 8, 1945: U.S. troops land in Korea to begin their postwar occupation of the southern part of that nation, almost exactly one month after Soviet troops had entered northern Korea to begin their own occupation. Although the U.S. and Soviet occupations were supposed to be temporary, the division of Korea quickly became permanent. [NYT article]  (see Nov 16)

SEATO

September 8, 1954: the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization  formed. It was an international organization for collective defense in Southeast Asia created by the Southeast Asia Collective Defense Treaty, or Manila Pact. It was primarily created to block further communist gains in Southeast Asia. [Study dot com article] (see Nov 27)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

BLACK HISTORY

Clyde Kennard

September 8, 1959: in 1955, Clyde Kennard, a black U.S. Army veteran and Mississippi native, had attempted to enroll in Mississippi Southern College, an all-white public university in the city of Hattiesburg. Mr. Kennard’s credentials met the criteria for admission, but his application was denied because he was unable to provide references from five alumni in his home county.

In December 1958, in a letter to a local newspaper, Mr. Kennard announced his intent to re-apply to the university. In response, the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission – a state agency formed to protect segregation – hired investigators to research Mr. Kennard’s background and uncover details that could be used to discredit him; these attempts were unsuccessful. Soon after, Mr. Kennard withdrew his application after the governor of Mississippi personally requested that he do so.

On September 8, 1959, Mr. Kennard once again tried to apply for admission to Mississippi Southern College. In a letter written to the college’s administration, he declared that, if again rejected, he would sue the University for denying him admission based on his race. After he unsuccessfully tried to register for courses on September 15, 1959, Mr. Kennard was charged with illegal possession of alcohol.

Despite this legal retaliation, Mr. Kennard continued his attempts to register at Mississippi Southern. In September of 1960, he was arrested and charged with assisting in stealing $25 worth of chicken feed from a local store. Although there was little evidence against him, an all-white jury convicted him of being an accessory to burglary, and he was sentenced to seven years in state prison. [Northwestern article] (BH, see January 5, 1960; Kennard, see July 4, 1963)

James H Meredith

September 8, 1965: Columbia University Law School accepted Meredith. (BH, see Sept 24; Meredith, see June 5, 1966)

Black Panthers

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

September 8, 1968: a jury deliberated for four days and in the end come up with a compromise verdict, convicting Huey Newton of voluntary manslaughter. He was acquitted of the assault charge and the kidnap charges were dropped. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover declared the Black Panther Party “greatest threat to the internal security of the country”. [jrank dot org article] (see Sept 28)

BLACK & SHOT

September 8, 2015: the city of Baltimore reached a $6.4 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by the family of Freddie Gray, the 25-year-old man black man who died in April after suffering a critical injury while in police custody. The settlement plan would go to the city’s spending oversight board on the following day for formal approval, the mayor’s office said. Gray’s death triggered sometimes violent protests, accompanied by devastating looting and arson in Baltimore, and prompted a national outcry. It ultimately led to the firing of Police Commissioner Anthony Batts. [Washington Post article]  (see Nov 15)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Consumer Protection

September 8, 1961: statistical evidence linking heavy smoking with heart disease was reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Drs. Daniel J Nathan and Dr. David M. Spain had studied 3,000 men. They found that for smokers of over 40 cigarettes daily and aged under 51 years, their chance of having coronary heart disease almost doubled. Further, among those studied that had coronary heart disease, 57% of heavy smokers suffered heart attacks, as compared to only 31% of light smokers. The doctors said it remained an “open question” whether the statistics were proof that heavy smoking was a cause of hardening of coronary arteries. Only a four-sentence article on page 3 appeared in the New York Times. (see January 11, 1964)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

US Labor History

United Farm Workers

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

September 8, 1965: Filipino American grape workers walk out on strike against Delano, California, table and wine grape growers, protesting years of poor pay and working conditions. Latino farm workers soon joined them, and the strike and subsequent boycott lasted more than five years. [UFW article]  (see Sept 16, 1965)

NJ Unions

September 8, 2015: another 16 New Jersey public worker unions asked the U.S. Supreme Court to consider whether the state’s highest court erred by declaring a pension funding agreement between the state and employees unenforceable.

In a petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, lawyers for 16 labor groups — including the New Jersey Education Association, Communications Workers of America and the Policemen’s Benevolent Association — argued that the New Jersey Supreme Court should have applied the protections of the federal Contract Clause to the deal.

Hetty Rosenstein, state director for the CWA, that the organizations will “leave no stone unturned.”

“One way or another we will protect these pensions. We will never allow the state of New Jersey to destroy the pensions that 800,000 people depend on,” she said. (see Dec 4)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Cultural Milestone

September 8 Peace Love Activism

September 8, 1966: the TV series “Star Trek” premiered on NBC. (see February 5, 1967)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Watergate Scandal

September 8, 1974: though never indicted of any crimes, Gerald Ford gave an unconditional pardon to Richard Nixon.  [Ford’s pardon proclamation] (see Watergate for expanded story)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Religion and Public Education

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE

September 8, 1981: voters in the Clear Creek, Iowa, school district voted overwhelmingly on this day to reject a proposal to make the Bible a textbook in the district’s schools. The vote was 689 to 90. The Iowa Civil Liberties Union hailed the vote as a victory over “religious zealots.” (Religion & Separation see January 6, 1983)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Dissolution of Yugoslavia

INDEPENDENCE DAY

September 8, 1991: the Republic of Macedonia becomes independent. [NYT article] (Yugo, see Oct 8; ID see Sept 9)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Iraq War II

September 8, 2006:  a Senate report faulted intelligence gathering in the lead-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. [NYT article] (see Nov 5)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Terry Jones

September 8, 2010:  Jones remained steadfast, claiming he has received more than 100 death threats and that he has begun carrying a pistol. That evening, Imam Muhammad Musri emerges from a meeting with Jones, saying he is hopeful Jones will change his mind. (see Sept 9)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Occupy Wall Street

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

September 8, 2011: “Chris” launched the Tumblr page, “We Are the 99 Percent,” (see Sept 17)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Westboro Baptist Church

September 8 Peace Love Activism

September 8, 2014: a new billboard with the message “Gods Loves Gays” debuted in Topeka, Kansas, the home city of the Westboro Baptist Church. “The Facebook God,” a satirical Facebook page with more than 1.7 million “likes,” raised more than $80,000 on the crowd-funding platform Indiegogo in order to mount the billboard. “This hate group goes around saying that God hates gay people,” an animated depiction of God says in a YouTube video uploaded to the Indiegogo page. “Nonsense! I love gay people. These Westboro psychos protest at the funerals of soldiers, murdered children and more. How dare they!” (see March 24, 2016)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

LGBTQ

September 8, 2015: Kim Davis was released from jail but would not say whether she would begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was not at work the next day. A lawyer for Ms Davis, Mathew D Staver, said Ms. Davis would “return soon.”. After spending five nights in jail, he said, Ms Davis “needs some rest and time with the family.”

Ms. Davis spoke at a rally after she was ordered freed, saying: “I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people.” Kim Davis has emerged as a heroine to religious conservatives.

The Federal District Court judge who ordered Ms. Davis detained, David L Bunning, said she could go free because her office was “fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” But he warned Ms Davis not to interfere “directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” [Washington Post article] (see Sept 14)

September 8 Peace Love Art Activism

Photographer Baron Wolman

Photographer Baron Wolman

Born June 2, 1937

Baron Wolman

Being in the right place at the right time is luck. Being talented and in the right place at the right time is fortune.

Baron Wolman is the very talented photographer whose pictures help us know American life far better than had he not taken them.

Photographer Baron Wolman

Rolling Stone magazine

After getting a taste of photography while in the Army, Wolman lived in (the right place) San Francisco. Wolman was no Boomer (he was born on June 25, 1937), but Jann Wenner was when the two met in April 1967.

The 21-year-old Wenner wanted Wolman to be the photographer for a rock music magazine Wenner had in mind. Wolman said he’d work for free if he could keep ownership of his pictures. A wise quid pro quo.

Photographer Baron Wolman

Cover after cover

Rolling Stone magazine would not have been the same without Wolman’s pictures.

Photographer Baron Wolman

Baron was Rolling Stone’s photographer from 1967 to 1970, a  short time, but perhaps no better stretch to be a part of the scene Rolling Stone wanted to cover. He says that he “shot his best stuff in ’68 and ’69…those were the halcyon days.”

Photographer Baron Wolman

His photos graced cover after cover of the magazine revealing the famous, the emerging, and behind the scene.

Woodstock Music and Art Fair

He photographed, not surprisingly, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair and those photos are perhaps the best of any taken there. While shooting Santana that hot Saturday afternoon, Bill Graham took Wolman’s camera to shoot a picture of Baron. No selfies then.

Photographer Baron Wolman

His street-sign photo in the wooded Bindy Bazaar, the festivals “merch” area, now graces the entrance to Bethel Woods Center for the Arts–albeit slightly photo-shopped.

Photographer Baron Wolman

True fashion starts on the street

Photographer Baron Wolman

After Rolling Stone, Baron Wolman changed direction slightly and started to concentrate on fashion with his Rags magazine. As many knew, fashion trends often begin outside of actual fashion studios when someone decides that “others may think this combination odd, but it looks good” and a year later models are walking the runways with it.

Photographer Baron Wolman

Embedded photographer

He followed the Oakland Raiders in 1974 and produced Oakland Raiders: The Good Guys.

Photographer Baron Wolman

Learning to fly

Wolman learned to fly and took pictures of California from his plane ( California From the Air: The Golden Coast (1981)) or pictures of Israel (The Holy Land: Israel From the Air (1987))

Santa Fe today

Wolman now lives in Sante Fe, New Mexico and continues to photograph and be a beacon of light both toward the future and from the past. He regularly posts on his musings and observations on his Facebook page.

He is also on Instagram.

Photographer Baron Wolman

What's so funny about peace, love, art, and activism?

Follow by Email12
Facebook0
Facebook