Kennard wrote poignant letters about the need for desegregation and his right to attend Mississippi Southern College. Instead of being admitted, the state of Mississippi framed him on criminal charges for a petty crime and sentenced him to seven years of hard labor at Parchman Penitentiary where he was beaten and serious health problems went untreated. Read more about Kennard’s brave story and his moving letters on the Zinn Education Project website: http://bit.ly/1ghbmMw Read more July 4 people’s history stories from throughout U.S. history here: http://bit.ly/1JDtrkk Portrait by Robert Shetterly of Americans Who Tell the Truth.
On July 4, 1963, Clyde Kennard, an unsung hero of civil rights, died at the age of 36 from cancer. A Korean War veteran, Kennard put his life on the line in the 1950s by attempting to enroll at Mississippi Southern College and seeking to become the first African American to attend.