A group of students and faculty at The University of Southern Mississippi look to revive a student organization that focuses on celebrating black culture and history.
The Black Studies Alliance was a predominant organization on the campus of USM during the early 2000s, but the student group has become dormant recently.
A group of students, along with faculty support, is looking to give new life to this once thriving organization. The organization invites student of all cultural and ethnic backgrounds to join the organization that has begun its recent revitalization process.
The group looks to organize events on campus and throughout the community as early as May of this year.
“There is talk of an event that is currently developing for the month of May,” said Southern Miss student Destini Williams, who is involved in the startup of the alliance.
“It is a project that celebrates the anniversary of the Voting Rights Act.”
Along with events that celebrate black history and culture, the alliance has set out to attempt to get a Civil Rights memorial erected in downtown Hattiesburg.
Though it is often overlooked, Hattiesburg was a significant site of Civil Rights movement activity during the mid-20th century, especially during the summer of 1964 otherwise known as “Freedom Summer.”
College students from the northern United States came to Mississippi to help African-Americans register to vote despite intimidation and unethical tactics used by pro-Jim Crow Mississippians to prevent blacks from registering to vote.
Currently there is no memorial in Hattiesburg that commemorates the civil rights activists that worked in the town, but there is a large Confederate memorial located near the Post Office in downtown Hattiesburg.
“It is important because you can visit downtown Hattiesburg and see the Confederate memorials that reflect the yesteryear of slavery,” said senior history major Kendall Laster, who is also involved with the BSA startup.
“It would be great to see something of the Civil Rights Movement here being that Hattiesburg was home to Freedom Schools, Vernon Dahmer and other significant parts of the movement.”
For more information, email USMBSSA@gmail.com.