50th Anniversary Of Integration Of MUW

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)—As The “W” celebrates 50 years of integration, the six students who changed the landscape of the historic university talk about their experiences.

Their dedication and sacrifice brought down barriers. It was considered an almost radical idea for a black woman to enroll at a segregated university in Mississippi, in 1966.

The six women who broke the color barrier at MUW say their desire for education was far greater and made being admitted to the “W” a priority.

Continuing school for six young women in Columbus, Mississippi in 1966, started out as just an idea.

Laverne Greene says,”Yes it was just about education. It was close to home and we just felt like we could and we should be here and we came.”

These women say they faced isolation and bigotry on campus.

“It was mostly people staring and instructors acting a little bit aloof. It was definitely separation. I just developed a persona that I was perfectly fine,”said Barbara Turner.

However, the former students say knowing they left an impact on the university is an honor of it’s own.

Turner says,”To have been in this auditorium before and to have felt not apart of it and now to be here on stage a serious part of it is almost as important as what I felt after the first year when I saw so many young women. I remember thinking they live here and they can go to school here now.

Greene says,”This is absolutely overwhelming. You won’t believe after 50 years you didn’t expect it, never though it would happen so All I can say is thank god.”

The four ladies who were able to attend hope the symbolic steps they took serve as a lesson to young people everywhere.

Greene says,”I hope other students my children. My grandchildren and other people here in Columbus will take advantage of what has been started and continue.”

Today’s ceremony was held during a campus wide convocation.

Diane Hardy passed away and the university wasn’t able to find Mary Flowers

There is a walking exhibit opening at MUW’s art and design building this evening as part of today’s commemoration.

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