By: Salena Schaffer
COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- This desegregation first started after three African American women were the first to be admitted to the W on August 6th, 1966.
“It was scary, it was different, and it was challenging. We weren’t trying to make history nobody encouraged us to do anything, you know the point was to come here and go to school. Little did we know, what we would be met with, you know the hostility from faculty as well as students. Right next door is where we had to purchase our lunch and there’s still a little corner over there, where I would sit everyday and one day I was sitting there and some boys from some boys from Mississippi State, I imagine were visiting some girls and they kept laughing and poking fun, look how that monkey is eating that celery, look how she’s eating that hamburger, that’s the monkeys eat. And so I didn’t say anything, there wasn’t anything to say… so eventually they just got up and grabbed up the garbage can and dumped it on my table where I was sitting. And the counter was still where it is now and there was a lady who was a cashier and she yelled at me saying, ‘you’re gonna clean that up, you know that right?’ and I said ‘yes, ma’am.’ and I just cleaned it on up. When we left here we had a bad taste in our mouth, but now… I am so happy, I am so happy when I look outside and I see so many people that look just like me. And I feel really good… the price that I paid was very small to the things that they’re enjoying now.”
Following our interview with Leach, an international student had the pleasure of meeting her.
She was immediately floored after she found out how large of an impact Leach had on her ability to attend the W and was extremely grateful to her.
“I’m international, so that makes it even bigger because your crossing borders here and I’m black, proud to say that and I’m able to come here today and partake in the same facility that you can walk in , I can walk in and hold my head high and I can partake in those facilities, so I’m grateful.” said international student, Keisha Wallace.
Green says that her biggest regret is that her best friend, Diane Hardy, who was one of the other students to be first admitted, passed away back in 2013 and was not able to tell this story herself. Green thanks Diane because she says it was all her idea to apply to the W in the first place.