In 2016-2017, Mississippi University for Women (MUW) will commemorate a landmark event in the institution’s history—50 years of racial integration. In the fall semester of 1966, Diane Hardy, Laverne Greene, and Barbara Turner, all graduates of R. E. Hunt High School in Columbus, became the first African American, freshman students to attend Mississippi State College for Women (now MUW). There were also three “registered special” students who were African American that fall: Jaqueline Edith Edwards, Mary L. Flowers, and Eula Mae Houser. No history or study directly explores the experience of racial integration on this campus (and the search continues to find any history of racial integration at a southern women’s college). MUW students are working to fill this gap. Beginning in fall 2014 and for the next two years, MUW students are researching the history of desegregation and integration on campus. You can use this website to check out their research and to help find sources for future research.
We all kind of had a bad taste in our mouth about the ‘W’ [after leaving in the late 1960s]. But as time went on and healing began, I think we all felt better…we knew that whatever we went through, it was well worth it for the students today.
–Laverne Greene Leech, one of the three freshmen women who integrated MSCW in 1966, on her experience (6 February 2013, Clarion Ledger).