MSMS & The W Unveil Historic Desegregation Marker


By Caleb Youngblood, Public Relations Coordinator

October 20, 2023

MSMS and Mississippi University for Women unveiled a historical marker on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2023. The landmark honors the first African American students to desegregate The W’s campus in August of 1966. The six courageous women included undergraduate students Diane Hardy, Barbara Turner and Laverne Greene, and graduate students Jacqueline Edwards, Mary Flowers and Eula Houser.

In 2016, Dr. Erin Kempker, professor in the Department of History, Political Science and Geography at The W, had her students research the six students who desegregated the school. The research was turned into the “In Their Footsteps” exhibit for the 50th anniversary. Chuck Yarborough and MSMS students from the MoreStory Monuments project added to the research and proposed the wording for a new state historic marker on The W’s campus.

“It’s wonderful to have such a large portion of the community show up to celebrate these women, but also to recognize that their role in the community impacts us in positive ways today,” said MSMS history teacher Chuck Yarbrough.

The MoreStory Monuments students had the honor of unveiling the marker in front of the community. The program additionally included a poetry read from Class of 2024 senior Ava Grace Noe. Her entry The Hallways are Still Quiet won the poetry contest held by The W in honor of the occasion.

The marker resides in Pioneers Plaza, beside Carrier Chapel.