Justice for Clyde Kennard
March 22, 2006
I am writing to you for your help in seeking justice for the late
Clyde Kennard. The historian, John Dittmer said of Clyde's
incarceration: "That is the saddest story of the whole
There is a large campaign afoot to clear Clyde's name. This
means that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour will have to
take a stand (he has a policy of not granting clemency to
anyone). The Mississippi Parole Board has agreed to hear the
case, and Steven Drizin and The Center for the Wrongfully
Convicted at Northwestern University Law School are
providing legal representation.
A group of Illinois students are coordinating part of this effort.
Check out their site at www.clydekennard.org. They are urging
that letters be sent to the Mississippi Attorney General Jim
Hood at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My concern for Clyde's case is deeply personal. My sister
Dorie and I joined the Hattiesburg, Mississippi NAACP Youth
Council in 1958. Clyde Kennard was our president and Vernon
Dahmer was our founder/advisor. Medgar Evers was present
at our first meeting.
As you may know, Clyde was jailed on false charges of
receiving stolen chicken feed because he tried to apply to the
now University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. Clyde
was sent to Parchman penitentiary and despite a campaign to
have him released, Governor Ross Barnett did not do so until
he was near death with cancer. He died shortly thereafter in
When I was a student at Tougaloo College, I led a campaign to
free Clyde from prison when he was terminally ill. The late
Larry Still of Jet magazine wrote a piece about Clyde's
incarceration that got national publicity and help from Dick
Gregory, Martin Luther King, Johnson Publishing Company,
Now, Governor Haley Barbour is going to honor Clyde
Kennard on March 30. He does not intend to grant clemency
nor does he intend to expunge his record. I always said that
my life's work would be to work to clear Clyde's name. Many
others feel the same. Let us all take this on as our civil rights
cause. I will send new information as I receive it.
|Reprinted with permission by Joyce Ladner
April 30, 2006
LETTERS OF SUPPORT FOR CLYDE KENNARD'S CLEMENCY
Julian Bond - Chairman of NAACP
Raylawni Branch - One of First Two African American Students
at Southern Mississippi
Taylor Branch - Pulitzer Prize Winner Historian
John Dittmer- Mississippi Historian andAuthor
Ron Hollander - Journalist, Professor and Mississippi Activist
Hunter Gray - (John R. Salter, Jr.) Civil Rights Leader and
Friend of Medgar Evers
The Innocent Network
Dorie Ladner - Civil Rights Leader and Friend of Clyde Kennard
Joyce Ladner - Civil Rights Leader and Friend of Clyde Kennard
Jim Loewen - Author of "Lies My Teacher Told Me" and
"Mississippi: Conflict and Change
Marion Wright Edelman - Civil Rights Pioneer and President of
Children Defense Fund
Gwen Patton - Civil Rights Activist and Author
Glen Pearson - Hattiesburg Physician and Friend of Clyde
Monte Piliawsky - Author of Exit 13: Oppression and Racism in
Hans Sherrer - Publisher of "Justice Denied: The Magazine for
the Wrongfully Convicted"
Congressman Bennie Thompson
Patricia M. Thompson - Founder of "Repaying Our Ancestors
EXONERATED IN A
ROAR extends a "Special Thanks" to all who responded to Dr.
Joyce Ladner & Dorie Ladner's request to send letters of support
to MS Governor Haley Barbour and the Mississippi State Parole
Board. The Ladner sisters have worked, feverishly, for over 40
years to clear their friend, Clyde Kennard, name. Additionally,
three Stevenson High Schools students, Mona Ghadiri, Agnes
Mazur and Callie McCune worked on a unique collaboration with
Professor Steven A. Drizin and the Northwestern University School
Of Law Center On Wrongful Convictions to exonerate Kennard.
May Our Brother, Clyde Kennard, Finally Rest In Peace!
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(c) copyrighted THE ROAR FOUNDATION, INC. April 2006