“A Shaky Truce: Starkville Civil Rights Struggles, 1960-1980” Receives MSU Diversity Award

Saturday, April 2, 2016

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Nearly a dozen Mississippi State students, faculty and staff members are being recognized for individual and group actions during the school year that served to enhance university diversity.

The 2016 group formally was recognized at a recent MSU President’s Commission on the Status of Minorities ceremony.

In announcing the winners, commission chair Lakiesha Williams praised all for “stepping outside of their norm and exhibiting a great passion for exploring and promoting diversity.

“Each year, we’ve seen an increase in our nomination packets; we had the most ever,” Williams said. “Our winners have displayed diversity in a wide range of ways, from research collaboration and community events to establishing STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] programs and starting organizations to empower underrepresented females and minorities.”

Honorees include:

—“A Shaky Truce: Starkville Civil Rights Struggles, 1960-1980” Project, Team Award. An ongoing effort between faculty and students in the history department and MSU Libraries, the web-based project highlights Starkville’s civil rights movement through the use of digitized archival documents and oral history interviews. Faculty leaders for the project include associate professor Judith Ridner of the history department and assistant professors Hillary A. H. Richardson and Nickoal Eichmann of MSU Libraries.

“Shaky Truce” student collaborators included senior Christine M. Dunn, a secondary education/English education major from Niceville, Florida; history doctoral students Michael T. Murphy of Crystal River, Florida, Kelli B. Nelson of Johnson City, Tennessee, and Nicholas A. “Nick” Timmerman of Flint, Michigan; and Daáiyah R. Heard of Columbus, a 2015 history master’s degree graduate. Murphy also is an MSU history master’s graduate.

In his remarks at the ceremony, President Mark E. Keenum praised the commission for promoting an “inclusive campus family” both internally and externally. “Many people know that we are an accepting, opening, welcoming, nurturing institution,” he said.

“When it comes to our student body, we have the most diverse campus among any of the other universities, by far, within our Southeastern Conference,” the chief executive and MSU alumnus continued. He also noted that the university remains among the most diverse historically white land-grant institutions in the U.S.

Beyond sizeable African-American and international student populations, MSU is home to a diverse teaching faculty. “Diversity is what empowers an institution and the people within it, and we are working hard to help uplift our university through diversity,” Keenum emphasized.

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