Justice shines brighter:
an innocent man is cleared
Clyde Kennard, a decorated Korean War veteran,
returned to Hattiesburg in 1955 to help his mother
when his stepfather became disabled.
A judge in Hattiesburg, Miss., has thrown out the 1960 burglary conviction of an African-American who was framed and imprisoned for a crime he never committed.
After returning home to Mississippi, Clyde Kennard decided to complete the college education he had begun at the University of Chicago -- without traveling hundreds of miles away from his family and farm to the nearest black college.
The deeply religious Kennard made three unsuccessful attempts to enroll at the all-white Mississippi Southern College, now the University of Southern Mississippi. He was thwarted each time by state and university leaders, and ultimately framed first in 1959 for being in possession of whiskey in a dry county and then the next year for accepting $25 of stolen chicken feed. He was sentenced to 7 years of hard labor.
Northwestern University School of Law's Center on Wrongful Convictions in Chicago represented the Kennard family, aided by students at Adlai Stevenson High School's National History Day Club in Lincolnshire, Ill.
"Judge Helfrich has done what nearly 50 years of Mississippi officials failed to do: protect the constitutional rights of an innocent man," said high school teacher, Barry Bradford. "Today Clyde Kennard’s soul rests easier, justice shines brighter, and history is written more correctly."
Check out the Clyde Kennard website here. Read the Chicago Tribune story here and the Hattiesburg American story here.