This poem Crumbling Cornbread Race, by Patricia Burkhalter, was published in the 1968 edition of the the Dilettanti, the university’s literary journal. The poem’s large italics typeface deviates from the rest of the journal’s small, plain type, making it far more prominent than the other entries. The poem is faced by Burkhalter’s photogram (a type of photographic process) that focuses on the mundane activities of black people to emphasize their humanity. The poem, on the other hand, rages against the racial inequity and the poverty endemic in some black communities.
The poem’s wrenching emotion is made more significant because Burkhalter is a white woman from Gulfport, who served on the staff of the Dilettanti at the time. The prominence of the poem, with its accompanying artwork, suggests a questioning of the old norms that supported racial segregation and inequality by at least some white students at MSCW.
The Dilettanti, 1968.
Mississippi University for Women Archives.