Young Democrats

Extracurricular activities are an important aspect of student life, engaging students in the life of the university. Few extracurricular opportunities were afforded black students in the 1960s due to the lingering hold of segregation.

The Young Democrats was one of the few organizations that interacted with the first black students on campus, but it was with difficulty. Laverne Greene-Leech said:

"We did talk to the Young Democrats. As much as they could. You know, it was dangerous. So they didn’t want to be labeled either. So, it was just us."



The organization had four black members by 1968: Barbara Turner (one of the first three black students at MSCW), Rosa Mitchell, Vivian Thornton, and Helen Mason.

Vicky Winter Pekurney recalls inviting Hardy, Turner, and Greene to the join the organization:

"Since the Young Democrats where the only biracial group at The W, and indeed at the state level too, we wanted to make sure we had invited them to participate. So, I remember going to them and inviting them, and them saying 'yes'. The Young Democrats wanted to make a difference in race relations in Mississippi and especially at The W."



Young Democrats, 1968.
Mississippi University for Women Archives. Meh Lady Collection.

Laverne Greene-Leech Oral History.
Billups-Garth Archives, Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.

Vicky Winter Pekurney Oral History.
Mississippi University for Women Archives. Oral History Collection.