September 21, 2014  

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Civil Rights Movement Leader Connor to be honored at Southern Miss

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From USM's Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive, the Randall (Herbert) Freedom Summer Photographs; Close-up of local activist Peggy Jean Connor, participating in a meeting of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, during Freedom Summer, 1964.

A Hattiesburg resident who played a key role in the civil rights movement in Mississippi will be honored by the Committee on Services and Resources for Women (CSRW) Thursday, March 28 on the Hattiesburg campus.

The CSRW’s Research Award will be named after Peggy Jean Connor at the organization’s luncheon from 12:15 -1 p.m. in the Thad Cochran Center, room 216. The event is part of the university’s recognition of Women’s History Month, and will include presentation of the CSRW grant awards and the Kathanne W. Greene Essay Awards.

Connor was state executive secretary of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), treasurer of the COFO-Hattiesburg Project, and a MFDP delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1964. She also taught citizenship classes in local churches, despite the danger of violence from those opposed to desegregation and the actions of civil rights workers. 

She worked alongside civil rights legends Fannie Lou Hamer and fellow Hattiesburg native Victoria Gray, and is one of the few remaining "foot soldiers" of the modern civil rights movement.

“One of the goals of the CSRW grant is to foster research in women’s issues that might not otherwise be recognized, or remain under-acknowledged,” said Southern Miss Associate Professor of English Dr. Nicolle Jordan, a member of the CSRW committee. “Naming the grant competition after Connor will hopefully inspire research and professional development.”

For more information about this event, e-mail Dr. Nicolle Jordan at nicolle.jordan@usm.edu.