Lafayette County Data Dashboard


Campbell, Will

Born in Amite County, Mississippi in 1924, Will Campbell became an ordained minister at age 17 before attending Louisiana College. After attending Louisiana College, Will served as a medic during World War II.

Mr. Campbell held a multitude of professions over his career as a civil rights activist that resulted in an impressive resume. In 1954, Mr. Campbell served as the Director of Religious Life at the University of Mississippi until he received hostility for being a supporter of integration. He then worked as a field director for the National Council of Churches where he aided in efforts to escort black students into Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. In 1963, Mr. Campbell became the director of the Committee of Southern Churchmen where his contributions to the Katalagete: Be Reconciled journal had a controversial effect on his reputation as a civil rights activist.

He authored several books, including Brother to a Dragonfly, Providence, Forty Acres and a Goat, and The Glad River.

Mr. Campbell passed away in June of 2013.

God’s Will from The Center for Public Television on Vimeo.

Anderson, David E. “Feisty Civil Rights Activist Will Campbell Dies at 88.” Washington Post, June 5, 2013. Accessed October 7, 2013.

Jay, Jeff. “Will D. Campbell: An Unconventional Approach to Racial Reconciliation”. The University of Chicago, October 10, 2013. Accessed October 17, 2017.

Sturdivant, Syria Hayes

Syria Sturdivant Hayes is a prominent attorney in Meridian, MS. While attending the University of Mississippi School of Law, she became the first African American representative and the first woman representative in the student senate at the university. She went on to pursue a storied career in the law in her hometown of Meridian.

LECTURE: Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, Will D. Campbell Lecture on Faith and Social Justice

Date of Event: November 27, 2006

Location: University of Mississippi

Dr. Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics at Duke’s School of Divinity, was the inaugural speaker for the Will D. Campbell Lecture Series on Faith and Social Justice at the University of Mississippi. Hauerwas’ work draws on a great range of literatures from classical, philosophical, and theological texts to contemporary political theory. He also works in medical ethics, issues of war and peace, and the care of the mentally handicapped.

These videos include the Q&A session following his talk which took place on November 27, 2006, at the University of Mississippi. The event was co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Southern Culture, the First Presbyterian Church, the Reformed University Fellowship, and St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

For more information on Dr. Hauerwas’s talk, see this press release and the Winter Institute’s January 2007 Wellspring newsletter.

The Q&A Session with Dr. Hauerwas:

UM Lectures – Stanley Hauerwas Lecture 12 from Winter Institute on Vimeo.


The area of Oxford between North 7th Street and 5th Street extending south from Price to Jackson Avenue was originally called Freemantown. Oral tradition says that the area was sold to freed slaves after the Civil War and thus became known as Freemantown. By the turn of the century, small houses dotted the area, each with a small garden and often livestock such as pigs, chickens and cows. Water was furnished from cisterns and wells. The original 7th Street was dirt, becoming gravel with the use of cars, then rough pavement about 1939. Freemantown became a small African-American community with churches, schools, stores and businesses. Second Baptist’s Church stands on the south edge near the site of former Mama Nance’s (Nancy Humphrey’s) grocery store. Bird Kirkland ran his blacksmith business nearby, shoeing horses and fixing wagon wheels. In 1974, Freemantown underwent Urban Renewal that created wider streets and new housing for many of the residents. On August 5, 1996, the historical marker for Freedmen Town was placed by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.”


“We Cannot Walk Alone Exhibition” 15 November 2006

Nelms, Chuck. “Thoughts and Recollections of Ole Miss Fall of 1962.” Feb 4 1991. Jun 2006 <>

“Integrating Ole Miss.” Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone. June 2002. John F. Kennedy Library. Jun 2006 <>

Sobotka, C. John Jr. A History of Lafayette County, Mississippi. Oxford, MS: Rebel Press, 1976.

William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation

William Winter Institute LogoIn 1997, then-President Bill Clinton inaugurated an unprecedented national conversation on race. “One America: The President’s Initiative on Race” marked the first time a sitting president had called for such a dialogue without the catalyst of a major crisis. It suggested, on a federal level, the importance of dealing positively with race relations on a daily basis.

Accepting the challenge to prod grassroots efforts, the University of Mississippi hosted the only deep-South public forum for One America. Preceded by dialogue groups representing ten constituency topics ranging from the arts to education to religion, the event highlighted elected delegates from each group. Sharing the insight and hopes of the more than 160 participants, the representatives crafted a frank yet civil discussion on one of our nation’s most difficult subjects.

The President’s staff hailed the UM experience as the single most successful of the entire Initiative year. That recognition encouraged the University to formalize its dialogue process with the creation of an institute to promote racial reconciliation and civic renewal.

Founded in 1999, the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation builds more inclusive communities by promoting diversity and citizenship, and by supporting projects that help communities solve local challenges.


“About Us.” William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. U of Mississippi.

LECTURE: Rev. James Lawson, The International Conference on Race keynote address

Date of Event: October 31, 2003

Location: University of Mississippi

Rev. James Lawson was an important activist in the early days of the Civil Rights movement and was a leader in teaching and practicing nonviolence. He studied nonviolence in India before returning to the United States to study theology. Rev. Lawson was active in the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). He has also advocated for immigrant rights and a living wage and has opposed the war in Iraq.

Rev. Lawson delivered the keynote address for “The International Conference on Race: Racial Reconciliation,” sponsored by the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation. The conference took place at the University of Mississippi on 10/31/03.

More information on the conference can be found here.


Rev. Lawson’s speech:

The full event can also be viewed here.

Redmond Jr., W.R.

The Reverend W.R. Redmond, Jr., served as pastor of the Burns United Methodist Church. In 1945, he organized the Oxford Training School football team. In 1971, he became the first African-American member of the Oxford School Board. A scholarship was founded in his memory to assist local African-Americans to attend medical school.


“We Cannot Walk Alone Exhibition” 15 November 2006

Nelms, Chuck. “Thoughts and Recollections of Ole Miss Fall of 1962.” Feb 4 1991. Jun 2006

“Integrating Ole Miss.” Integrating Ole Miss: A Civil Rights Milestone. June 2002. John F. Kennedy Library. Jun 2006

Sobotka, C. John Jr. A History of Lafayette County, Mississippi. Oxford, MS: Rebel Press, 1976.

LECTURE: Open Doors: Forty Years of Opportunity

Date of Event: October 01, 2002

Location: University of Mississippi

Open Doors recognized the 40th anniversary of Dr. James Meredith entering the University of Mississippi. Dr. Meredith’s admittance marked the end of segregation for the University of Mississippi. According to the University website, “The 2002-2003 academic year is dedicated to the courage of Dr. James H. Meredith ’63, and to all The University of Mississippi students, faculty, alumni, and staff who have stood up for open doors and opportunity for all on this campus.” Throughout the year, several events took place, including a night ceremony and the First International Conference on Race, hosted by the Winter Institute in October 2003.

The Open Doors Night Ceremony begins with a ceremonial walk through the Lyceum. Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams, introduced by Governor William Winter, speaks to the audience of the significance of Dr. Meredith’s bravery as well as the importance of being bold and remembering the past.

More information can be found here.

Open Doors Night Ceremony:

The full event can also be viewed here.

Marshall, Susie

Susie Marshall served over forty-one years from 1937 to 1978 as an educator in Oxford and Lafayette County. She was a Jeanne Supervisor for twenty-six African-American Lafayette schools from 1952 to 1964. She graduated from Rust College with a degree in elementary education in 1952 and received a Masters Degree from the University of Mississippi in 1972. She served on the Oxford Housing Authority. She has been a member of Second Baptist Church and has taught Sunday School for over forty years and a choir member for sixty years. In addition, she has been active in the Oxford Development Association, the Retired Teachers Association, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.


“We Cannot Walk Alone Exhibition”