Measure of Progress: The Clyde Kennard Story

A Mississippi short film. Korean War veteran Clyde Kennard, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, made several attempts to enroll at then all-white Mississippi Southern College, now The University of Southern Mississippi, but was denied entry by college, state and local officials. He was then railroaded by The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, led by then-governor Ross Barnett. It took an all-white jury 10 minutes to convict him to seven years at Parchman Farm, now Mississippi State Penitentiary. While there, he was diagnosed with cancer but denied proper medical treatment until critically ill. He was released on parole in January 1963 and died a month later at the age of 36. In 2006, Kennard was declared innocent in the same court where he had been convicted decades earlier.

  • Alysia Burton Steele
    Director
  • Bobby D. Steele, Jr.
    Director
  • Alysia Burton Steele
    Writer
  • Bobby D. Steele, Jr.
    Writer
  • Sherita L. Johnson
    Writer
  • Loren Saxton Coleman
    Writer
  • Cheryl Jenkins
    Writer
  • Rebecca Tuuri
    Writer
  • Alysia Burton Steele
    Producer
  • Bobby D. Steele, Jr.
    Producer
  • Ellie Dahmer
    Key Cast
  • Alvin Eaton
    Key Cast
  • Eddie A. Holloway
    Key Cast
  • Bruce Kirkwood
    Key Cast
  • Ralph Lindsey
    Key Cast
  • Aubrey K. Lucas
    Key Cast
  • Jerry Mitchell
    Key Cast
  • Gloria Jean Pack
    Key Cast
  • Ji Hoon Heo
    Camera Operators
  • Bobby D. Steele Jr.
    Camera Operators
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Runtime:
    15 minutes 25 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    February 21, 2018
  • Production Budget:
    7,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
    English
  • Shooting Format:
    35mm DSLR and drone photography
  • Aspect Ratio:
    16:9
  • Film Color:
    Color
  • First-time Filmmaker:
    Yes
  • Student Project:
    No
  • Showing at University of Southern Mississippi campus
    Hattiesburg
    United States
    February 21, 2018
    Mississippi premiere at University of Southern Miss
  • University of Mississippi campus showing
    Oxford
    United States
    March 20, 2018
Director Biography - Alysia Burton Steele, Bobby D. Steele, Jr.

Directors: Husband and wife team - Alysia Burton Steele and Bobby D. Steele, Jr. Measure of Progress: The Clyde Kennard Story is their first short film.

Alysia Steele is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist, is author of the book, “Delta Jewels: In Search of My Grandmother’s Wisdom,” a collection of oral history and portraits of elder women in the Delta. In 2016 she won the Preserver of Mississippi Culture award from the Mississippi Humanities Council. Her book has been featured in various national publications including The New York Times, National Public Radio, Southern Living, and others.
In 2006 Steele was part of the photo staff for The Dallas Morning News that won the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News for their Hurricane Katrina coverage. She served as a picture editor. She is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi’s Meek School of Journalism & New Media, and currently working on a book about cotton oral histories.

Bobby D. Steele, Jr., instructional assistant professor of branding and promotions, earned a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in health services administration from Franklin University. After a graduate internship for the Division of Outreach and Continuing Education at Ole Miss, specializing in creative content, photography and social media marketing, he became an adjunct professor. Steele is now the branding and promotions manager for the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. He is director of operations and a board member for the nonprofit organization Delta Jewels Support Foundation and marketing director for Cherry Blossom Way Farms in Columbus Ohio.

Steele is a decorated veteran who served seven years in the United States Navy. He was an active member during campaigns, Desert Storm, Desert Shield and Kuwait Liberation.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

This Mississippi short documentary was produced by Alysia Burton Steele, assistant professor of journalism, and Bobby D. Steele, Jr., an instructional assistant professor of branding and promotions, at The University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media. This body of work was done collaboratively with The Freedom50 Research Group, who conducted academic research on Kennard, and received funding for their initial script and lecture series. They include: University of Southern Mississippi professors Dr. Sherita L. Johnson, Associate Professor / Department of English and Director, Center for Black Studies; Dr. Loren Saxton Coleman, Assistant Professor / School of Mass Communication and Journalism; Dr. Cheryl Jenkins, Associate Professor / School of Mass Communication and Journalism; and Dr. Rebecca Tuuri, Assistant Professor / Department of History.

The film was shown on University of Southern Mississippi and University of Mississippi's campuses to engage in dialogue about Mississippi history and race relations.

Korean War veteran Clyde Kennard, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, made several attempts to enroll at then Mississippi Southern College, now The University of Southern Mississippi, but was denied entry by college, state and local officials. He was then railroaded by The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, led by then-governor Ross Barnett. It took an all-white jury 10 minutes to convict him to seven years at Parchman Farm, now Mississippi State Penitentiary. While there, he was diagnosed with cancer but denied proper medical treatment until critically ill. He was released on parole in January 1963 and died a month later at the age of 36. In 2006, Kennard was declared innocent in the same court where he had been convicted decades earlier.

The Freedom50 Group received a $7,500 humanities-based racial equity grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.