Plaza named for first African-American students to attend USM - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Plaza named for first African-American students to attend USM

Raylawni Branch (left) and Gwendolyn Armstrong Chamberlain (far right) unveil a plaque Friday honoring them for helping to desegregate USM in 1965. Raylawni Branch (left) and Gwendolyn Armstrong Chamberlain (far right) unveil a plaque Friday honoring them for helping to desegregate USM in 1965.
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

A new plaza at Southern Miss has been named in honor of the the first two African-American students to attend that university.

The Armstrong-Branch Plaza recognizes the efforts of Gwendolyn Armstrong Chamberlain and Raylawni G.A. Branch to desegregate USM. Both enrolled at the university on Sept. 6, 1965.

Friday morning, a plaque bearing their names was unveiled and a ribbon was cut officially opening the Plaza.

"I am so overwhelmed," said Gwendolyn Armstrong Chamberlain. "I can't begin to express how grateful I am to be a Golden Eagle and recognized for the long way that we have come in education and especially here at USM," she said.

"I don't know what to say, it's just a wonderful thing," said Raylawni Branch. "You don't think of your name before you die, being on anything," she said.  

 

The Mississippi Dept. of Transportation provided funds to build both the plaza and a new fence which runs along the south end of the campus.

The plaza is located between Joseph Greene Hall and the Liberal Arts Building.

 

 Copyright 2013 WDAM. All rights reserved.

 

 

  • NEWSMore>>

  • VIDEO: One in custody after Gulfport chase

    VIDEO: One in custody after Gulfport chase

    Monday, July 24 2017 8:25 PM EDT2017-07-25 00:25:36 GMT
    (Photo source: Chuck Coats)(Photo source: Chuck Coats)

    One person is in custody after a chase through Gulfport and parts of Harrison County.

    More >>

    One person is in custody after a chase through Gulfport and parts of Harrison County.

    More >>
  • Intoxicated driver who injured Bethanie Jones pleads guilty

    Intoxicated driver who injured Bethanie Jones pleads guilty

    Monday, July 24 2017 8:05 PM EDT2017-07-25 00:05:14 GMT
    Bethanie Jones, 27, was severely injured in a car accident on Popps Ferry Road Bridge (Image Source: WLOX News)Bethanie Jones, 27, was severely injured in a car accident on Popps Ferry Road Bridge (Image Source: WLOX News)

    Two years ago, Bethanie Jones was involved in a crash on the Popp’s Ferry Bridge that would change her life. Monday, the driver that hit her pleaded guilty to DUI causing death or disfigurement.

    More >>

    Two years ago, Bethanie Jones was involved in a crash on the Popp’s Ferry Bridge that would change her life. Monday, the driver that hit her pleaded guilty to DUI causing death or disfigurement.

    More >>
  • Matt Luke introduced as Ole Miss interim head coach

    Matt Luke introduced as Ole Miss interim head coach

    Monday, July 24 2017 7:39 PM EDT2017-07-24 23:39:47 GMT
    WLBTWLBT
    14 years as part of the Ole Miss football program as a coach or player has prepared Matt Luke for this opportunity. Admittedly it doesn't come under the circumstances he might've envisioned. But with a Rebel bloodline that runs 3 generations deep, the position fulfills a lifelong dream. "I can truly tell y'all today that this is my dream job," Luke said Monday at his first press conference as Ole Miss interim head coach. "It's a job that I've been preparing my whole li...More >>
    14 years as part of the Ole Miss football program as a coach or player has prepared Matt Luke for this opportunity. Admittedly it doesn't come under the circumstances he might've envisioned. But with a Rebel bloodline that runs 3 generations deep, the position fulfills a lifelong dream. "I can truly tell y'all today that this is my dream job," Luke said Monday at his first press conference as Ole Miss interim head coach. "It's a job that I've been preparing my whole li...More >>
Powered by Frankly