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Raylawni Branch Confronts the Tea Party on Obamacare, Taxes, and Benghazi.
Raylawni Branch Confronts the Tea Party on Obamacare, Taxes, and Benghazi.
Published: 2013/08/21
Channel: Deep South Progressive
Raylawni Branch to Sean O
Raylawni Branch to Sean O'Hara, "You took advantage of a man with Alzheimers.- You owe me money!"
Published: 2013/07/08
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Raylawni Branch: "If no one runs against Mr. Palazzo, then I will"
Raylawni Branch: "If no one runs against Mr. Palazzo, then I will"
Published: 2017/03/15
Channel: Deep South Voice
Raylawni Branch  - Created with WeVideo
Raylawni Branch - Created with WeVideo
Published: 2013/04/05
Channel: kkoonz17
Raylawni Branch (12/05/16) (5P)
Raylawni Branch (12/05/16) (5P)
Published: 2016/12/06
Channel: WDAM 7 Military Greetings
Shawn O
Shawn O'Hara for mayor
Published: 2009/05/02
Channel: rhgurl15
Soledad O
Soledad O'Brien speaks a Southern Miss' 50 years of integration program
Published: 2015/09/08
Channel: whlttv
2011 Alumni Hall of Fame
2011 Alumni Hall of Fame
Published: 2011/10/20
Channel: The University of Southern Mississippi
Plukey Bolton Indicted  - Wed Mar 23 17:41:26 CDT 2016
Plukey Bolton Indicted - Wed Mar 23 17:41:26 CDT 2016
Published: 2016/03/23
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Dave Ware / Nathan Jordan Election Challenge Pretrial Hearing Part 3
Dave Ware / Nathan Jordan Election Challenge Pretrial Hearing Part 3
Published: 2013/07/09
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Sheriff Mack PART 1 OF 9 "States
Sheriff Mack PART 1 OF 9 "States' Rights Rally" 912Project Hattiesburg
Published: 2010/03/24
Channel: MSVOICESOFLIBERTY
Ware vs Dupree Sleeping Judge Coleman
Ware vs Dupree Sleeping Judge Coleman
Published: 2013/07/24
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Ware / Jordan Election Chalenge Part 4 FINAL
Ware / Jordan Election Chalenge Part 4 FINAL
Published: 2013/07/09
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Hattiesburg 2013 Election CHallenge
Hattiesburg 2013 Election CHallenge
Published: 2013/06/24
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Dave Ware / Nathan Jordan Election Challenge Pretrial 01
Dave Ware / Nathan Jordan Election Challenge Pretrial 01
Published: 2013/07/09
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Elaine Armstrong - Sad But True - King
Elaine Armstrong - Sad But True - King
Published: 2015/02/04
Channel: John Manship
ROY NICHOLSON PART 1 "STATES
ROY NICHOLSON PART 1 "STATES' RIGHTS RALLY"
Published: 2010/03/23
Channel: MSVOICESOFLIBERTY
Mayor Johnny Dupree refuses to answer questions on suspected fraud in his administration.
Mayor Johnny Dupree refuses to answer questions on suspected fraud in his administration.
Published: 2016/04/07
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Jason Vitosky Campaign Issues -- Mississippi Senate, District 49
Jason Vitosky Campaign Issues -- Mississippi Senate, District 49
Published: 2011/09/30
Channel: SenatorVitosky
Hattiesburg City Council 3.7.15 - Mon Mar 07 16:31:55 CST 2016
Hattiesburg City Council 3.7.15 - Mon Mar 07 16:31:55 CST 2016
Published: 2016/03/07
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Abe Hudson - Black History Month
Abe Hudson - Black History Month
Published: 2009/02/20
Channel: The University of Southern Mississippi
Charles Bolton Arraigned  - Thu Mar 31 11:34:40 CDT 2016
Charles Bolton Arraigned - Thu Mar 31 11:34:40 CDT 2016
Published: 2016/03/31
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
HPSD 6.7 Board Meeting
HPSD 6.7 Board Meeting
Published: 2016/06/07
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Elaine Armstrong - Precious Minutes (i Can Really Call Mine) - King
Elaine Armstrong - Precious Minutes (i Can Really Call Mine) - King
Published: 2015/02/04
Channel: John Manship
Three men accused of taking advantage of elderly
Three men accused of taking advantage of elderly
Published: 2011/07/16
Channel: WDTNTV
Union members confront tea party activists
Union members confront tea party activists
Published: 2011/02/25
Channel: CapitolQuickies
Johnny Dupree questioned over submitting fraudulent gasoline charges in claims docket
Johnny Dupree questioned over submitting fraudulent gasoline charges in claims docket
Published: 2013/12/18
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Taking advantage of old people?
Taking advantage of old people?
Published: 2014/11/27
Channel: chillinkansai
Sheila Varnado 11/30/16 (5P+6P)
Sheila Varnado 11/30/16 (5P+6P)
Published: 2016/12/05
Channel: WDAM 7 Military Greetings
Hattiesburg Pa
Hattiesburg Pa's live broadcast - Tue Dec 08 17:03:12 CST 2015
Published: 2015/12/08
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
How has Congressman Steven Palazzo Failed Us?
How has Congressman Steven Palazzo Failed Us?
Published: 2017/03/08
Channel: E Brian Rose
Rep. Steve. Palazzo protested
Rep. Steve. Palazzo protested
Published: 2017/04/19
Channel: SunHerald
Fredderick Varnado 12/01/16 (5P+6P)
Fredderick Varnado 12/01/16 (5P+6P)
Published: 2016/12/05
Channel: WDAM 7 Military Greetings
Survey: 63% Of Affluent Pre-Retirees "Terrified" - Obamacare - America
Survey: 63% Of Affluent Pre-Retirees "Terrified" - Obamacare - America's Newsroom
Published: 2015/12/28
Channel: Mass Tea Party - Wake Up America!
March on Rep. Palazzo
March on Rep. Palazzo's office
Published: 2014/02/05
Channel: SunHerald
Mississippi Man Enrolls In Obamacare After 3K Attempts
Mississippi Man Enrolls In Obamacare After 3K Attempts
Published: 2014/02/03
Channel: Washington Free Beacon
September 16, 2014 City Council citizens forum discussion
September 16, 2014 City Council citizens forum discussion
Published: 2014/09/18
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Mississippi GOP Gearing Up for Red State
Mississippi GOP Gearing Up for Red State
Published: 2011/09/05
Channel: mbjournal
Let
Let's Hear it for WDAM
Published: 2012/05/21
Channel: WDAMTV
Jerome Jackson 12/02/16 (6P)
Jerome Jackson 12/02/16 (6P)
Published: 2016/12/05
Channel: WDAM 7 Military Greetings
HPSD Board Meeting - Tue Apr 05 17:55:45 CDT 2016
HPSD Board Meeting - Tue Apr 05 17:55:45 CDT 2016
Published: 2016/04/06
Channel: Hattiesburg Patriot
Coca-Cola
Coca-Cola's America is Your Park Campaign: Hattiesburg Mayor DuPree Rallies for Votes
Published: 2012/06/08
Channel: The Coca-Cola Co.
Hattiesburg City Council Powerless to Stop Tax Increase
Hattiesburg City Council Powerless to Stop Tax Increase
Published: 2010/08/17
Channel: PineBeltPRESS
Shawn O
Shawn O'Hara in Jackson www.COTTONMOUTHblog.com
Published: 2007/09/09
Channel: cottonmouthblog
Viola Liuzzo  - Created with WeVideo
Viola Liuzzo - Created with WeVideo
Published: 2013/04/06
Channel: TheAwilliams17
"Experience Matters" - Re-Elect Johnny DuPree for Mayor
"Experience Matters" - Re-Elect Johnny DuPree for Mayor
Published: 2013/04/27
Channel: johnnyldupree
Eye Care Associates | Laurel, MS | Eye Care
Eye Care Associates | Laurel, MS | Eye Care
Published: 2015/08/11
Channel: yellowpages
Hattiesburg Mayoral Election Pete Kelly Turner Jones City Hall
Hattiesburg Mayoral Election Pete Kelly Turner Jones City Hall
Published: 2013/09/27
Channel: My FOX 23
Tea Party Senator Knows How to Repeal Obamacare
Tea Party Senator Knows How to Repeal Obamacare
Published: 2013/07/08
Channel: The Undercurrent
Golden Eagle Deals - Best Savings Coupons Hattiesburg, MS
Golden Eagle Deals - Best Savings Coupons Hattiesburg, MS
Published: 2011/08/20
Channel: Jim Reynolds
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Raylawni Branch
Born 1941
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Raylawni Branch (born 1941, Hattiesburg, Forrest County, Mississippi, United States) is a black Mississippi pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement, a professional nursing educator and US Air Force Reserve officer. She is best known for her leading role in the integration of the University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg) in 1965, which was peaceful as opposed to the violent riot occasioned by the enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi (Oxford) in 1962.

Early life[edit]

She was raised in Hattiesburg, Prentiss, and Mount Carmel, Mississippi, and in Chicago, Illinois. When her family moved from Hattiesburg to Chicago, they were homeless two or three times, living in a park. She does not have good memories about living in the North. She went to schools that were predominantly white where the teacher never spoke to her.[1][2]

She was again homeless in Chicago after the family lost its home over her father’s legal problems. After her father died in the Cook County Jail in 1955, the family returned to Mississippi.[1]

By the time she was graduated from the eighth grade, she had moved eleven times and been in eight schools. Back in Mississippi, Branch attended Hattiesburg’s Royal Street (then Rowan) High School and graduated in 1959. There she learned political activism, pride, and how to work the system from Marjorie Chambers, her history teacher. She was also encouraged by listening to Dr. Martin Luther King's speeches on the radio.[2][3]

Civil rights activism[edit]

As a teenager, she worked in a restaurant named Fat's Kitchen in Hattiesburg’s Mobile Street black business district. There she met a regular customer, Clyde Kennard, whose tragic attempt to integrate the University of Southern Mississippi had begun in 1956 and was to play out before Branch’s young eyes. In 1959 she saw Kennard on the morning of his appointment with arch-segregationist Dr. William David McCain, president of (then) Mississippi Southern College, to discuss his enrollment application. She found Kennard the kind of person who actually believed in the goodness of man. He even had a good opinion of Dr. McCain, who was a well known racist and segregationist. He thought that he did not need any protection. Branch and others asked him to "Let someone go with you." But Kennard saw no need.[1][3]

The meeting with McCain resulted in his arrest on false criminal charges and the beginning of a notorious miscarriage of justice which led to Kennard’s early death at 36 because of bungled cancer treatment in the Mississippi prison system. After a second false arrest, Branch attended the trial and was among those who tried to get Johnny Lee Roberts, the prosecution's suborned witness, to tell the truth or flee the state. Roberts refused, fearing that the KKK would harm his family left in Mississippi.[1]

After high school graduation she tried the North again as a migrant worker on farms in Michigan, living in little shacks with no utilities, then again returned to Mississippi.[1]

From 1959 to 1965 she was a homemaker, married and had three children. When northern civil rights activists became active in Mississippi in the early 1960s with the Delta Ministry and similar groups, she became very active, serving as secretary of the Forrest County NAACP and a member of the Council of Federated Organizations, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She participated in several activities, including the August 28, 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at which she was one of the 250,000 to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech.[1][2] She integrated the Greyhound Lines and Trailways Transportation System bus stations in Hattiesburg, and was the first African American ever hired at the local Big Yank clothing factory. She also became the first African American ever offered a position as a switchboard operator at the local telephone company.[1][2][3]

In the NAACP she knew well people such as Aaron Henry, Charles Evers, and Medgar Evers. The night Medgar Evers was assassinated, June 12, 1963, she went to Jackson and sat with the widow Myrlie Evers-Williams.[1]

In 1965, at age twenty-four, Branch was Secretary of the Forrest County, Mississippi NAACP when it recruited her to integrate the last major holdout of the Mississippi university system, the University of Southern Mississippi. The NAACP offered to pay her tuition but not living expenses – a factor which led to her decision to withdraw after the first year. On September 6, 1965, she (then Raylawni Young) and eighteen-year-old Hattiesburg native Elaine Armstrong became the first African American students at Mississippi Southern.[1][2][3]

By the fall of 1965 both Ole Miss and Mississippi State University had been integrated – the former violently, the latter peacefully. University of Southern Mississippi leaders, such as President William David McCain, had come to realize that the battle to maintain segregation was lost. Therefore, they made extensive confidential plans for the admission and attendance of Branch and Armstrong. A faculty guardian and tutor was secretly appointed for each. The same campus police department which had attempted to railroad Kennard to prison when he attempted to enroll, now had very strict orders to prevent or quickly stop any incident involving the two black students. Student athletic, fraternity, and political leaders were recruited to keep the calm and protect the university from such bad publicity Ole Miss had suffered from its reaction to James Meredith.[1][2]

As a result, Branch had only one minor negative experience in her year at the university.

She majored in Pre-Medicine and had a work-study job on campus in the biology department. The two women attended classes accompanied by six bodyguards, one of them a local policeman who had once violently attacked her in a civil rights confrontation. The university administration appointed Dr. Geoffrey Fish, an oceanographer who taught biology as her guardian and tutor. Fish took a genuine interest in both women, gave them advice and jobs in work-study. He was very kind, listened to them, was like father figure to them.[1]

Today, Branch says that she was treated just like everybody else, and that the poor grades she earned were because of her financial and family situation and that, because of the poor, substandard segregated high school education she had received, she spoke a substandard English.[1][2]

Attending the university was very, very hard on her. At this time (September 1965) she had three young children, aged three, five, and six, to care for. Her first husband had mental illness and wouldn't allow her to study at night. The NAACP paid my tuition, but no money to live on. She did earn $80 weekly from the student job and received minimal help from the Delta Ministry, from Vernon Dahmer, and similar sources.[1][2][3]

She was well acquainted with civil rights martyr Vernon Dahmer, working with him in the NAACP and voter registration.

From the early 1960s she often attended meetings at Dahmer's house where his wife Ellie would watch the road for danger from the KKK while they met. Dahmer had been active in defense of Kennard during his struggle with William David McCain and the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission over Kennard’s attempt to enter the University of Southern Mississippi and he was equally supportive of Branch’s effort. In January 1966, on the evening before Dahmer’s home was firebombed by the KKK, he had sent to her boxes of groceries to help feed her family.[1]

After separating from her husband in 1966, Branch left Mississippi for New York, where she had a scholarship to study nursing at St. John's Episcopal School of Nursing. While in the North for school she was very active in the Anti-Vietnam War movement. October 21, 1967, she was among the 35,000 anti-war protesters organized by the National Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam, gathered for a demonstration at the Defense Department, called the "March on The Pentagon".[1][2]

She received her bachelor's degree in Nursing from the University of Miami in 1969.[1][2]

Having joined the Air Force reserves in 1975, she rose to lieutenant colonel assigned to Keesler Air Force Base, and stationed at Lowry Air Force Base in Denver, Colorado. In the Air Force she has been on flying status, been a chief nurse, been the director of an operating room, and assistant director.[1][2][3]

Branch returned to Hattiesburg in 1987, and is very glad that she did. The next year she enrolled in a Master's program at University of Southern Mississippi. She received her master's degree in Community Health Nursing, with a minor in Education, in 1993.[1][2]

Branch was Instructor of associate degree Nursing at Pearl River Community College[2] and Nurse Coordinator, American Red Cross of South Central Mississippi. In March 2004 she retired from Instructor of Nursing at the University of Southern Mississippi.[1]

In 2003 she ran for the Mississippi State Senate as a Republican.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s [1] Archived May 6, 2005, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m https://web.archive.org/web/20060912002820/http://www.lib.usm.edu/~archives/m335.htm?m335text.htm~mainFrame. Archived from the original on September 12, 2006. Retrieved September 11, 2008.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e f Juan Williams (2005). My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience. New York: Sterling Publishing. pp. 98−102. ISBN 978-1402722332. 
  4. ^ [2] Archived August 28, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.

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