• Blues Week

    Blues Week

    Get ready for a week of games, fun, and excitement!
    It's a great way to meet new friends and learn about your university.
    Read More
  • Great College

    Great College

    For the fourth year in a row, The W has been named one of the
    best colleges in the nation to work for by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
    Read More
  • Distinguished Alumnus

    Distinguished Alumnus

    Dr. Doris Taylor ('77), director of regenerative medicine at the Texas Heart Institute,
    will receive the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
    Read More
  • The W Life

    The W Life

    We know college is more than just academics. You'll find a place to fit in at The W.
    Read More
  • Historic Campus

    Historic Campus

    Take a tour of our beautiful, historic campus and find out why we think you'll love it here.
    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

COLUMBUS, Miss. – Dr. Erin Kempker, professor of history at Mississippi University for Women, was recently selected as a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar.


As a participant, she will attend a summer institute supported by the NEH, which focuses on "Finding Mississippi in the National Civil Rights Narrative: Struggle, Institution Building, and Power at the Local Level. The three-week program will be held at Jackson State University, starting June 9.

Kempker will be one of 25 scholars at the institute whose role is to learn all they can and bring what they learn back to their respective campuses and communities to disseminate.  

"I believe that I was selected because I made a compelling argument for how I would use the resources and knowledge gained from attending the institute to support undergraduate research projects, community presentations and new scholarship.  

"Overall the institute seeks to understand the civil rights movement in Mississippi and how this state fits into the larger national narrative of the civil rights movement. We will meet with activists and scholars of the Mississippi movement and we will take several field trips around the state to visit important sites," she explained.

Even though Mississippi was the heart of the civil rights movement, Kempker said students know very little about it.

"The work I do at the institute will help enrich the history curriculum at MUW. Through coursework and other programming and service projects I will implement curriculum related to Mississippi civil rights history and actively publicize the work and the history of the movement across the campus and throughout northeast Mississippi," she said.

Kempker's interest in the institute is both academic and personal.

"As a woman's historian of 20th century grassroots politics, I am deeply interested in the civil rights movement and learning more about how activism manifested and was harnessed at the local and state levels.

"On a more personal note, I live in Mississippi and the overwhelming majority of MUW students and their families are from Mississippi. The institute will help me better understand my community and its history. Most importantly, I see participation in the institute as providing me the opportunity to enrich academic life at MUW, through my teaching, research and institutional service. In 2016, MUW will celebrate the 50th anniversary of racial integration. Part of the reason I applied to the institute is to ensure that I can help support MUW as it plans significant efforts to commemorate integration," she explained.

Kempker was chosen from a national applicant pool to attend one of 30 seminars and institutes supported by NEH. The endowment is a federal agency that, each summer, supports these enrichment opportunities at colleges, universities and cultural institutions, so that faculty can work in collaboration and study with experts in humanities disciplines.

She was honored to be chosen for the program.

"The civil rights movement and the people who participated in it define courage for me.  Their story and history is essential to understanding the American experience because it gets at the most basic conundrums of the American experience, such as, slavery and freedom, equality and segregation," Kempker said.

June 4, 2014
Contact: Anika Mitchell Perkins
(662) 329-7124
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Upcoming Events

  • Freshman & Transfer Orientation Tue. 2 Aug, 2016 (9:00 am - 5:00 pm) Orientation assists students as they transition to MUW, whether they are transferring from another college setting or entering as a first-time coll...
  • Blues Week 2016 Sat. 20 Aug, 2016 8:00 am - Sat. 27 Aug, 2016 11:00 pm Mark your calendars for Blues Week 2016! The Office of Student Life hosts a week full of exciting events to get the new and returning students conn...
  • Blues Week 2016-Welcome Back BBQ Sat. 20 Aug, 2016 (5:00 pm - 7:00 pm) Kick off Blues Week 2016 events with the Welcome Back Blues Week Picnic. The picnic is a great opportunity for new students parents and family memb...