On September 25, 1962, James Meredith, became the first African American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.  Five days later, riots erupted and two people died and 200 others were injured. Fifty years later, Ole Miss has crowned its first African-American homecoming queen. “I am still in shock, but I am definitely very excited,” said Courtney Roxanne Pearson. Pearson beat Ashleigh Davis 1,477 votes to 1,387 in the historical win. During Saturday’s homecoming game, not only did Ole Miss beat Auburn, but Pearson, a 21 year old English Secondary Education major from Memphis, was escorted by her father, Commander Kerri Pearson during halftime.

Pearson was inspired to run for homecoming by another African-American student’s unsuccessful run and a conversation with a family friend. “As a child, I had a conversation with the son of a family friend,” Pearson said. “We sat and looked through a magazine one day and the front cover had a bigger, African-American young lady on the cover who had been announced as homecoming queen at some university. The young man did not find this young lady very attractive and he asked how in the world is she homecoming queen. As we kept reading, we found out that the homecoming queen at the particular university was chosen from the women who had the highest grade-point averages. This young man, who often had something sarcastic to say about my academic excellence, looked and me and said, ‘Maybe your grades will get you somewhere one day, because your looks sure won’t.’ That was probably be best motivation I could have had.”

Pearson comes from a long line of Ole Miss graduates. “My mother, father and stepmother are all alumni of the university,” Pearson said. “I really believed that Ole Miss was the right place for me. It’s very hard to explain, but I knew exactly where I was supposed to be.” After graduation in May 2013, Pearson has plans to apply to graduate school and Teach For America.

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  • Love Sosa

    nah, i’m actually only about 150 pounds. i’m just not a shit brain like you and am proud of her accomplishment despite her outer appearance.

  • Wendy

    Ok. I get that some people feel that weight determines beauty. I get that the Old South is all about their tokens within the Black community. I think we should take a step back and examine just exactly what the current standard is and what it signifies.
    Throughout history, American and World, the determination of beauty has been up for grabs. Skin color is pretty consistently up there. The darker you are the lower your Status.however money can tend to bend the society rules (think Pele or Sammy Sosa) if your darker. However conventional beauty today espouses a much leaner and less curvaceous frame. So what are we questioning and is it in the correct context?

    Given “Old” Miss’s history and the backdrop of Mississippi even if this is an attempt at ‘blackface humor’ when will our society place beauty on an accurate scale rather than what is pleasing to someone’s subjective eye? Most of these contests are rated on a glorified popularity and the local political scale of standards.
    In this case attacking this young woman based on your subjective standards is easy to do online away from the climate that she faces daily being a black member of Ole Miss society.
    We have to do better in supporting each other as people first and integrate our standards of beauty as the world does. Think Alex Wek as a fashion model. Some people will never think of contests like these as anything more than a glorified beauty contest, but in today’s standards the value and beauty of a woman is far more than just what she looks like.
    Coming from a woman who has been skinny, chubby, fat, and average but always beautiful by my family, peer , and respective organizational standards. I hope that we all put our comments in the context of what we would want someone to say about our sister, mother, aunt, girlfriend, cousin, etc. Ultimately what’s more important content of character or subjective standards?

  • Shane, GPHR

    This story is sad and sick. It’s sick because the students elected this girl as a low key diss. It’s sad because so many black women are co-signing this girl like it’s a victory for black women when really it’s a loss. All this serves to do is reinforce the image of black women as overweight or obese and that they accept being fat. Sadly a majority of black women are fat, over 75% of them being overweight, with half of them being obese. These numbers lead all groups of Americans by a large margin, this is why BW are typically portrayed as overweight/obese mammys.

    BW claim to be so educated but this makes one question their so called education when they could not pick up on the racist undertones. The fact that students at Old Miss rioted when President Obama was re-elected should tell you how they really feel. They have a hard time dealing with a black person who might be just as good as them or even better. They feel comfortable with blacks who are stereotypes, you know, the thug, the baby mother, the obese mammy, the hoodrat, the person who speaks like a slave. That’s what happened for Homecoming, they picked a STEREOTYPICAL black woman to be homecoming Queen, one who they feel comfortable with and who is inferior to their women. You actually think they would have elected a slim, attractive black woman who can hold her own against any beautiful white woman ???? HELL NO.
    They picked Precious to be their homecoming queen and basically said to black people, ” Here, this is what represents your women” .

    They have no problem with a fat, unattractive black woman because she is a stereotype and no threat.

    They have a huge problem with a black or biracial man, with a sky high IQ, who succeeds at every stage of life and who is simply just better than most of them. An intelligent black man, who doesn’t fit any of their stereotypes is found to be a threat be racist whites. White supremacy has many thinking that they are naturally better than people of color , so when a person of color comes along and totally shoots down those beliefs, racist whites often can’t handle it.

    Black Women , WAKE UP. White promotion of fat black woman is an undercover diss. Having a magazine cover with 3 pretty white females and Precious was a diss. Most men aren’t attracted to fat women and they image being promote tells the world that most black women are fat and sexually undesirable. The fact that black women seem to embrace being fat only serves to reinforce that negative image. Black women, they are laughing at you, but the arrogance many BW have blinds them to this.

    Ask yourself this question, they are pushing the image of the fat/obese black woman, but they rarely push the image of the fat/obese white woman. Look at the reality shows? They seek out fat , ghetto black women, but not fat, trashy white women.

  • Submissive black girl

    Agree! & Co-sign!!
    There are in shape attractive Black women out here. Girls like Gabby Sidbe and this homecoming queen are so thirsty for attention they’ll make fools of themselves and the rest of black women.

    -Submissive black girl