Courtney Pearson is the University of Mississippi’s first African-American homecoming queen, and she’s the first to admit she didn’t win the election on her looks.
Pearson, 21, is a vivacious, barely 5-foot-tall bundle of energy from Bartlett who was crowned during Saturday’s Auburn-Ole Miss football game.
“I’m not white, I’m not six feet, I’m not blonde, I’m not Greek, I don’t drive a 2012 (Mercedes) Benz,” Pearson said during an interview at the university’s J.D. Williams Library.
Instead, Pearson is a short, dark-haired English major who campaigned hard and maximized her use of Facebook and other social media to help her campaigns.
“If you log onto Facebook and see a status about someone who said ‘vote for Pearson,’ you’re already on your computer, you’re already online, you can quickly go vote. It’s as simple as that,” she said.
Pearson was elected in a runoff over Ashley Davis of Gulfport at the school as well known for attractive, well-heeled coeds as for its academic or athletic programs.
African-American women have attained campuswide titles in the past, but none has been elected homecoming queen. A university news release said Kimsey O’Neal Cooper of Carthage in 1989 was the first black student to be selected Miss Ole Miss.
In 1997, Carissa Alana Wells of Hamilton became the first African-American crowned Miss University.
Pearson’s election adds one more “first” for African-American students at the university that admitted its first black student, James Meredith, amid violence and armed protesters 50 years ago.
Kimberly Dandridge of Como, Miss., last spring was the first African-American woman to be elected Associated Student Body president at the University of Mississippi.
“I’ve taken a lot of alumni and shown them that this can be done and that Ole Miss is progressing and that Ole Miss is becoming this more accepting place…
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