Timothy Brownlee, a senior history major at The University of Southern Mississippi, took home a first place award for his presentation during the annual Undergraduate Symposium on Research and Creative Activity held April 22-23 at the Hattiesburg campus.
The symposium is held to showcase the work/research of outstanding Southern Miss undergraduate students. Brownlee, a Richton, Miss., native, collected his award in the History, Heritage, and Legacies category for his presentation on baseball legend Jackie Robinson.
Brownlee, 31, points out that he has been closely studying baseball since the age of 14. His research on Robinson revealed that not only did the Los Angeles Dodgers great break Major League Baseball’s color barrier in 1947, but he was also an outspoken advocate for Civil Rights.
“He became the focus of my work when I discovered his Civil Rights letters, and I learned that he wrote letters to government officials, Civil Rights leaders, and southern journalists while he was still a baseball player,” said Brownlee. “Jackie Robinson did not just become a Civil Rights activist after he retired; he was always a Civil Rights activist. My argument was that the Civil Rights movement began with Jackie Robinson and not Martin Luther King Jr., and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.”
A graduate of Richton High School, Brownlee served four years (2010-13) in the U.S. Army as a Logistics Specialist. He plans to finish his undergraduate degree next May before pursuing a Master’s Degree and Doctorate.