Phi-Mu accepts African American Girl; Ole Miss in Disarray


Devastated, torn and overwhelmed with hurt Kimbrely Dandridge’s only comfort zone in the summer of 2010 was her room in building ‘I’ at Ole Miss apartment complex, Campus Walk.

At Campus Walk, journalism major ‘Kim’, 20, spent hours gazing the empty parking lots trying to erase the memory of the past year’s heartache. She had been rejected from what she calls a ‘black sorority’, due to an error in notary.   

“I was really upset,” – she said. “I just felt so unfairly treated. I had a really good resume to back up my application and then they chose to discard me due to one stupid mistake!” Kim, now a member of ‘Phi-Mu’, recalled.

 “I practically spent the entire summer weighing up my next move,” she said, little knowing the distress would increase before it would cease.   

 Unlike many other African-American female students at Ole Miss, Kim decided to rush in the fall of 2010 as a result of a long summer’s consideration. She said she decided to defy family and racial traditions because “God intended it to be that way.”

The stress related with this decision was “immense”, she said. In fact, on a few occasions the pressure from family, acquaintances and other students became so vast that ‘Kim’ broke into tears.  

“One time after I decided to rush, a friend of mine came to me and said she was so disappointed in me and that I had betrayed my people and that I should support ‘their’ cause.” She said.

“Being a member of a black sorority or fraternity is a pride thing. It means a lot to our community and people look at you differently if you aren’t a member. But I remember coming to the conclusion that I did apply, and they rejected me for a silly reason. So I moved on.”

After rushing, Kim was called back to three different houses, two of which she didn’t want to mention and the other being Phi-Mu. “I was super excited, because this practically meant I could choose which one I wanted.” She said.

However, things developed differently than what Kim expected and on the subsequent nights she was cut from two of the three houses.

“I received a phone call late at night from some of the girls from the two houses and they informed me that their alumni had told them to cut me as they weren’t ready for a black girl yet.” She said and continued: “Needless to say, I was in shock”.  

She accepted Phi-Mu’s bid, hoping the commotion surrounding her would finally calm. It did not.

A week after she was accepted by Phi-Mu a BlogSpot was posted to discussion site http://www.collegeacb.com under the headline “Ole Miss Phi-Mu takes black girl = laughing stock of Ole Miss.”

The post received more than fifty replies, many of them condemning Kimbrely and it was hereafter blocked by the university network, but not removed from the site.

“That was the low point. It really hurt that people were so strongly upset with my situation. As if I didn’t go through enough with the black community.” She said.

Kim has since received much appreciation and support from sisters in the Phi-Mu sisterhood. A journalism major and member of Phi-Mu, Marie-Anna Breland, 20, says Kim was an obvious choice.

“We like anyone who is involved in the university and Kim definitely was. She is really making a difference out of the goodness in her heart and has very high moral standards,” Marie-Anna said.

She continued: “She also had very good grades and was a very kind person so we decided to give her a bid and luckily for us she accepted.”  

Since Phi-Mu accepted Kim they have been on the receiving end of some positive press, but Marie-Anna criticizes that and says they should not be receiving special praise for something that should not even be mentioned.

“All the girls in our house are equal, regardless of race or religion. We don’t wish extra pressure upon anyone.” she finished.  

Another member of Phi-Mu, Samra Ward, 19, says she aspires to do what Kim does for the community: “It seems like she’s involved in everything! And she does it because she wants to help, not because of anything else and you can only admire that.” She said.

Kim summons the past years escapades up as a long and hard-fought personal victory for herself: “It has been very tough, but in the end I prevailed. God has his own plans for everyone and I am more than happy with what I’ve gotten so far,” she said.

“Recently, the girl who condemned me for betraying my people came up to me and told me how proud she was of me. She said sorry and actually thought I was helping to improve the racial barriers. That made me smile.” Kim finished.

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Phi-Mu accepts African American Girl; Ole Miss in Disarray

  1. maralyn howell bullion

    There are no words to describe how proud I am of my sorority, Phi Mu. I was a president of Alpha Delta in 1942 and became the first woman to be president of the student body in 1943-44. It is so good that we have another member be ASB president and especially exciting that she is African American. Kimbrely, this is a big milestone for you and you deserve so much admiration. You will continue to make Phi Mu glad that they had the courage to pledge you. Best wishes, Maralyn Howell Bullion ’41

  2. Kelly Gilbert

    I saw a bit of Kim’s story on ESPN’s 30 for 30 film series. I had my husband pause the show and rewind, just so I could be certain that those letters were indeed mine. I have never been more proud to be a member of Phi Mu! These girls ROCK! And they’re my sisters!
    Kappy Mu Class of 1991.
    LIOB,
    Kelly Fleet Gilbert

    • Nyce Keiyoro

      This has really inspired me!! My name is Nyce Keiyoro from Mercer University and I am a “black girl” from Kenya, Africa. I really wanted to rush this year and join Phi Mu but I was scared. I am still scared of being judged and looked at differently. There has never been a black girl in the Phi Mu at our school and this makes me even more nervous to rush next year. I really love Phi Mu and feel like I would fit in perfectly. They remind me of my sisters back home. This is my second semester at school and honestly the Phi Mu girls are what make me feel at home and my sisters.
      This story has really given me hope of rushing no matter what anybody says. Please contact me at nkeiyoro@gmail.com it would be of great help if I had you as reference.

      • Mercedes

        I’m a “black girl” and just became a sister of Phi Mu and although I am the minority in the chapter, these girls made me feel more welcomed than some of my own “sistahs” in the Divine Nine NPHC Chapters at my school. So far, I can confidently say that accepting a bid from Phi Mu was the best decision I’ve made since coming to college. I’ve met so many wonderfully, genuine women in Phi Mu, and to see that diversity is becoming Phi Mu’s makeup nationally is a beautiful and exciting thing. Please do not be scared about pledging Phi Mu, but more importantly experience Rush Week and go for the sorority that accepts you for you and doesn’t judge you for the color of your skin. If that sorority should be Phi Mu, beautiful, but if it should be another, don’t be down…go for who goes for you :) Best wishes girl.

        *Phi Mu–Class of 2013*

  3. Constance Ordeman

    I have always been so proud to be a Phi Mu! I thought my proudest moment was when my daughter became a Phi Mu at Tulane. But this tops that! What a strong woman Kim is, but I am not surprised! She is a Phi Mu!
    LIOB,
    Constance Ordeman
    Beta Eta Chapter, Phi Mu

    • Nyce Keiyoro

      This has really inspired me!! My name is Nyce Keiyoro from Mercer University and I am a “black girl” from Kenya, Africa. I really wanted to rush this year and join Phi Mu but I was scared. I am still scared of being judged and looked at differently. There has never been a black girl in the Phi Mu at our school and this makes me even more nervous to rush next year. I really love Phi Mu and feel like I would fit in perfectly. They remind me of my sisters back home. This is my second semester at school and honestly the Phi Mu girls are what make me feel at home and my sisters.
      This story has really given me hope of rushing no matter what anybody says. Please contact me at nkeiyoro@gmail.com it would be of great help if I had a reference.

  4. Nyce

    This has really inspired me!! My name is Nyce Keiyoro from Mercer University and I am a “black girl” from Kenya, Africa. I really wanted to rush this year and join Phi Mu but I was scared. I am still scared of being judged and looked at differently. There has never been a black girl in the Phi Mu at our school and this makes me even more nervous to rush next year. I really love Phi Mu and feel like I would fit in perfectly. They remind me of my sisters back home. This is my second semester at school and honestly the Phi Mu girls are what make me feel at home and my sisters.
    This story has really given me hope of rushing no matter what anybody says. Please contact me at nkeiyoro@yahoo.com it would be of great help if I had a reference.

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