Ole Miss Integration Facts

Ole Miss Integration Facts
The University of Mississippi, often referred to by locals and alumni as "Ole Miss," is a public university located in Oxford, Mississippi. The traditional public "flagship" university in the state of Mississippi, the University of Mississippi was a whites only college into the 1960s. When the United States Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka that segregated schools were unconstitutional, civil rights activists immediately set out to challenge segregation policies in numerous states. Although most states almost immediately complied with the ruling, the deep south states, especially Mississippi and Alabama, were recalcitrant. Activist organizations began to focus their attentions on those two states through a number of different strategies. After being denied admission to Ole Miss twice, black Air Force veteran James Meredith sued the university in federal court to be admitted. On September 13, 1962 a federal District Court ordered that Meredith be admitted to the university. After numerous statements by ardent pro-segregation Mississippi governor Ross Barnett that he would do whatever he could do deny Meredith into the school, and after several threats on Meredith's life, President John F. Kennedy ordered 500 U.S. Marshalls, augmented by soldiers from Fort Campbell, Kentucky and members of the Mississippi National Guard to protect Meredith as he attended class. A crowd of thousands of pro-segregations assembled on the campus an in Oxford, resulting in rioting and violence for two days, from September 30, 1962 to October 1, 1962. Over 300 people were injured, two died, and thousands of dollars in property damage.
Interesting Ole Miss Integration Facts:
Most of the violence took place in and around the Lyceum, which is a cluster of eight building in the center of campus.
The riots are often also referred to as "The Battle of Oxford."
The rioters were instigated by former Army Major General and rightwing activist Edwin Walker.
Once the most militant portions of the mob learned that Meredith was being housed in Baxter Hall, they attempted to surround the building.
The two fatalities were thirty-one-year-old French journalist, Paul Guihard and twenty-three-year-old repairman Ray Gunter. Guihard was shot in the back and Gunter in the forehead. Both were killed behind the Lyceum.
Although President Kennedy agreed with integration in theory, he was more moderate than most civil rights activists and tried to reach a diplomatic solution before the violence began.
It is believed that possibly due to his goatee and foreign accent, Guihard was thought to be a leftist protester.
No one was arrested for either Guihard's or Gunter's murders.
About 160 Marshals and forty guardsmen were injured during the riots.
In football crazy Mississippi, the University of Mississippi's football team had a perfect record during the 1962, which was obviously overshadowed by the riots.
Meredith graduated from the University of Mississippi in August 1963 with a degree in political science. He had hundreds of troops guarding him twenty-four hours a day during his entire time at the university.
The event turned public attention on the state of Mississippi and drew more civil rights activists to the state.


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