James Meredith and the University of Mississippi’s Integration

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James Meredith and the University of Mississippi’s Integration When a person presently looks at university school systems, one never imagines the struggle to obtain such diverse campuses. With Caucasians, Asians, Latinos, and African Americans all willing and able to attend any institution, it is difficult now to envision a world where, because of one’s skin color, a person is denied university acceptance. In actuality, this world existed only fifty years ago. In a time of extreme racial discrimination, African Americans fought and struggled toward one of many goals: to integrate schools. As a pioneer in the South, a man named James Meredith took a courageous step by applying to the University of Mississippi, an all white university. After overcoming many legal and social obstacles, the University of Mississippi’s integration sent positive effects rippling among universities across the nation. As a native Mississippian, James Meredith honestly lived and worked all of his life. After serving nine years in the United States Air Force, Meredith wholeheartedly absorbed John F. Kennedy’s ideals on “civil rights” and decided to apply to the University of Mississippi (Howard 1060). Upon applying, Meredith knew that if accepted, he would be the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi. Deep in the heart of the South, the state of Mississippi prided itself on its all white campuses and resistence toward integration. Little did they know that James Meredith, an uprising civil rights activist, would pull a racial chord in the university that would change it for lifetimes to come. From past observations, acceptance into “Ole Miss” appeared impossible for an African American. With “[f]our known... ... middle of paper ... ...Sept. 1962: 1. Buckley, Thomas. “Tear Gas and Sticks Repel Wild Student Charges.” New York Times 1 Oct. 1962: 23. Cohodas, Nadine. “James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss.” The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education 16 (Summer, 1997): 112-22. Howard, William L.. “Meredith, James Howard.” The African American Encyclopedia. 1993. “Meredith’s Fight for Admission to University Spans 16 Months.” New York Times 1 Oct. 1962: 25. “Mississippi Rejoins the Union.” New York Times 1 Oct 1962: 30. Sitton, Claude. “Negro At Mississippi U. As Barnett Yields; 3 Dead In Campus Riot, 6 Marshals Shot; Guardsmen Move In; Kennedy Makes Plea.” New York Times 1 Oct. 1962: 1. Smith, Hendrick. “Johnson Is Fined.” New York Times 30 Sept. 1962: 1.
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