In January 1961, James Howard Meredith applied for admission to the University of Mississippi, receiving a letter of rejection on 25 May 1961. Following eighteen months of legal battles, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Meredith on 10 September 1962, permitting his admission. Throughout September, Governor Ross Barnett attempted to prevent his enrollment. On 30 September 1962, Meredith arrived at the University of Mississippi campus to enroll. A riot erupted on the night of Meredith's arrival during which a white crowd attacked United States Marshals sent to protect Meredith; the arrival of federal troops ended the violence in the early hours of 1 October 1962; two bystanders were killed, 206 marshals and soldiers were wounded and 200 people were arrested during the riot. Meredith officially registered for classes in October 1962 becoming the first African-American student at the University of Mississippi.
Images in this collection originate in the Russell H. Barrett Collection, the W. Wert Cooper Collection and the Mississippi Highway Patrol Collection. Russell H. Barrett was a UM Political Science professor who wrote Integration at Ole Miss. William Wert Cooper, Jr. was a senior at the University of Mississippi during the integration. The Mississippi Highway Patrol was charged with controlling entrance to the campus prior to the riot. The images in this collection document the activities on campus as well as troop movement in the town of Oxford.
For more information on archival resources on Integration and Civil Rights, visit our Civil Rights & Race Relations Subject Guide.
Some of the images and language that appear in this digital collection depict prejudices that are not condoned by the University of Mississippi. This content is being presented as historical documents to aid in the understanding of both American history and the history of the University of Mississippi. The University Creed speaks to our current deeply held values, and the availability of this content should not be taken as an endorsement of previous attitudes or behavior.
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