The integration of the University of Mississippi occurred in October of 1962 after James Meredith won a lawsuit to legally attend the university. The event that occurred after this was the riot that broke out when he attempted to attend classes.
Many people did not agree with the court’s decision or with Meredith attending the university. Many people were protesters outside of the university during his first class. Some people even attempted to break into the classroom where he was attending, but police officers managed to prevent any serious incidents.
The protests became more violent as night fell, and many officers were injured. Around 300 people were arrested, and some civilians and journalists were killed during the unrest. Eventually, national guardsmen had to be called in to restore order on the campus and in Oxford, Mississippi where the riots occurred.
This article will discuss details about what happened after James Meredith won his lawsuit and attempted to attend classes at the University of Mississippi.
Two black students were admitted to the University of Mississippi
Two black students were admitted to the University of Mississippi in fall 1962, several months after James Meredith won the right to legally attend the university.
These students were described as being “qualified applicants” by a press release from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). This implies that they did not fight for admission for anyone who was not qualified.
The press release also states that these students were admitted in part because of ongoing litigation involving James Meredith and the NAACP. Litigation is a way to legally force someone or something to do something, in this case admit these two students.
By stating these two students were admitted in part because of litigation, it is implied that they may have been admitted despite ongoing litigation. It is unclear if they were fully accepted due to continuing litigation, but it seems like it played some role.
James Meredith became the first African-American student at the University of Mississippi
In the fall of 1962, James Meredith became the first African-American student to attend the University of Mississippi. This was after he won a lawsuit that declared his admission to the school illegal due to his race.
Prior to his admission, a riot broke out on the campus in which two people were killed and dozens more were injured. The National Guard had to be called in to restore order.
Many people were afraid that something similar would happen when Meredith arrived on campus, but he was greeted peacefully. He had received death threats prior to arriving, however, and police had to protect him. He stayed only a few months before leaving for military service, but he had made an impact.
He returned to the university several years later and graduated with a degree in communications. He went on to have a career in politics and currently serves in the U.S. Senate.
Violence broke out between white and black citizens in Mississippi
In 1962, riots broke out in Mississippi following the admission of the first African-American student to the University of Mississippi. These riots occurred nearly a decade after the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education.
Following James Meredith’s admission to the university, white citizens gathered and rioted. They attacked reporters and police officers, causing several serious injuries and one death.
Many of these citizens were members of white supremacist groups that had organized prior to Meredith’s admission. These groups used this opportunity to incite violence and hatred toward black people.
These riots continued for two days, bringing about 5,000 people into the streets and costing approximately $1 million (which is about $7 million today) in property damage.
The National Guard was called in to maintain peace and order
After James Meredith gained admission to the University of Mississippi in fall 1962, riots broke out. Due to the violent nature of the riots, President John F. Kennedy had to call in the National Guard to maintain peace and order.
Meredith initially struggled to fit in at the university. He was met with hostility and threats of physical violence. As a result, he stayed inside a dorm room for several days until things cooled down. Eventually, he was able to make some friends and enjoy his time as a student.
He was also protected by federal marshals for about a year after his arrival. This was done to ensure his safety due to continued threats made against him. He left the school in 1963 after completing his degree but prior to joining the U.S. Army.
Martin Luther King, Jr. came to support James Meredith
A famous civil rights activist named Martin Luther King, Jr. came to support James Meredith when he attended the University of Mississippi. King gave a famous speech about equality on the campus of the university.
He also gave a speech at a nearby church where he discussed his views on equality. Many people remember this because it was filmed and uploaded to television and internet.
He spoke about how people should be treated equally, no matter what color their skin is or what religion they are. He also mentioned that people should not be bullied, harassed, or intimidated because of this.
King was shot and killed several years after this incident occurred. He was one of the last great civil rights activists and will be remembered for his work.