September 30, 1962 – Race Riots Over James Meredith’s Attempt to Enroll as the First African-American Student at the U. of Mississippi

On this day in history, riots erupted on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford. Town locals, students, and committed segregationists had gathered to protest the enrollment of James Meredith, a black Air Force veteran attempting to integrate the all-white school. More than 120 federal marshals were on hand to protect Meredith, but the crowd turned violent as the sun went down, and authorities struggled to maintain order. When the smoke cleared the following morning, two civilians were dead and scores more were reported injured.

After spending the night of September 30 under federal protection, Meredith was allowed to register for classes the following morning, and became the first black graduate from the university in August 1963.

Chief U.S. Marshal James McShane (left) and Asst Atty General for Civil Rights, John Doar (right) of the Justice Dept, escorting James Meredith to class at Ole Miss

Chief U.S. Marshal James McShane (left) and Asst Atty General for Civil Rights, John Doar (right) of the Justice Dept, escorting James Meredith to class at Ole Miss

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