Skip to comments.Today In History:Judicial Power (October 1, 1962 Ole Miss-Oxford Battle)
Posted on 10/01/2007 6:25:48 AM PDT by Nextrush
The battle (riot) at Ole Miss continued into the morning hours of Monday October 1, 1962.
Protestors used a bulldozer and a car to batter into the federal marshal force.
Hundreds were injured in the fighting.
James Meredith was not harmed by the protestors who directed their attack at the marshals.
Two people were killed in the fighting. A local jukebox repairman Ray Gunter and a London newspaper reporter, Paul Guihard, were killed by .38 caliber bullets that a Mississippi state investigator believed came from the federal marshals.
President Kennedy, Attorney General Kennedy and the president's aides stayed in the Cabinet Room all night awaiting the arrival of military forces in Oxford.
Political aide Kenneth O'Donnell was angry with the wait for the troops to arrive, vitrually accusing the military of dragging its feet.
O'Donnell said; "I have a hunch Kruschchev would get those troops in fast enough."
Eventually a Mississippi National Guard unit from Oxford made its way to the Lyceum area where the battle was taking place and stood in front.
Later regular Army troops arrived to relieve the federal police force around dawn.
In the morning James Meredith was taken from the Baxter Hall dormitory to the Lyceum where he was registered as a student at the University of Mississippi.
The car he rode in had smashed windows and a blankets were used to cover the broken glass.
The crowd yelled behind a cordon of soldiers as Meredith rode past. He said it was the first time white people in Mississippi had ever used the "N" word to describe him.
Soon Meredith attended his first class at the university.
Meanwhile, soldiers soon numbering in the thousands fanned out across the town of Oxford. Marines were landed by helicopter in the area.
Rioting was broken up and 200 arrests were made by the troops.
Among those arrested was the resigned Major General Edwin Walker, who was accused of four counts including "insurrection." The president and his aides accused Walker of "insurrection" during their Sunday night conversations at the White House.
Speaking to reporters as he was taken away Walker said: "They don't have a thing on me."
Bail for General Walker was set at $100,000 and unable to pay it, he was taken to the hospital at the federal penitentiary in Springfield, Missouri.
"Trigger happy" federal marshals were blamed by Mississippi officials for starting the violence by firing the tear gas around 8PM Sunday night.
Chief Marshal James McShane would later be indicted by a Lafayette County, Mississippi grand jury.
Meanwhile the Kennedy administration spin on the violence was that the Mississippi Highway Patrol pulled away from its security role at the Lyceum letting the protestors threaten the marshals.
Mississippi officials say the highway patrolmen were in place and trying to move the crowd back when the tear gas was set off. They noted that highway patrolmen were in the line of fire and injured by the tear gas projectiles.
Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett said President Kennedy was to blame.
"The responsibility for this unwarrented breach of the peace and violence in Mississippi rests directly with the President of the United States."
Once the military was ordered in, troops poured into Oxford by the thousands until they eventually numbered over 20-thousand......
James Meredith would later join the staff of Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC).
I remember it well. BTW, Meredith was later ordered graduated from Ole Miss by the feds even though he never passed chemistry, a course required for graduation.
Maybe if they had let him in without the NATIONAL GUARD or maybe if he didn't have to spend his whole time looking over his shoulder for crazed Klansman and brain-dead rednecks trying to beat him to death 24/7 just for daring to go to a white school, he'd have passed chemistry.
I'm just saying.
Hey, I could not find anything on him failing Chemistry and the “Feds” “ordering” Ole Miss to pass him. Do you know where I could find some documentation of that claim?
I don't know where you can find the documentation; however, I was there at the time (not for the riots but for his graduation) and remember it well.
The second black to enter Ole Miss was Cleve McDowell. One day while walking up the steps to a classroom building, he dropped a book. When he leaned over to pick up his book, a pistol fell out of his jacket. He was expelled for carrying a gun to class.
Hmmm...think Pooh Bear, think...
I assume your a a fan of the 2nd amendment?
So I have to take your word for it? There is nowhere I can go to see evidence of this?
I mean, I'd call that libel.
I'm not going to do your research for you. Here's what I remember: Meredith transferred into Ole Miss from a black college where he had flunked chemistry. He flunked chemistry at Ole Miss, and he re-took the course again in the summer of 1963 when he flunked it again. The feds said, "Enough", and ordered him graduated. He later went to work for right-wing Senator Jesse Helms in N.C.
Oh that's precious. YOU commit libel by insulting this man and then when you cannot back up such a claim I am the one being lazy!
Man, that is a tactic worthy of the left! Wow.
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