September 30, 1962 – James Meredith Enters Ole Miss
On September 30, 1962, James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi escorted by US Marshals. Due to violence opposing his entry, they had to leave and return on the next day October 1, which is viewed by many as his official first day at Ole Miss. When Meredith initially applied to the University of Mississippi he was accepted, when his race was discovered, he was denied entry.Meredith lost a suit for entry in district court and then he filed with the U.S. Supreme Court where he won the right for admittance. Rioting occurred on September 20, 1962 when Meredith arrived to register at the University of Mississippi. Attorney General Robert Kennedy sent 500 hundred U.S. Marshals while President John F. Kennedy sent military police troops from the Mississippi National Guard and members of the U.S. Border Patrol to protect Meredith and maintain order during the disturbance.
Almost four years later, Meredith was seriously wounded when he was shot by a white gunman June 7, 1966 on the second day of a solo 220 mile March from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. The march was a “March Against Fear” and to encourage voter registration. After been taken to the hospital, supporters and other leaders committed to complete his march to Jackson and on June 26 approximately 15,000 marchers arrived in Jackson along with a recovering Meredith. This march became the largest civil rights march in Mississippi’s history and resulted in over 4,000 Mississippi African American voter registrations. James Meredith was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on June 25, 1933.