U.S. Military Activities and Civil Rights: Part 1: Integration of the University of Mississippi and the Use of Military Force, 1961-1963

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In the fall of 1962 the college town of Oxford, Mississippi, erupted in violence. At the center of the controversy stood James Meredith, an African American who was attempting to register at the all-white University of Mississippi, known as "Ole Miss." Meredith had the support of the federal government, which insisted that Mississippi honor the rights of all its citizens, regardless of race. Mississippi’s refusal led to a showdown between state and federal authorities and the storming of the campus by a segregationist mob. Two people died and dozens were injured. In the end, Ole Miss, the state of Mississippi, and the nation were forever changed.

This microfilm publication comprises the Records of the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Military Operations (ODCSOPS) relating to the military efforts to enforce the integration of the University of Mississippi. These records highlight the use of Federal marshals, U.S. Troops, and the federalized National Guard in Oxford, MS, 1962-1963, on the occasion of James Meredith’s enrollment at the University of Mississippi. The records cover events such as the riots of September 30 and Governor Barnett’s efforts to obstruct Federal marshals, as well as daily events on campus and Meredith’s progress under integration. The files detail the extensive Federal involvement, including preparations for the military operation, Executive Orders , after action reports on the costs and lessons of Federal involvement, congressional correspondence on the military’s involvement, and effects on the media, public, and in particular, students and staff at Ole Miss. These records demonstrate that the Federal government was highly sensitive to public opinion, researching the legality of Federal intervention and monitoring press reports, letter to congressmen, and the international impact of the campaign.

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