Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi American Apartheid

By Sue Schuurman

OCTOBER 5, 1998:  On Sept. 30, 1962, James H. Meredith, a 29-year-old African American and Air Force veteran, moved into a University of Mississippi dormitory, planning the following day to be the first black student to enroll at the 114-year-old school. Within a matter of days, two persons were dead, dozens injured and a military force of 15,000 had moved into town all due to the violent reaction white students and other Southern segregationists had to President Kennedy enforcing a court order that Ole Miss integrate its student body. Meredith was accompanied by five marshals wherever he went, including to his classes, where students left the seats surrounding him vacant, and to his dorm room, in "an otherwise unoccupied wing" of Baxter Hall. Incredibly, Meredith survived the intense intimidation, thus becoming a hero of the civil rights movement.

And how did the Albuquerque Journal respond? To their credit, editors promoted integration, but more for practical reasons than appealing to our sense of justice: "Mississippi Gov. Ross R. Barnett's defiance of the law brought about (the) rioting. ... These racial disturbances in the United States, which is trying to win the friendship of Africans and other colored people around the world and keep them from Communism, become a discouraging spectacle. Racial equality must be established in the schools and elsewhere. "

"OXFORD, Miss--Students went on a bloody riot and battled U.S. marshals at the University of Mississippi Sunday night and shortly before midnight five jeeploads of troops rolled onto the campus.

"The violent reaction--causing at least two deaths and many injuries--came after Negro James H. Meredith was secretly brought to the school under federal escort for registration tomorrow. ...

"The beleaguered marshals fired one barrage of tear gas after another. ... The jeering throng gave way to the onslaught of the milky white gas. ...

"On previous attempts by Meredith to register, Gov. Ross Barnett appeared in person and physically blocked the efforts of U.S. marshals to bring Meredith in. ...

"About 1000 students crowded around the administration building. A student dressed in confederate uniform led the group in cheers.

"The students passed out postcards addressed to President Kennedy. They said: 'Please take notice that I respectfully resent the unnatural warfare being waged against the sovereign state of Mississippi and urge that you give more serious attention to facing up to the Communist menace and our Cuban problem.'

"Chants of 'nigger lover' and 'you ought to be in Cuba' rang out. ... "


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