#OTD20 | September 20, 1962

James Meredith Blocked by Ross Barnett at Ole Miss

September 20, 1962: James Meredith attempts to register at the University of Mississippi, but is obstructed by Governor Ross Barnett.

Governor Ross Barnett's defiant act directly challenges a U.S. Supreme Court ruling and sets the stage for a federal intervention. Barnett declares:

"There is no case in history where the Caucasian race has survived social integration. … No school will be integrated in Mississippi while I am your Governor!"

Although Meredith is turned away this day, the resulting legal battles and federal intervention lead to a subsequent riot on the Ole Miss campus. It isn't until October, when he is escorted into the school by federal Marshals, that Meredith successfully enrolls.

This landmark confrontation pushes America closer to addressing systemic racism, and James Meredith's determination becomes a symbol of resilience and bravery in the face of oppressive segregation.

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Additional Resources

Access more information from Media Rich Learning and curated off-site sources.

Columbia Law Review

Read the CLR article, "Constance Baker Motley, James Meredith, and the University of Mississippi."

History

From the History website, "James Meredith at Ole Miss."

JFK Library

Explore the integration of Ole Miss on this microsite at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

Politico

Read this remembrance of Civil Rights advocate, John Doar, one of the federal marshalls who escorted James Meredith into Ole Miss.

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