1962 – U.S. President John F. Kennedy nationalized the Mississippi National guard in response to city officials defying federal court orders. The orders had been to enroll James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. 


James Meredith

 

JAMES MEREDITH: INTEGRATED THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI IN 1962

Who Is James Meredith?

James Meredith is an American civil rights activist, writer, and Air Force veteran.  A Mississippi-native, Meredith joined the military after high school and attended an all-Black college before becoming the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi in 1962. After he graduated, Meredith earned a law degree and became involved in politics.

Early Life

Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on June 25, 1933, James Howard Meredith was raised on a farm with nine brothers and sisters, largely insulated from the racism of the time. His first experience with institutionalized racism occurred while he was riding a train from Chicago with his brother. When the train arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, Meredith was ordered to give up his seat and move to the crowded Black section of the train, where he had to stand for the rest of his trip home. He vowed then that he would dedicate his life to ensuring equal treatment for African Americans.

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