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Photos: On this day – September 20, 1962 – James Meredith is barred from entering the University of Mississippi

Posted Sep 20, 2012

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On this day – 50 years ago – James Meredith, an African-American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.

James Meredith was the first African American student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi, an event that was a flashpoint in the American civil rights movement. Motivated by President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, Meredith decided to exercise his constitutional rights and apply to the University of Mississippi.

In Brown v. Board of Education (1955), the US Supreme Court ruled that publicly supported schools had to be desegregated and in another case that Meredith had the right to be admitted to the state school.

After being barred from entering on September 20, on October 1, 1962, he became the first African-American student at the University of Mississippi.White students and anti-desegregation supporters protested his enrollment by rioting on the Oxford campus.

500 U.S. Marshals and the 503rd Military Police Battalion were sent in by President Kennedy and confrontations with protestors resulted in 2 deaths and more than 200 injuries. (AP, Wikipedia)

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