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Africans Impressed by Kennedy’s Handling of Mississippi Crisis

Oct. 11, 1962 - The Federal Government’s firm handling of the Mississippi crisis has made a favorable impression in Africa. At the height of the crisis, when U.S. troops and Federal marshals were dispatched to the University of Mississippi to back the registration of Negro student James H. Meredith, the President of Mali, Modibo Keita (pictured right with President Kennedy last year), cabled President Kennedy his congratulations for acting decisively. Mr. Keita’s government has developed strong ties to the Soviet bloc in recent months, so the cable was viewed in Washington with surprise and pleasure. Mr. Kennedy wired his thanks to the Mali leader Oct. 3. At the same time, it was reported that Guinean political leaders reacted with similar approval of the Federal actions in Mississippi. Rather than deploring the segregationist attitudes of some Southerners, which the Guineans knew existed, they are quoted as saying, in effect: “What country in the world would mobilize a whole army to get one Negro student into college?”


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