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Barnett Blocks Meredith at Ole Miss

Sept. 20, 1962 - Governor Ross R. Barnett (top) denied James H. Meredith (bottom), a 29-year-old Negro, admission to the University of Mississippi today. In so doing, the Governor defied orders of the Federal courts. The Justice Department took steps immediately to obtain contempt-of-court citations against Dr. J.D. Williams, university chancellor; Dr. Robert B. Ellis, the registrar; and Dean Arthur B. Lewis. All three were named in Federal court desegregation orders directing the admission of Mr. Meredith to the all-white institution. In rejecting the application of Mr. Meredith, an Air Force veteran, Mr. Barnett set the stage for one of the most critical conflicts between state and Federal authority yet seen in the South. The controversy, which comes during the week of the 100th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, poses grave problems for the Kennedy Administration.

#civilrights #history #OTD #1960s #MLK #JFK