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Barnett Cheered at Mississippi-Kentucky Football Game

Sept. 29, 1962 - Hundreds of Confederate flags waved defiantly tonight during the playing of the National Anthem at the start of the University of Mississippi’s football game with Kentucky. The anthem, played by the University band dressed in Confederate gray, drew as many boos as cheers at the final chord. The crowd of about 41,000 wildly cheered Ross R. Barnett, Mississippi’s embattled Governor, when he took his seat in a box on the 50-yard line of the new municipal stadium in Jackson. Governor Barnett took the field at halftime to introduce the new state song, “Go, Mississippi.” With the crowd roaring at every pause, the Governor, his fists clenched and his voice choked with emotion, said: “I love Mississippi. I love her people. I love our customs. I respect our heritage.” The crowd was also pleased with the result of the game: Ole Miss 14, Kentucky 0. University of Mississippi football games are watched entirely by white persons. There is no segregated section in the stadium. Likewise, there are no Negroes on the field. Alone among state-supported universities in the nation, the university and its sister institution, Mississippi State, refuse to schedule athletic contests either at home or away against teams using Negro players. This policy has kept Mississippi teams out of football bowl games, the National Collegiate basketball tournament, and other special events.

#civilrights #history #OTD #1960s #mississippi