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Meredith Harassed as He Registers for Classes at Campus Under Military Occupation

Oct. 1, 1962 - The University of Mississippi campus was under military occupation today as James H. Meredith, its first Negro student, registered and attended two classes. Two thousand of the more than three thousand Army and National Guard troops, who had quelled a fifteen-hour riot in Oxford, made the campus look like a cross between a bivouac and a prisoner-of-war camp. More olive drab uniforms were evident on campus than student casual dress. Mr. Meredith, whose first meal on campus was served to him privately today, was housed in an end room in Baxter Hall, a male residence dormitory. The room next door was occupied by Federal marshals. The 29-year-old Negro was taken from his dormitory under guard at 7:45 a.m. and marched to the Lyceum, the administration building. There he was registered in 45 minutes — the act that Gov. Ross R. Barnett and the state had so adamantly resisted. As he walked from the registrar’s office, Mr. Meredith stepped near dry bloodstains on the Lyceum’s tile floor. When Mr. Meredith stepped out of the door, he was greeted by shouted threats and epithets from about 50 students gathered on the library steps. “Boo, you n****r!” someone called. “How do you feel going to class with blood on your hands?” another screamed. The jeering student group began to increase in size and quickly reached 200 as Mr. Meredith walked briskly toward his first class — Colonial American History. He betrayed no reaction to the demonstration. Federal officials said they could not estimate how long Mr. Meredith would have to remain under Federal bodyguard. They said they were prepared to remain as long as necessary.

#civilrights #history #OTD #1960s #MLK