James Meredith and the University of Mississippi’s Integration

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James Meredith and the University of Mississippi’s Integration

When a person presently looks at university school systems, one never imagines the struggle to obtain such diverse campuses. With Caucasians, Asians, Latinos, and African Americans all willing and able to attend any institution, it is difficult now to envision a world where, because of one’s skin color, a person is denied university acceptance. In actuality, this world existed only fifty years ago. In a time of extreme racial discrimination, African Americans fought and struggled toward one of many goals: to integrate schools. As a pioneer in the South, a man named James Meredith took a courageous step by applying to the University of Mississippi, an all white
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Once news spread that James Meredith, an African American male, applied, rage broke loose specifically in one major figurehead: Governor Ross R. Barnett (“Barnett” 1). After a resistant uproar against James Meredith, the battle moved to the court system. After numerous court dates and appearances, the judge decided that “[t]he university was under a Federal Court order to admit the Negro, James H. Meredith” (1). However, Governor Barnett refused to allow African Americans into any Mississippi state institution. With an idea called interposition, he also furiously commented that he would not abide to the national court system’s demands unless the state legislature told them to enact such policies. Knowing that his own state legislature would not besiege him, Governor Barnett confidently took a stance against integration by publicly stating, “No school will be integrated in Mississippi while I am your Governor” (2). However, after Federal District Judge Sidney C. Mize charged and convicted numerous resistors, including Lieutenant Governor Paul B. Johnson, of “civil contempt of Federal court,” their attitudes changed slightly, but not much (Smith 1).

With regards to the famous 1950s and 1960s essayist James Baldwin, he eloquently writes about African Americans’ need for equality. In his essay “The White Man’s Guilt,” Baldwin states that African Americans’ equal feelings plummeted down so far that
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