In this WSB newsfilm clip from Oxford, Mississippi on August 18, 1963, African American student and integrationist James Meredith graduates from the University of Mississippi, or "Ole Miss." The clip begins with people sitting on chairs placed on a lawn. James Meredith, wearing a cap and gown, marches with other graduates. Music plays in the background while graduates, including Meredith, wait to sit down. Next, graduates are seen lined up waiting for their name to be called. Meredith walks across the stage as his name is called, receiving his degree and shaking hands with officials in the line. African American James Meredith first applied to the segregated University of Mississippi in January 1961. After his application was denied, Meredith, with the help of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, filed a federal lawsuit in May 1961. Following a series of court decisions and appeals, United States Supreme Court justice Hugo Black on September 10, 1962 ordered Ole Miss to admit Meredith; in response, Mississippi governor Ross Barnett threatened to close the university. Other Mississippi officials and members of the Mississippi Board of Regents obstructed Meredith's admission, causing the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to declare the university's board of trustees in contempt of court. President John F. Kennedy and Attorney General Robert Kennedy worked with Governor Barnett to resolve the standoff between the state and federal governments. On Sunday, September 30, 1962, after federal marshals escorted Meredith onto campus, white students and citizens rioted by throwing brickbats, lead pipes, and Molotov cocktails; they also destroyed military trucks by slashing tires and burning the canvas tops. Federal marshals responded by firing tear gas, and President Kennedy sent federal troops to the Ole Miss campus. Two people were killed during the riot; an estimated three hundred more were wounded. The Army National Guard remained on campus until Meredith's graduation on August 18, 1963.
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The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for digital conversion and description of the WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection.
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Cite as: WSB-TV newsfilm clip of James Meredith graduating from the University of Mississippi, Oxford, Mississippi, 1963 August 18, WSB-TV newsfilm collection, reel 0784, 2:33/03:38, Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection, The University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Ga, as presented in the Digital Library of Georgia.