Silver, James W. (James Wesley), 1907-
History professor James W. Silver began teaching at the University of Mississippi in 1936. Silver's liberal approach to race relations included supporting James Meredith after the University's integration. In his farewell address to the Southern Historical Association at the end of his term as association president in November 1963, Silver called Mississippi a "closed society" and compared its actions in response to the Civil Rights movement to its actions before and during the Civil War. Mississippi officials, outraged at Silver's comments, began demanding his removal from the school. University trustees created a committee to gather evidence to fire Silver even though he had been tenured for more than twenty years. The committee mailed Silver the charges against him in late April 1964. Silver arranged for a leave of absence to teach at Notre Dame University that fall and left before the trustees had a chance to review the charges against him. Silver never returned to teaching at the University of Mississippi, instead teaching at Notre Dame and the University of South Florida until the end of his career.
Archival Collections and Reference Resources
- Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive (University of Southern Mississippi Libraries)
- Southern school news (University of Georgia Libraries)
- WSB-TV Newsfilm Collection (Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection)