This year marks the 50th anniversary of an event in Oxford, MS that ultimately changed and impacted the state of Mississippi along with the entire south. On Oct. 1, 1962 the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) made nationwide headlines by allowing the first black person to enroll at the University.
The young man was James Meredith who is still alive and well today living in the south, but going to classes at Ole miss for him was not only a challenge but dangerous as well. The president of the United States at that time was John F. Kennedy, who ordered Federal authorities to deploy more than 3,000 soldiers and more than 500 law enforcement officers to Oxford to handle integration at the University. If you are familiar with ESPN’s documentary series “30 for 30” they recently did a story about this in which they took viewers through the eyes of James Meredith, along with providing viewers of what life was like in Oxford at that time.
The documentary showed a riot that was the direct cause of Meredith being enrolled at the school, a riot that saw over 200 people injured at two people left dead. It appears sadly that the past may have once again made a return to Ole Miss, as there was what some are calling a protest and others a riot on campus late Tuesday night. As the election results poured in and it looked more and more like President Barack Obama would be re-elected, some students at Ole Miss were angry and wanted to lash out.
The University issued a statement today mentioning that around 30-40 students gathered outside the student union after the election was over chanting political slogans while others used derogatory racial statements and profanity according to Fox News. The statement went on to say that the small group quickly escalated into about 400 or more students, no one was hurt but two individuals did get arrested.
“All of us are ashamed of the few students who have negatively affected the reputations of each of us and of our university,” Ole Miss Chancellor Dan Jones said in a statement.
Several pictures were posted on Facebook and Twitter by Ole Miss Students which showed students burning Obama signs. It appears that the event is done with and the matter has been taking care of, and to show support the university held an event Wednesday evening called the “We are One Mississippi” which was a candlelight walk to condemn the protest according to CBS News.
Even though racism may still be relevant in the south, Ole miss has been showing signs of change. Currently the University has a black enrollment of 16%, and the current student body president, Kim Dandridge, is the fourth black person elected to the position. Do you think there is still a racial stigma associated with Ole Miss, or do you believe they have become a more diverse University?