Just before that international crisis, the president and his brother Robert had to solve a domestic problem. And you younger readers are not going to have an easy time believing this, but the deal was that a man named James Meredith, who had been in the Air Force for nine years and had finished two years of schooling at another school, wished to finish his undergraduate studies at the University of Mississippi, known to locals as "Ole Miss."
So what's the problem with a man who had served his country and gotten two years of college behind him wishing to matriculate at a state university? What possible reason to deny him enrollment, you ask?
|The governor of an American state, 1962|
Well, the brothers Kennedy had something to say about it, and they wound up having to send federal marshals and the National Guard to quell the riots that Barnett engendered with his stupid racism. Two people were killed in the riots, but Meredith got his schooling and graduated from Ole Miss in 1964.
There is currently playing on the various ESPN cable channels a documentary about that Mississippi autumn; it's called Ghosts of Ole Miss, and I recommend it for those of you who remember those parlous times, and for those of you who don't. You might have a hard time believing that people could be so intransigent about racial matters, but that is the way they were. As the film points out, those were people only three generations removed from the Civil War.
Yep. Same guy. And now we know the Rest of the Story.