University of Mississippi

50 Years of Integration at The University of Mississippi: Opening the Closed Society

With his admittance to the University on October 1, 1962, James Meredith became the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi.   To commemorate this event, the University is celebrating the anniversary of racial integration with a year-long event entitled “Opening the Closed Society.”  Please see a complete schedule of events below, and click here for more information about the 50 Years Celebration.

2012 Commemoration Events

*Unless noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Wednesday, Sept. 5

“Images of Minority Women in the Media, Then and Now”
11 a.m.

Panelists: Kirk Johnson, Deirdre Cooper Owens, Imani Cheers
Moderator: Mark Dolan
Cosponsored by the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies
Overby Center

Wednesday, Sept. 19

Brown Bag Lecture: “Margaret Walker Alexander and Civil Rights”
Lecturer: Robby Luckett of the Margaret Walker Alexander Center, Jackson State University
Barnard Observatory

Movie Screening: “Sing Your Song”
6:30 p.m.
Sing Your Song is a documentary about the life of Harry Belafonte.  The screening will take place at 6:30pm on September 19 in the lecture hall of Barnard Observatory.
Barnard Observatory, Room 105

Monday, Sept. 24

“’What Did We Learn? The Lessons of 1962.’”
6 p.m.

Charles Eagles, author of ‘The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss,’ will speak on his history of the crisis.
Overby Center Auditorium

Tuesday, Sept. 25

“Legacy: 50 Years of Integration at the University of Mississippi”
7 p.m.

Narrators: Andrew Harper and Matthew Graves (40-minute documentary)
Overby Center Auditorium

“Lecture: ‘Transformation and Reformation”
7 p.m.

Clifton Taulbert will discuss his Ice House Entrepreneurship program as part of the Legal Studies Lecture Series.
Farley Hall, Room 202

Wednesday, Sept. 26

Brown Bag Lecture: “Legacies from the Battle of Ole Miss: The James Meredith Incident and the 1965 Southern Literary Festival”

Lecturer: Robert W. Hamblin, professor of English, Southeast Missouri State University
Barnard Observatory
3-4 p.m.

Panel discussion with people who were on campus Sept. 30–Oct. 1, 1962
All people who were on campus during the events of fall 1962 are invited to participate.
Barnard Observatory

Thursday, Sept. 27

Speaker: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
7 p.m.
Ticketed event — tickets available at the UM Box Office, 662-915-7411
Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Friday, Sept. 28

Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker Ceremony
Time and location to be determined week prior to the event
Master of ceremonies: Andy Mullins

Sunday, Sept. 30

Statewide Day of Remembrance: “A Walk of Reconciliation and Redemption”
6:30 p.m.
Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Prayer Service on the Lyceum Steps at Ole Miss led by local religious community
7 p.m.

“REBELS: James Meredith & the Integration of Ole Miss”
8 p.m.
Narrators: Andrew Harper and Matthew Graves (52-minute documentary)
Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts

Monday, Oct. 1

“The U.S. Marshals and Oxford—A 50th Anniversary Panel”
9:30 a.m.

Panelists: John Meredith, son of James Meredith; Don Forsht, Hershel Garner, Denzil N. Bud Staple, Curt Bowden and Robert Moore, retired deputy U.S. marshals
Master of ceremonies: David Turk, U.S. Marshals Service historian
Student Union Ballroom

Black Student Union Tribute to James Meredith
11 a.m.

Student Union Lobby

“A Lawyer’s Impact: Mississippi Burning”
1:30 p.m.
Robert C. Khayat Law Center, Room 1078

“Integration at Ole Miss — from an Army Perspective”
3 p.m.
Speaker: Henry Gallagher, author of James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot
Overby Center

“Meredith and Me: The Walk”
5:30 p.m.
50 Years of Integration at the University of Mississippi
Civil Rights Monument

“50 Years of Integration, Opening the Closed Society”
6 p.m.
Keynote speaker: Harry Belafonte
Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts
Ticket required
Overflow viewing available at Nutt Auditorium

7:15 p.m.
Gertrude C. Ford Center for the Performing Arts Lower Lobby

Tuesday, Oct. 2

“Finding JFK while Researching James Meredith at Ole Miss — A Collector’s Paradise”

A discussion with Judge Tyrone K. Yates
Faulkner Room, Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library

Wednesday, Oct. 3

Brown Bag Lecture: “Robert F. Kennedy in the Mississippi Delta”

Lecturer: Ellen Meacham, Meek School of Journalism and New Media
Barnard Observatory

Thursday, Oct. 4

“Ole Miss after Meredith: Progress since 1962”
11 a.m.

Speakers: David Sansing, Don Cole, Valeria Ross and Gerald Walton
Overby Center Auditorium

Wednesday, Oct. 10

Gilder Jordan Lecture in Southern History: “So the Whole World Can See: Documentary Photography and Film in the Civil Rights Era”
7:30 p.m.
Lecturer: Grace Elizabeth Hale, University of Virginia
Nutt Auditorium

Monday, Oct. 15

Dr. Joel E. Anderson, Chancellor, University of Arkansas Little Rock, “Cuffed on a Bus at Ole Miss in 1962: This Is Not the Way I Was Raised.”

Barnard Observatory, Room 105

Tuesday-Saturday, Sept. 25–Oct. 6

“A Difficult Road to Equality: Objects from Integration at Ole Miss”
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
University Museum and Historic Houses
“Segregation is about right and wrong. Every Southerner knows it is wrong. It is about wanting to change.” — William Faulkner, 1961

Change did come in fall 1962, when the University of Mississippi admitted James Meredith as the first African-American student to be enrolled at the last public university in the U.S. to abandon segregation policies. The ensuing riot, which shook Oxford and the nation, resulted in two deaths and scars, which are still visible today, on the University of Mississippi’s most venerated landmark, the Lyceum. The objects on display here were part of that historic day, when Ole Miss opened its mind and heart to a larger cause and became a place where all people could forget fear and concentrate on enriching their lives as students.

Through October 2012

Library Exhibit: “We Shall March Ahead: Mississippi and the Civil Rights Movement”
8 a.m.-5 p.m.

This exhibit contains several cases devoted to the integration of the university, including the James Meredith, Russell Barrett (former UM professor of political science) and Sidna Brower Mitchell (former editor of The Daily Mississippian) cases.
Faulkner Room, UM Libraries