Ole Miss goes international with memorial

An Agence France-Presse reporter gunned down in a US civil rights-era clash immortalized by Bob Dylan will be honored Friday at the southern US university where he was killed.

Paul Guihard, 30, was shot in the back at point-blank range on September 30, 1962 as he covered rioting at the University of Mississippi over James Meredith’s efforts to become the first black student to enroll.

The Society of Professional Journalists chapter at the school, which is in Oxford, Mississippi, announced this week it would unveil a memorial bench honoring Guihard. AFP regional director Pierre Taillefer will attend the event.

Guihard was one of two people killed in the rioting on the campus of “Ole Miss” — the subject of Dylan’s 1963 song “Oxford Town,” and its lyrics “Two men died ‘neath the Mississippi moon / Somebody better investigate soon.”

The Mississippi grand jury convened to investigate the still-unsolved slaying offered some chilling details in a report that pinned blame for the escalating violence on federal forces enforcing integration.
“The bullet entered the body in the right lower back with the bullet ranging upward and penetrating the heart,” the November 1962 report said.

“Laboratory examinations indicated that the pattern of gun powder residue found on Mr Guihard’s brown coat was similar to one that would be produced at a muzzle-to-garment distance of less than one foot. Mr Guihard was murdered by a party unknown at the present time.”

Agence France-Presse 4/16/9