Ole Miss officials compare Forward Rebels campaign to segregationist tactics

The University of Mississippi dedicated a monument today to professor James Silver, near where he lived on faculty row. This was a commendable project of law professor John Robin Bradley.

James Silver was a history professor at Ole Miss from the 40s into the 60s. He became nationally known when, after the Meredith crisis, he wrote a bestseller called Mississippi: The Closed Society.

Because of the public positions he took between the Brown desegregation decision and Meredith’s time at the University, state political forces and the Institutions of Higher Learning board attacked Silver. The University administration did not defend him. He was one of several faculty members who were very important to the intellectual life of the university community who either were forced away (law professor Bill Murphy, law dean Farley), or stayed and faced a pretty horrible fate, with both them and their family ostracized by the university community (political science professor Russell Barrett).

It was a very bad time for Ole Miss, with the powers of the state intent on hurting the university, and the administration either powerless to prevent the damage or implicit in compounding it.

As a part of the monument dedication, there was a panel discussion about Silver. In the introductions, Curtis Wilkie began talking about the current chancellor:

Dan Jones has come under pressure from the same sort of mentality [that pressured Silver]. Then, we had the anonymous Rebel Underground. Now, we have Forward Rebel.

NMC
10/3/11