Ole Miss Students Look Back At Integration

Fifty years ago, James Meredith, the first black student at the University of Mississippi, had to be escorted by federal marshals to his mostly empty classes. His enrollment came after a standoff between state segregationists and the federal government that led to a deadly riot on the Oxford campus.

Today, black and white juniors and seniors at Ole Miss sit together around a table in an Honors College class on the school’s turbulent history. The course is called “Opening the Closed Society,” and is an in-depth look at the integration of Ole Miss.

Journalist Curtis Wilkie, who is white, was a senior at Ole Miss during the riot. He teaches the course with a younger black political science professor, Marvin King. King says teaching around this pivotal moment shows students the broader implications of the battle here.