JFK and The University of Mississippi
On 1 October 1962, James Meredith became the first African American to register at the University of Mississippi. The night before, rioters protesting desegregation attacked Meredith’s U.S. Marshall escort even as Kennedy appealed for calm to a television audience, stating “observance of the law is the eternal safeguard of liberty and defiance of the law is the surest road to tyranny.” An audio recording of this address along with other civil rights speeches appears on the LP record John F. Kennedy and the Negro produced by Ebony Magazine in 1964.
Several weeks after the crisis, Kennedy resurrected his television statement in a two-page response to a protest by U.S. Representative Thomas G. Abernethy of Mississippi.
Typed letter dated 26 October 1962 from John F. Kennedy to U.S. Representative Thomas G. Abernethy
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