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 The U.S. Civil Rights Movement  
 
Meredith escorted through crowd

James Meredith, accompanied by federal officials, enrolls on October, 1, 1962, at the University of Mississippi.

In September 1962, a federal court ordered the university to accept Meredith, a 28-year-old, black Air Force veteran, much to the consternation of segregationists. Governor Ross Barnett said he would never allow the school to be integrated.

After days of violence and rioting by whites and a great deal of political maneuvering between Barnett and the administration, President John F. Kennedy sent more than 10,000 soldiers to ensure the safety of Meredith on his first day of classes.

Because he had earned college credits elsewhere, Meredith graduated the following August. (Library of Congress)