+
Education

The 1962 riot over a Black man attending Ole Miss is an overlooked but vital piece of history

The details of these stories matter.

james meredith ole miss mississippi riot racism

James Meredith was the first Black person to be admitted to the University of Mississippi.

In our history classes, pretty much every American learns about segregation in the American South and the civil rights movement it spawned, but much of that education is lacking in detail. When we teach the history of racial segregation broadly and dispassionately, as if it were merely a thing that existed and then ended, we underplay the unbridled, unapologetic white supremacy that lay at the heart of that history. It's uncomfortable to look our nation's ongoing relationship with racism square in the face, but we can't repair wounds we don't acknowledge.

To understand the absolutely bonkers levels of racism that enabled and perpetuated racial segregation, it's helpful to look at the details of specific historical events. If we dive into individual stories, such as the experiences of Ruby Bridges, Claudette Colvin, Elizabeth Eckford, Medgar Evers and many others, the truth of how racism has repeatedly cut America to its core becomes clear.

On September 30, 1962, a Black Air Force veteran named James Meredith did something seemingly unremarkable—he showed up to register for classes and move into his dorm at the University of Mississippi, where he had been admitted three weeks prior.


It actually was remarkable, though. No Black person had ever attended "Ole Miss" before and Meredith's admission was viewed as a travesty by the white supremacists in power. State officials, including Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett, who declared "I'm a Mississippi segregationist and I am proud of it," did everything they could to prevent it. The court battle began in 1961 and went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court before Meredith's admission to the school was finalized on September 10, 1962.

Meredith showed up on campus on September 30 escorted by federal marshals for his own safety. Sadly, that wasn't enough to quell the racist rage that necessitated the escort in the first place. Hundreds of angry white students and locals marched toward the building where Meredith was to register.

Federal marshals deployed tear gas as the mob erupted into violence, throwing rocks and bottles before bringing out the guns as night fell. As the mob grew in size, so did the chaos. Reporters covering the riot were beaten and their equipment was burned. A French journalist was shot and killed, and a bystander who had come to campus to see what was happening was murdered as well.

The federal government sent thousands of army soldiers to campus in the middle of the night to quash the rioting, which went on until the early hours of the morning. Ultimately, 30,000 troops were called upon to quell the violence that left two dead and at least 300 wounded.

United Press International reported the day after the riot: "More violence was unleashed in less than four hours than in the six-month period when U.S. paratroopers forced integration of Central High School in Little Rock five years ago."

To make matters worse, the racist mob immediately tried to blame Meredith for the violence. As three deputy marshals and a representative from the U.S. Department of Education walked Meredith to his first history class the following day, white protesters shouted the N-word at him repeatedly and asked him, "Was it worth two deaths?"

Imagine the rage and frustration Meredith must have felt at such a series of injustices. One of the most striking things about these kinds of stories is the contrast between the rage being acted out by white supremacists (who had no legitimate reason to be violently angry) and the rage Black people were 100% justified in feeling but weren't allowed to express.

The fact that these people were willing to burn down the school that they supposedly cared so much about, simply because one Black person dared to set foot on campus as an admitted student, is a testament to how deeply white supremacy can be ingrained. We've seen such insanely illogical events play out over and over again in our history. While we've made many forward strides in the past 60 years, the racist beliefs that led to those events are still around and far too easy to fuel and inflame.

Yet, 1962 simply wasn't that long ago. James Meredith is still alive, and chances are good that some of the students who lost their minds over his admission to their university are still kicking, too. Have they changed? Have they done the hard work of rooting out that racism from their minds and hearts? Did they teach their own children differently? Do their grandchildren know the part they played in our collective history?

The more acquainted we are with our past, the more equipped we are to create a better future. As hard as it is to read these stories, they are vital for us to learn about so that we don't repeat the same heinous history over and over again.

Internet

Relationship expert tells people to never get married unless you're willing to do 3 things

"If you and your partner (both) are unable or unwilling to do these 3 things consistently forever, you won’t make it."

Relationship expert gives people advice on getting married.

Being in a relationship can be difficult at times. Learning someone else's quirks, boundaries, and deep views on the world can be eye-opening and hard. But usually, the happy chemicals released in our brain when we love someone can cause us to overlook things in order to keep the peace.

Jayson Gaddis, a relationship expert, took to Twitter to rip off people's rose-colored glasses and tell them to forego marriage. Honestly, with the divorce rate in this country being as high as it is, he probably could've stopped his tweet right there. Don't get married, the end. Many people would've probably related and not questioned the bold statement, but thankfully he followed up with three things you must be willing to do before going to the chapel.

Before going into his reasons for why he tells people not to get married, Gaddis explained that he is a person that "LOVEs being married." I mean, it would probably make him a pretty weird relationship expert if he hated relationships, so it's probably a good thing he enjoys being married. Surely his spouse appreciates his stance as well.

Keep ReadingShow less

Tater Tots, fresh out of the oven.

It’s hard to imagine growing up in America without Tater Tots. They are one of the most popular kiddie foods, right up there with chicken nuggets, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and macaroni and cheese. The funny thing is the only reason Tater Tots exist is that their creators needed something to do with leftover food waste.

The Tater Tot is the brainchild of two Mormon brothers, F. Nephi and Golden Grigg, who started a factory on the Oregon-Idaho border that they appropriately named Ore-Ida. The brothers started the factory in 1951 after being convinced that frozen foods were the next big thing.

According to Eater, between 1945 and 1946, Americans bought 800 million pounds of frozen food.

Keep ReadingShow less
Pop Culture

10 years ago, a 'Stairway to Heaven' performance brought Led Zeppelin's surviving members to tears

Heart, John Bonham's son and a full choir came together for the epic tribute.

Led Zeppelin got to see their iconic hit performed for them.

When Billboard and Rolling Stone pull together their "Best Songs of All Time" lists, there are some tunes you know for sure will be included. Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" is most definitely one of them.

It has everything—the beauty of a ballad, the grunginess of a rock song, the simple solo voice, and the band in full force. "Stairway to Heaven" takes us on a musical journey, and even people who aren't necessarily giant Led Zeppelin or classic rock fans can't help but nod or sing along to it.

Of course, it's also been so ubiquitous (or overplayed, as some would claim) to become a meme among musicians. Signs saying "No Stairway to Heaven" in guitar stores point to how sick of the song many guitarists get, and when Oregon radio station KBOO told listeners they would never play the song again if someone pledged $10,000, Led Zepelin singer Robert Plant himself called in and gave the donation.

Keep ReadingShow less
Family

Developmental scientist shared her 'anti-parenting advice' and parents are relieved

In a viral Twitter thread, Dorsa Amir addresses the "extreme pressure put on parents in the West."

Photo by kabita Darlami on Unsplash, @DorsaAmir/Twitter

Parents, maybe give yourselves a break

For every grain of sand on all the world’s beaches, for every star in the known universe…there is a piece well intentioned, but possibly stress-inducing parenting advice.

Whether it’s the astounding amount of hidden dangers that parents might be unwittingly exposing their child to, or the myriad ways they might be missing on maximizing every moment of interaction, the internet is teeming with so much information that it can be impossible for parents to feel like they’re doing enough to protect and nurture their kids.

However, developmental scientist and mom Dorsa Amir has a bit of “anti-parenting advice” that help parents worry a little less about how they’re measuring up.

First and foremost—not everything has to be a learning opportunity. Honestly, this wisdom also applies to adults who feel the need to be consistently productive…raises hand while doing taxes and listening to a podcast on personal development
Keep ReadingShow less

A guy with road rage screaming out of his car.

A psychologist who’s an expert in narcissism has released a telling video that reveals one of the red flags of the disorder, being an erratic driver.

"Most people, when they tell the story backwards of a narcissistic relationship, are able to see the red flags very clearly,” Dr. Ramani said in her video. “However, seeing them forwards isn't hard. But if you see them too late, it means you've already been through the narcissistic relationship, you're devastated and have likely wasted a lot of time."

Dr. Ramani Durvasula is a licensed clinical psychologist in Los Angeles, Professor Emerita of Psychology at California State University and author of several books, including “Should I Stay or Should I Go: Surviving A Relationship with a Narcissist.”

Keep ReadingShow less
www.youtube.com

Man hailed 'Highway Hero' for running across four lanes of traffic

Holy cow, Bat Man! You're always supposed to be aware of other vehicles when you're driving but what do you do when you notice someone has lost consciousness while speeding down the highway?

It's a scenario that no one wants to see play out, but for Adolfo Molina, the scenario became reality and he didn't hesitate to spring into action. Molina was driving down the highway when he spotted a woman in a blue car who lost consciousness as her car careened down the shoulder of the highway. The concerned driver quickly pulled over in order to attempt to rescue the woman.

But there was a problem, he had to cross four lanes of traffic on the highway just to make it to the woman's still moving car. That obstacle didn't stop him. Molina sprinted across the highway, crossing right in front of a black pick up truck before running at full speed to attempt to open the woman's door and stop her car.

Keep ReadingShow less