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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.

Science

Watch a rescued beaver meticulously build an indoor 'dam' out of random household items

Sawyer's ongoing struggle with SpongeBob SquarePants' legs is a must-see.

Sawyer checks her work once in a while as she builds her hallway dam.

The fact that beavers build dams is one of nature's coolest features. Gathering and stacking tree branches, rocks, grass and mud across a river so they can build their homes underwater is a unique instinct among the animals—and a strong one.

Apparently, it's so strong that beavers will build dams anywhere, including inside a human's house using whatever items they can find.

A video shared by Dr. Holley Muraco, director of research at the Mississippi Aquarium, shows a female beaver named Sawyer busily gathering stuffed animals, blankets, Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and more to build a dam in a hallway, and it's seriously the most delightful thing ever.

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Celebrity

'Harry Potter' alum Rupert Grint builds his Target-obsessed toddler her own mini store

'She does love Philly. She loves hoagies, she loves water ice. And I mean the big one is Target. She is obsessed with Target.'

The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon Twitter

Rupert Grint's 2-year-old is obsessed with Target.

Who doesn't love perusing the aisles of Target? For many moms it's like a mini-vacation if you can manage to get out of the house without children. You grab a coffee and walk down every aisle touching anything that looks like it may feel soft. It's sort of like an American parent's pastime.

And when you can't sneak away without your custom-made tiny human in tow, you bring them with and by default it becomes an activity they also enjoy. Turns out Rupert Grint's 2-year-old daughter, Wednesday, took note during her time living in America and since returning to the U.K., where there is no Target, she misses it. Every American reading this just audibly gasped.

I know, I know. Take a deep breath. They don't have our weird obsession with the bullseye because it hasn't had a chance to hypnotize them … yet. But Grint's daughter, who is fairly new to being across the pond, has felt the joy of being inside that famous red and white store. She has seen the red polos and khaki pants and there's no turning back for her, so Grint, most famously known for his role as Ron Weasley in Harry Potter, built her one.

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Michelle Yeoh gave a perfect response to being rushed through her Golden Globes speech

Her reaction to the music cue was immediate, authoritative and hilarious.

Michelle Yeoh has been acting in films for 40 years.

Michelle Yeoh won the award for Best Actress in a Comedy at the 2023 Golden Globes for her leading role as Evelyn Wang in the acclaimed film "Everything Everywhere All at Once." It was a moment the actress had been waiting 40 years to have, and she wasn't about to let anyone rush her through it.

Yeoh, 60, has been acting in action films in Hong Kong since the 1980s and in the U.S. since the late '90s, kicking martial arts butt alongside the likes of Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan's 007. With major roles in "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Crazy Rich Asians," among other films, she's become a well-recognized face to any regular filmgoer. But until "Everything Everywhere All at Once," she had never played the lead role in a Hollywood film.

Winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy was Yeoh's moment to revel in her success after decades of uphill battles as an Asian actress in an industry filled with underrepresentation and misrepresentation. So when the music cue indicated she needed to wrap up her acceptance speech at the two-minute mark, she simply wasn't having it.

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'We must, we must, we must increase out bust!'

Since it was first published in 1970, Judy Blume’s “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” has been a literary rite of passage for young girls. Though written decades ago, the book has remained timeless for its authentic portrayal of that exciting, yet horrifying chapter of female adolescence and all the milestones that come with it—including, but not limited to, that first period.

At long last, fans will get the chance to see this classic play out on the big screen. Movie adaptations of books tend to be hit-or-miss, but the fact that Judy Blume herself gave her seal of approval, even going so far as to say the film is “better than the book,” seems promising.


And judging by the reactions to the trailer released Jan. 12, I’d say that folks are hella optimistic.

A few key moments left people particularly excited and nostalgic:

1. The dreaded “changing bodies” school lecture

Oh, the joys of a stern teacher talking about blood flowing from the vagina at school. Maybe sex education has evolved over the years, but the awkwardness of anatomy conversations at a young age seems to be everlasting.

2. Margaret’s prayers to God that accurately sum up preteen girl angst

Even the nonreligious can relate on some level to just not being the weird one, to please, please, please, please just this once be normal while growing up, and wondering if this discomfort will ever go away. This is an essential part of the preteen experience for many, until we realize, of course, that we are much better off just celebrating who we are. And Margaret's earnest prayers are obviously a major aspect of the book, given the title. Duh.

3. Margaret asking mom for a bra

Margaret and other girls can be seen clumsily experimenting with hairspray, curling irons and other grown-up beauty products in order to “fit in.” But the most coveted, most revered item of all, of course, is the bra.

4. Buying pads for the first time at the local drug store

The utter humiliation at finding out the clerk is a boy. Perfection.

5. And of course, the iconic line…

“We must, we must, we must increase our bust!”

That's right, diehard Blume fans. The trailer has all that and more. Watch below:

Comments to trailers can be fairly mixed. However this one received a mountain of positivity.

"I lost track of how many times I read this book while growing up in the 70s. It’s amazing that it’s taken this long for it to be made into a movie!" wrote one person.

Another added, "I'm honestly surprised that a movie version of this book doesn't already exist. But I guess it's time. LOL I'm here for it. I remember reading this in fifth grade. Such a good book for young girls to read and realize that all the weirdness they are going through is normal. It will definitely be a good film viewing for today's middle schoolers and for all the millennials, Xillennials and gen-Xers who grew up with the book."

Perhaps Margaret’s story is so universal because it was inspired by a real-life experience. On her website, Blume shared that as a sixth grader, she did all the things—like stuffing her bra, doing exercises, lying about getting her period—because she yearned to develop into adulthood the way her classmates were (relatable). Blume put her longings to paper, and the rest is history.

Rather than putting it under a modern spin, the movie takes place in the '70s, and spreads its focus across three generations between Margaret (played by Abby Ryder Fortson), her mother (played by Rachel McAdams), and her grandmother (played by Kathy Bates).

Bates indicated that the book’s original intention would be kept intact as she told People that “I think women throughout history have been taught to feel negatively about their bodies and about the processes that their bodies go through. I think this film will help young women feel better about their bodies."

Whether for nostalgia, or for getting a sweet dose of feel-good comedy, you can see “Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret” in theaters April 28.

Science

9-year-old finds rare, prehistoric megalodon tooth the size of her hand in Maryland waters

'I'm looking for a meg!' Molly declared on her way to the bay. Then miraculously, she found one.

Photos courtesy of Alicia Sampson

Molly Sampson found a 5-inch megalodon tooth on Christmas morning.

Nine-year-old Molly Sampson has been searching for teeth in the water since before she could walk. In her young life, she's found more than 400 shark teeth, some so tiny it takes a magnifying glass to identify them, and the largest measuring an inch or two—until now.

Molly's father, Bruce, grew up on the bay in Calvert County, Maryland, and has been hunting fossils at Scientists Cliffs since he was a small child. Bruce has dreamed for decades of finding a "meg"—a large tooth from a megalodon, a massive prehistoric shark longer than a bus, which scientists estimate could have eaten a killer whale in five bites.

Sometimes our dreams end up coming true through our children—and that's just what happened when the Sampson family went fossil hunting on Christmas Day, 2022.

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Pop Culture

People are remembering Lisa Marie Presley for her incredible work fighting to save animals

Presley once famously fought to save a chimpanzee who shared her name.

Lisa Marie Presley passed away on Jan. 12 at the age of 54.

Lisa Marie Presley was widely known as a singer and songwriter, following in the footsteps of her father Elvis. But she was also a passionate animal advocate, and after the news of her death on Jan. 12, PETA joined the floods of tributes online to specifically celebrate the late icon’s contributions to animal rights. They began with the lesser known story of Lisa Marie saving a chimpanzee by the same name from a horrendous fate of abuse and exploitation.


Back in 2007, a female chimpanzee would be born, not only sharing the same birthday as Elvis (Jan. 8) but sharing the name Lisa Marie. After being torn away from her family by breeders, the young chimp was shipped off to an Elvis impersonator in Chicago, who used her in his shows.
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