Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story

Article excerpt

James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot: A Soldier's Story. By Henry T. Gallagher. (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2012. Pp. [xxvi], 230. $26.00, ISBN 978-1-61703-653-8.) In the fall of 1962, Henry T. Gallagher was a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army when his military police battalion was sent to the University of Mississippi to help quell a deadly riot protesting the enrollment of James Meredith, the school's first African American student. This book is Gallagher's account of his time in charge of Meredith's daily security detail in the weeks following the riot, when he and others sought to "simply keep [Meredith] alive long enough" to graduate (p. 174). Gallagher primarily focuses on the logistical challenges that arose in October and November 1962 from the need to protect Meredith while allowing him the personal space to at least attempt some semblance of a "normal" college experience. Gallagher's anxiety over Meredith's insistent engagement in ordinarily mundane activities like eating in the school cafeteria evokes the particular density of Jim Crow and demonstrates how Meredith's admission entailed a host of racial transgressions beyond the integration of a few classrooms. …

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