The Hattiesburg American was able to cover the article in a neutral light by reporting the facts of incidents without putting negative slander into their articles or headlines. The editors of the neutral articles only reported quotes from government officials who were stating the facts.
Articles that were considered positive biased encouraged Meredith’s ending of segregation. Positive articles did not focus on the negative surrounding Meredith; they spoke positively of Meredith’s attempting of entering the university. The articles that were concluded as being negative biased spoke slander words of Meredith. On October 1, 1962, an article in The Hattiesburg American blamed Meredith for the death of two people from the violent riot. Some negative articles would encourage the people who attempted to deny Meredith’s entrance.
Although other local papers such as Jackson Daily News and Meridian Star shown biased sides of the stories, such as Jackson Daily News headlines referencing the federal troops by calling them “government goonsqauds,” national weekly’s such as Time and Jet, were able to give a national perspective of the Meredith Crisis.
Jet provided commentary from the public and public officials. Jet was able to give commentaries from the general who shared different views of segregation.
Time provided commentary from public officials and conversations between Governor Barnett and a justice department aide. Time gave brief descriptions of Meredith’s legal battle and resistance of the south to integrate after Brown v. Board of Education.
Articles used for this research were obtained from The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal, and Forrest County. Microform for Hattiesburg’s newspaper, The Hattiesburg American, and copies were reviewed. Stories relating to James Meredith’s entrance to Ole Miss were printed. Ten articles were obtained that were between published between May 31, 1961 and October 3, 1962.
1. Were the headlines biased against segregation, biased supporting segregation, or objective?
( 20% positive, 30% negative, 50% neutral)
2. Did the majority of the stories run on page one above or below the fold?
(100% on first page)
3. Was the tone the writer used positive, negative, or neutral?
(20% positive, 10% negative, 70% neutral)
4. Were the first three paragraphs of the article positive, negative, or neutral?
(40% negative, 60% neutral)
5. Did the photographs presented depict violence or non-violence?
(20% violence, 30% non-violent, 100% no photo)
January 30, 1963, Meredith announced at a Jackson news conference, “I have concluded that the ‘Negro’ should not return to the University of Mississippi. The prospects of him are too unpromising.” His statement had left many stunned. “However,” Meredith continued, “I have decided that I, J.H. Meredith, will register for the second semester at the University of Mississippi.”
At 5:12 P.M. on August 19, 1963, James Meredith received his Ole Miss diploma, a handshake, and “congratulations and good luck” from Chancellor Williams
October 1, 1962 marked the day that 114 years of segregation at The University of Mississippi had ended. James Meredith successfully registered for classes.
While attending classes he was accompanied by three U.S. marshals who tracked his every move.
That morning Meredith arrived at his nine o’clock American history class fourteen minutes late. Only nine of twelve students were present in the Graduate Building classroom. Meredith left his class an hour later with his escorts and returned to his dorm.
Later that day Meredith’s Spanish class was cancelled. Lingering tear gas forced the cancellation of his math class. Monday evening in his dorm room, Meredith ate dinner prepared by the army.
On Sunday, September 30, Meredith was flown into Oxford with 170 federal marshals. A mob of students, joined by outsiders, started to riot and began throwing bricks and setting fires. The highway patrol was withdrawn, not strengthened, and this was the green light for major violence.
The feds had turned the university’s administration building, the Lyceum, into the headquarters of the military’s operations. However, the federal law enforcement officers were not prepared. Police attempted to keep all students, faculty, employees and anyone else off campus; for a while they almost succeeded. During that time, journalists were entering the campus by finding their own ways in.
The mob was beginning to get out of control as hostile men from around the South entered university grounds as well. There was an estimated 2,500 men part of the mob. The mob was chanting, yelling, and firing bullets and pellets, throwing bottles, sticks and cans.
In Washington, President Kennedy prepared to go on national television to address the nation about his decision to use federal forces on the campus of Ole Miss, to announce that Meredith was in a dormitory, and to declare that he and Governor Barnett had made a peaceful solution. However, things on Ole Miss campus were only worsening.
Students were too busy rioting to listen to President Kennedy’s announcement. By nine o’clock that evening the first murdered occurred with Paul Guilhard, a reporter for Agence France Press. Guilhard was shot in the back with no witnesses.
Another fatality occurred with Oxford resident, Ray Gunter, who was a jukebox repairman. Gunter had come to campus out of curiosity. A stray .38 caliber shot Gunter in the forehead.
The night resulted with two deaths and one hundred and 60 marshals injured. Two hundred rioters were arrested, less than one-sixth of whom were from Ole Miss.