Literature Review

  • James Meredith was born June 25, 1933 in Kosciusko, Mississippi
  • Meredith says he always felt conscious of his skin color growing up in Mississippi.
  • “Separation dominated my childhood completely,” Meredith quoted once.
  • After graduating from Gibbs High School in June 1951, Meredith wanted to go to college but could not afford it.  He moved to Detroit, MI where his stepbrother and stepsister lived and followed their footsteps and joined the military.
  • Meredith served as staff sergeant in an American airbase outside of Tokyo, Japan
  • Coverage of the Little Rock Crisis was widely covered in Japan
  • Sept. 1957 Meredith spoke with Japanese schoolboy.  The Japanese boy told Meredith he did not know why anyone would go back to Mississippi
  • This incident along with the Little Rock Crisis influenced Meredith
  • Meredith was dishonorably discharged in 1960 and attended the all black Jackson State College to complete a bachelor’s degree in political science
  • Meredith wanted to further his education at a school he felt was the best school in Mississippi, the University of Mississippi

Mississippi papers such the Jackson Daily News and the Meridian Star showed signs of being negative biased as well.  During the Meredith Crisis, Jackson Daily News headlines referenced the federal troops by calling them “government goonsqauds.”  The Meridian Star had headlines reading “Negro Attends Ole Miss at Cost of Two Lives.”

National magazines such as Jet and Time, covered many of their articles through a neutral tone and wereable to give a national perspective.

More than half of Jet’s articles contained commentary from the general public and public officials.  Jet also contained comments from members of the public that shared different opinions on segregation.  However, some of Jet’s articles seemed to lean towards a positive biased of desegregation. For example, one of Jet’s editorial pieces urged President Kennedy to arrest Governor Barnett.  Jet was also advertising ads urging readers to donate to NAACP.

Time covered articles that consisted of commentary from public officials. ( 13 out of 19 sources were quoted from an official/ 68%) Time was able to provide commentary from several of Meredith’s failed attempts while trying to enter the university.  The article also contained a conversation between Governor Barnett and a justice department aide.

Doar: Do you refuse to permit us to come in the door?
Barnett: Yes, sir
Doar: All right, Thank you.
Barnett: I do that politely.
Doar: Thank you. We leave politely

Time was able to give brief descriptions of Meredith’s seventeen-month legal battle for admission against Ole Miss and acknowledged the southern resistance to Brown v. Board of Education.


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