The University of Mississippi looks much different in 2002 than it did
in 1962. Nearly 13 percent of the student population today at Ole
Miss is black.
A special legacy remains intact as well, with James Meredith’s son,
Joseph, graduating in 2003 as the top doctoral student in the business
Since the work of those 127 deputy marshals was never celebrated — and
rarely mentioned — state and university officials recently made up for
lost time by honoring them as well as other law enforcement and military
personnel who were involved in safeguarding the elder Meredith’s right
to attend classes at Ole Miss.
On Oct. 1, 2002, more than
200 people, including Director Reyna and Mississippi Governor Ronnie
Musgrove, commemorated the bravery of those who stood in the way of
violence and civil disobedience. James Meredith was present as well.
Meredith, 69, battling cancer, was reflective as he addressed the crowd.
He was grateful for both those who protected him and the federal
government’s rule of law. “I thought the fact that the marshals
and the military followed the command of the authority of the United
States was what made today possible,” he said. “That to me was what was
Former Middle Florida Deputy Al Butler was also on hand for the
ceremony. Butler, 73, was one of three deputies in charge during the
rioting, along with District of Columbia Deputy Ellis Duley and Southern
Florida Deputy Donald Forsht.
Butler was beaming with pride as he spoke to the media afterwards about
a very special cadre of deputy marshals. “I hope [the people in the
today] know they are honoring some of the most courageous — and
unfortunately unheralded — men that ever wore a badge.
One | Two | Three
| Four | Five |
Six | Seven |
Read about the past |
Trouble Brewing | Holding Firm
| Continued Protection |
Robert Kennedy's Statement
The Present: 40 Years Later
| The 40th Year Commemoration |
Message from Director Benigno Reyna