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REGISTRAR
University of Mississippi
University, Mississippi

Dear Sirs

Please send me an application for admission to your school. Also, I would like to have a copy of your catalog and any other information that might be helpful to me.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

J H Meredith

Jannuary 26, 1961

Mr. J. H. Meredith
1129 Maple Street
Apartment 5D
Jackson, Mississippi

Dear Mr. Meredith:

We are very pleased to know of your interest in becoming a member of our student body. The enclosed forms and instructions will enable you to file a formal application for admission. A copy of our General Information Bulletin, mailed separately, will provide you with the detailed information.

Should you desire additional information or if we can be of further help to you in making your enrollment plans, please let us know.

Sincerely yours,

Robert B. Ellis
Registrar

January 29th, 1961

Mr. Thurgood Marshall
Legal Defense and Educational Fund
10 COLUMBUS CIRCLE
NEW YORK, NEW YORK

Dear Sir:

I am submitting an application for admission to the University of Mississippi. I am seeking entrance for the second semester which begins the 6th of February, 1961. I anticipate encountering some type of difficulty with the various agencies here in the state which are against my gaining entrance in the school. I discussed this matter with Mr. Evers, the Mississippi Field Secretary for the NAACP, and he suggested that I contact you and request legal assistance from your organization in the event it is needed for I am not financially able to fight a legal battle against the state of Mississippi. I hope your decision on this request will be favorable. Below is a brief history of my background which might help you in reaching a decision.

I am a native Mississippian. All my elementary and secondary education was received in this state, except my last year of high school, which was completed in Florida. I spent nine years in the United States Air Force (1951-60), all of which were honorable. I have always been a "conscientious objector" to my "oppressed status" as long as I can remember. My long-cherished ambition has been to break the monopoly on rights and privileges held by the whites of the state of Mississippi.

My academic qualifications, I believe, are adequate. While in the Air Force, I successfully completed courses at four different schools conducting night classes. As an example, I completed 34 semester hours of work with the University of Maryland's Overseas Program. Of the twelve courses completed I made three A's and nine B's. I am presently enrolled at Jackson State College, here in Jackson. I have completed one quarter of work and I am now enrolled in a second quarter at Jackson. For the work completed I received one A, three B's and one C.

Finally, I am making this move in what I consider the interest of and for the benefit of: (1) my country, (2) my race, (3) my family, and (4) myself. I am familiar with the probable difficulties involved in such a move as I am undertaking and I am fully prepared to pursue it all the way to a degree from the University of Mississippi.

Sincerely yours,

J H MEREDITH

OFFICE OF THE REGISTRAR
THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI
DIVISION OF STUDENT PERSONNEL
UNIVERSITY, MISSISSIPPI

Dear Mr. Robert B. Ellis:

I am very pleased with your letter that accompanied the application forms you recently sent to me. I sincerely hope that your attitude toward me as a potential member of your student body reflects the attitude of the school, and that it will not change upon learning that I am not a white applicant.

I am an American—Mississippi—Negro citizen. With all of the presently occurring events regarding changes in our old educational system taking place in our country in this new age, I feel certain that this application does not come as a surprise to you. I certainly hope that this matter will be handled in a manner that will be complimentary to the University and the state of Mississippi. Of course, I am the one that will, no doubt, suffer the greatest consequences of this event, therefore, I am very hopeful that the complications will be as few as possible.

I will not be able to furnish you with the names of six University Alumni because I am a Negro and all graduates of the school are white. Further, I do not know any graduate personally. However, as a substitute for this requirement, I am submitting certificates regarding my moral character from Negro citizens of my state. Except for this requirement, my application is complete. All colleges previously attended have been contacted and my transcripts should already be in your office or on the way. I am requesting that immediate action be taken on my application and that I be notified of its status, as registration begins on February 6, 1961, and I am hoping to enroll at this time.

Thank you very much.

Very hopefully yours,
JAMES H MEREDITH
Applicant

Western Union Telegram Dated: Feb 4, 1961, 2:05 PM

J H MEREDITH

FOR YOUR INFORMATION AND GUIDANCE IT HAS BEEN FOUND NECESSARY TO DISCONTINUE CONSIDERATION OF ALL APPLICATIONS FOR ADMISSION OR REGISTRATION FOR THE SECOND SEMESTER WHICH WERE RECEIVED AFTER JANUARY 25 1961. YOUR APPLICATION WAS RECEIVED SUBSEQUENT TO SUCH DATE AND THUS WE MUST ADVISE YOU NOT TO APPEAR FOR REGISTRATION.

ROBERT B ELLIS

REGISTRAR


February 7, 1961

To: The United States Justice Department

It is with much regret that I present this information to you concerning myself. Whenever I attempt to reason logically about this matter, it grieves me deeply to realize that an individual, especially an American, the citizen of a free democratic nation, has to clamor with such procedures in order to try to gain just a small amount of his civil and human rights, and even after suffering the embarrassments and personal humiliation of these procedures, there still seems little hope of success. To be in an oppressed situation is not in itself very difficult, but to be in it and realize its unfairness, and then to have one's conscience compel him to try to correct the situation is indeed agonizing and often miserable.

Before going further, I want to state my immediate situation. I have applied for admission to the University of Mississippi. I have not been accepted and I have not been rejected. Delaying tactics are presently being used by the state. This is the important fact and the reason I am writing (one major reason) to you. Other Negro citizens have attempted to exercise their rights of citizenship in the past, but during the period of delay, that is, between the time the action is initiated and the would- be-time of attainment of the goal, the agencies of the state have eliminated the individual concerned. I do not have any desire to be eliminated.

Why do I feel that you will or should be concerned about me? I have no great desire to protect my hide, but I do hope to see the day when the million Negroes that live in the state of Mississippi will have no cause to fear as they fear today. High-ranking officials of this state, including the Lieutenant Governor during the absence of the Governor on his South American trip, have made public statements saying that the law enforcement agencies of this state will not be used to enforce laws as proclaimed by the federal courts. I have no reason to believe that they will protect citizens that seek to bring about such decisions; in fact, I believe that if they are used at all it will be to intimidate such citizens.

America is a great nation. It has led the world in freedom for a long time. I feel that we can and we must continue to lead in this respect. However, I believe that a greater use should be made of the Negro potential. In my state, this is impossible under the present setup. All of the professions (except teaching and preaching), nearly all of the technical fields or trades, and the Commissioned Officers rolls are not open to a Negro born in Mississippi. Instead of the restrictions being lifted, they are now more rigorously enforced. I feel that this is not in the best interest of our country and certainly not in the best interest of the Negro people.

At the present time much is being said by the radio and press about a Negro wanting to go to the University of Mississippi. Much is being made of prior attempts by Negroes to go to "all white" Mississippi schools. They elaborate on the fate of these individuals; for instance, the last one to try is now serving a seven-year prison term on trumped-up charges subsequent to his attempt to go to the school. If this is to be the fate of any individual who seeks to exercise his rights of citizenship, then I certainly believe that this is an undesirable situation.

My background: I was born on a small farm in Attala County, Mississippi, the seventh of thirteen children. I walked to school, over four miles each way, every day for eleven years. Throughout these years, the white school bus passed us each morning. There was no Negro school bus. I never had a teacher during grade and high school with a college degree. But I was fortunate, because I was able to go to school. Each day I passed by one of the largest farms in the county, and there I saw boys my own age and younger working in the fields who to this day cannot even read road signs. I have never known how I could help solve this situation, but I have always felt that I must do my best.

During my last year of high school, which was spent in Florida, I entered an essay contest sponsored by the American Legion, and I was a winner along with two white girls. The title of the essay was "Why I Am Proud To Be An American." My theme was that I was not proud because I was born with as many or more of the desirable things of life as the next man, but because in my country an individual has the opportunity to grow and develop according to his ability and ingenuity and because he is not restricted from progress solely on the basis of race. Basically, I still believe in this possibility.

I served nine years in the United States Air Force. All of this time was spent in the so-called "integrated" service; because of this experience I feel that there is no logical reason to justify denying a law-abiding citizen the rights of full citizenship solely on the basis of race.

What do I want from you? I think that the power and influence of the federal government should be used where necessary to insure compliance with the laws as interpreted by the proper authority. I feel that the federal government can c more in this area if it chooses and I feel that it should choose to do so. In view of the above information I simply ask that the federal agencies use the power and prestige of their positions to insure the full rights of citizenship for our people.

Sincerely,

JAMES H MEREDITH

February 20, 1961

Dear Mr. Robert B. Ellis,

Reference your telegram dated February 4, 1961. I am very disappointed because it was found necessary to discontinue consideration of applications for admission or registration for the second semester prior to the receipt of my application. In view of this fact, I am requesting that you consider my application for admission to your school a continuing application for admission during the summer session beginning June 8, 1961.

Have you received all of the information necessary to make my application for admission a complete one? Did you receive transcripts from the University of Kansas, Washburn University, The University of Maryland, and Jackson State College, complete with a certificate of honorable dismissal or a certificate of good standing?

I am requesting that immediate action be taken on my application and that I be notified of its status. Again, I would like to express my gratitude for the respectable and humane manner in which you are handling this matter and I am hopeful that this procedure will continue.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely yours,

J H MEREDITH

Applicant

February 21, 1961

Dear Mr. Meredith:

Since we were unable to accept your application for admission, I am returning your money order in the amount of $10 which was submitted as a room deposit.

Sincerely yours,

Robert B. Ellis Registrar

23 February 1961

Dear Mr. Ellis:

Reference your letter of February 21, 1961. I am returning to you the money order in the amount of $10.00 for a room deposit since I have requested that my application be considered for acceptance during the summer session.

Sincerely yours,

J H MEREDITH

Applicant

18 March 1961

Dear Mr. Ellis:

Reference my letter of February 20, 1961, which was received by your office on February 21st, 1961, to date I have not received an answer.

I am requesting that my application be considered as a continuing one for the Summer Session and the Fall Session, 1961; also, please advise me as to whether all of my transcripts from the schools listed on my application have, been received, complete with a certificate of honorable dismissal or a certification of good standing, further, advise me whether there remains any further prerequisites to admission which I have not yet completed.

Please acknowledge this letter.

Thank you.

Sincerely yours,

J H MEREDITH

Applicant

March 26, 1961

Dear Mr. Ellis:

Reference my application for admission to the University of Mississippi, dated January 31, 1961, my letter of January 31, 1961, my letter of February 20, 1961, and my letter of March 18, 1961.

Please note the Bulletin of the University of Mississippi, General Catalog Issue 1960, page 83, which states that "the Registrar, under the direction of the Committee on Admissions, will provide each transfer student with an evaluation of the credits acceptable to the University." Please send me a copy of my evaluation immediately.

Also, on page 83, it states that "the dean of the college or the school to which the student is admitted will inform the student the extent to which his credits will apply toward the degree sought." If it is appropriate at this time, I would like to be informed on this matter.

Note also, on page 82, under "Admission Requirements," reference my letter of January 31, 1961, which contained as enclosures, five certificates attesting to my good moral character, but did not recommend me for admission to the University of Mississippi. Attached herewith is an additional letter from each of these five persons, certifying my good moral character and recommending me for admissing to the University.

Again I would like to take this occasion to express my sincere hopefulness that my application will be processed in the normal manner and that I be informed of its approval or disapproval. However, realizing that I am not a usual applicant to the University of Mississippi, and that some timely items might need to be considered, I certainly hope that the entire matter will be handled in a manner complimentary to the University of Mississippi.

Thank you and I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely yours,

J H MEREDITH

Applicant

Enclosures:
1. Ltr fr Rev. S.L. Brown
2. Ltr fr Mr. L.L. Keaton
3. Ltr fr Mr. Milton Burt
4. Ltr fr Mr. Henry Newell
5. Ltr fr Mr. Lannie Meredith

P.S. Send me a 1961 catalog.

Kosciusko, Mississippi March 26, 1961

Dear Sir:

I have known J.H. (James Howard) Meredith for at least two years. I certify that he is of good moral character and recommend that he be admitted to the University of Mississippi.

Sincerely yours,

HENRY NEWELL


April 12, 1961

Dr. Arthur Beverly Lewis

Dean, COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI

OXFORD, MISSISSIPPI

Dear Dr. Lewis:

In January 1961, I obtained an application for admission to the University of Mississippi from Mr. Robert B. Ellis, Registrar of the University and mailed same to him on January 31, 1961.

After my application was received by the Registrar, I received from him a telegram on February 4, 1961, advising me that applications for admission or registration for the Second Semester received after January 25, 1961, were not being considered.

On February 20, 1961, I wrote to Mr. Ellis and advised him that I would like my application to be considered a continuing application for the Summer Session beginning June 8, 1961.

I did not receive a reply from Mr. Ellis and, therefore, on March 18, 1961, 1 wrote him once again requesting that my application be considered a continuing one for the Summer Session and for the Fall Session of 1961. I have not received a reply to my March 18th letter.

On March 26, 1961, I wrote Mr. Ellis again regarding my application. Again I have not received a reply from Mr. Ellis.

When I forwarded my application to Mr. Ellis on January 31, 1961, I stated in a letter to him and in my application that I am a Negro citizen of Mississippi. Because of my failure to hear from Mr. Ellis since his telegram to me of February 4, 1961, I have concluded that Mr. Ellis has failed to act upon my application solely because of my race and color, especially since I have attempted to comply with all of the admission requirements and have not been advised of any deficiencies with respect to same.

I am, therefore, requesting you to review my case with the Registrar and advise me what admission requirements, if any, I have failed to meet, and to give me some assurance that my race and color are not the basis for my failure to gain admission to the University.

Sincerely yours,

J H MEREDITH

Applicant

May 9, 1961

Dear Sir:

I have seen your letter of April 12, 1961, to Dr. Arthur Beverly Lewis, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. Of course, your application has been received and will receive proper attention.

In connection with your inquiry as to receipt of transcripts of credits from the colleges listed in your application, I have received the transcripts each of which shows a certificate of honorable dismissal or certification of good standing.

As to your request for an evaluation of your offered credits, I believe I should advise you at this preliminary stage that my evaluation of your credits indicates that under the standards of the University of Mississippi the maximum credit which could be allowed is forty-eight (48) semester hours if your application for admission as a transfer student should be approved. By your transcripts you offer a total of ninety (90) semester hours credit.

My evaluation of your credits is not in any way a determination or decision as to whether your application for admission will be approved or disapproved or of its sufficiency.

In view of the foregoing, please advise if you desire your application to be treated as a pending application.

Yours truly,

Robert B. Ellis

May 15, 1961

DIRECTOR OF MEN'S HOUSING

THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI

UNIVERSITY, MISSISSIPPI

Dear Sir:

Please regard this letter as an application for occupancy of one of the University apartments appropriate for my family size. I have a wife and one child-age one (1). I have already on file with your office an application for housing in one of the Men's residence halls. If I am admitted to the University, and it is at a time prior to the availability of an apartment, I would desire dormitory accommodations until an apartment becomes available.

Enclosed is a money order for $25.00 as a security deposit.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

J H MEREDITH

Mr. Robert B. Ellis

REGISTRAR

May 15, 1961

Dear Sir:

I received your letter of May 9, 1961, and I am indeed pleased to know that my application will receive proper attention.

In answer to your question as to whether I desire to have my application treated as a pending application, it is my desire that my application be treated as a pending application for admission to the Summer Session, beginning with the First Term, June 1961; and please advise me if there is anything further that I should do in order to complete my application.

Also, you stated in your letter that your evaluation of my credits was not in any way a determination or decision as to whether my application for admission will be approved or disapproved or of its sufficiency. Of course, at this point, it is imperative that I be positively informed with respect to approval, disapproval, and/or sufficiency of my application, because I am married and will have to make appropriate arrangements for my family in any event. Therefore, I will be pleased to know the status of my application at the earliest possible date.

It certainly would be a grand accomplishment if we could devise a system of education whereby all capable and desirous prospective recipients could receive the desired training without having to suffer the consequences of undesirable concomitant elements.

Thank you.

Yours truly,

J H MEREDITH

Enclosure: Letter of Application to the Director of Men's Housing.

Mr. Robert B. Ellis

REGISTRAR

May 21, 1961

Dear Sir:

You wrote me on May 9, 1961, requesting that I inform you whether I still wanted my application considered as pending for admission. I indicated in my reply that I did wish admittance for the First Summer Session, beginning June 8, 1961. To date, I have not received an answer. I assumed by the nature of your request that my application was entirely complete and that I have met all of the pre-registration requirements of the school, and that I am otherwise qualified, and now all I need is a "statement of admission" from you.

Please advise me on this matter, so that I can make plans for attending the University this summer.

If you have already sent such instructions to me, please excuse this

Yours truly,

J H MEREDITH

Applicant

May 25, 1961

Dear Mr. Meredith:

I regret to inform you, in answer to your recent letter, that your application for admission must be denied.

The University cannot recognize the transfer of credits from the institution which you are now attending since it is not a member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Our policy permits the transfer of credits only from member institutions of regional associations. Furthermore, students may not be accepted by the University from those institutions whose programs are not recognized.

As I am sure you realize, your application does not meet other requirements for admission. Your letters of recommendation are not sufficient for either a resident or a nonresident applicant. I see no need for mentioning any other deficiencies.

Your application file has been closed, and I am enclosing with this letter your money orders for $10.00 and $25.00 which you submitted to me earlier.

Sincerely yours,

Robert B. Ellis Registrar