A Very Short Fact: On this day in 1964, it was announced that the assassination
of J. F. Kennedy was not a conspiracy and that gunman Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
“The Vietnam debacle
shattered the broad national Cold War consensus about the need to contain
Communism. As America became bogged down in Indochina, as liberals and
Democrats soured on an anti-Communist intervention, many seemed to forget
anti-Communism’s centrality to postwar liberalism. With each passing year, more
and more Americans believed that had he lived, the great liberal martyr John F. Kennedy would have withdrawn from
Vietnam—even though immediately after his assassination, when the Vietnam War remained popular, most
insiders insisted Kennedy wanted to hang tough.”
President John F. Kennedy nationalized the Mississippi National Guard to protect James Meredith, an African American student attempting to enroll at Ole Miss, after state officials refused to follow federal court orders to integrate. 500 U.S. Marshals and the Mississippi National Guard were sent to accompany Meredith once Mississippi Governor Barnett allowed Meredith to enroll at the university.
The next night, Meredith was staying in a dorm room in the university while waiting to register the next day when a full scale riot broke out on the campus. A crowd of 3000, mainly segregationist students, gathered on campus and began to attack state and federal officials and the hall where Meredith was staying. In the middle of the riot, Kennedy called in for federal reinforcements to fend off the crowd, but the new general was forced to crawl out of his burning car and retreat into the University under gunfire by the rioters. By the end of the night, 166 US Marshals and 40 soldiers/National Guardsmen were injured and two people were dead. The next day on October 1st, James Meredith became the first African American student to attend the University of Mississippi.