This Day in Black History: Aug. 18, 1963

James Meredith becomes the first African-American to earn a degree from the University of Mississippi.

Posted: 08/18/2014 12:00 AM EDT

On Aug. 18, 1963, James Meredith became the first African-American student to graduate from the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

He was the first Black person to attend the school. After being barred on several occasions because of his race, Meredith was formally admitted into the university in October 1962 as transfer student from Jackson State College (presently Jackson State University), an HBCU.

However, his entrance was met with intense rioting on the college campus, and two people died in the clashes. U.S. Marshalls were deployed to the school to keep the peace. Despite facing adversity, Meredith continued on with his studies, graduating with a degree in political science.

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(Photo: Courtesy of The Library of Congress)

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