Kennedy urges ‘Ole Miss’ students to obey segregation laws 50 years ago this hour (1962)

Video: 'James Meredith University of Mississippi 1962 Integration Riot Newsreel' (JFK at 0:41)

(Sunday, September 30, 1962, 10:00 p.m. EDT, during the American Civil Rights Movement) — As rioting intensified tonight in anticipation of the enrollment of James Meredith as the first African-American student at the University of Mississippi, President John F. Kennedy called tonight for a “healing of wounds” and orderly conduct by “Ole Miss” students.

Kennedy said that while everyone is free to disagree with law, no man, no matter how highly placed, is entitled to disobey it for “defiance of law is the surest road to tyranny.”

A government, he said, can permit “no mob, however unruly or boisterous, to defy the law.”

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