Interview with John Doar
QUESTION 39
INTERVIEWER:

WHEN JAMES MEREDITH WAS REGISTERED THAT NEXT MORNING, GETS UP, GOES IN, REGISTERS, FAIRLY QUIETLY, DID YOU FELL ANY SENSE OF TRIUMPH, ANY VICTORY TO IT?

John Doar:

Oh, no, the ne—, everybody was worn out, there was a lot of physical destruction, the Lyceum building was a—pretty well messed up cause of all the people moving in and out of there, you know, there was debris around, and there was, it was, it wasn't, uh, it was a, it was a pretty badly messed-up university building. And, uh, there was no, I had no feeling of elation about, uh, what had been accomplished, it just seemed to me that th-, we were, it was just another step in a, in a long, long effort to, to break the caste system. I mean, it wasn't there was no feeling of elation, no feeling of satisfaction, no feeling that a heck of a lot had been accomplished. But a feeling that we had done, the government had said what it, that it would do… Excuse me, the government did what it said it was going to do, the gover-, the federal government said James Meredith is going to be registered because the Federal Court has ordered him registered. And I can remember being in, in the court in New Orleans when the full panel on the Fifth Circuit was there. And the justice department was there, and the state of Mississippi was there and Governor Barnett's authorities were there. And Chief Judge Tuttle, who was just a marvelous man, and a great American, said to Burke Marshall, "Now Mr. Marshall, the Judicial department, the Judiciary has gone as far as it can go. We can't enforce our own order requiring the state of Mississippi to register James Meredith, and I'd like to know from you, Mr. Marshall, what is the Executive branch of the federal government going to do?" And Burke Marshall got up and he said, "Judge Tuttle, the Executive branch will meet its responsibility. We fully intend to see James Meredith registered. We think that it would be best for the future of the country if the state of Mississippi met its responsibility and took over the responsibility of seeing that James Meredith got registered peacefully and safely. But if there's any problem about that, the federal government, the Executive branch, the President of the United States is going to do it." And he did it.