Interview with Dr. Robert Ellis
QUESTION 19
INTERVIEWER:

NOW, FINALLY IN COURT, IN FRONT OF THE FIFTH CIRCUIT. THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, UM, SAYS YES WE WILL ADMIT JAMES MEREDITH. THEY, THEY MAKE THIS—THEY DECIDE AND ADMIT THIS IN OPEN COURT. COULD YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT TURNED THAT AROUND? WHAT WAS, WHAT WAS THE PRESSURE THAT TURNED THAT AROUND?

Dr. Robert Ellis:

Maybe I'm oversimplifying it, but uh, I recall when all of the principles of the case, including every one of the members of the board of trustees were summoned to attend court in New Orleans uh, before the fifth circuit court of appeals. This was the fist time that the individual board members were confronted with a decision and particularly a decision that threatened them with uh, uh perhaps uh, fines and even perhaps uh, sentencing to jail. So it, it was quite simple uh, when each one of them was asked to stand and answer directly to the fifth circuit court of appeals sitting in back, all of them there, and either saying, "Yes I will approve the admission," or no I won't approve the admission of James Meredith. And if they answered in the negative they had their own security threatened. That brought a quick closure to the, to the issue.