Interview with John McLaurin
QUESTION 21
INTERVIEWER:

N0W ON SEPTEMBER 30 THE GOVERNOR SENT YOU AND A FEW OTHERS RIGHT UP TO OXFORD TO BE HIS REPRESENTATIVES. WHAT WERE YOU SUPPOSED TO DO THERE, WERE YOU SUPPOSED TO NEGOTIATE OR BLOCK MR. MEREDITH?

John McLaurin:

We, on Sunday afternoon Governor Barnett asked Senator George Yarborough who was president pro-tem in the senate, Judge Russell Moor, circuit judge there in Jackson and Representative Buddy Newman who is now speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives and me to go to Oxford and to represent him up there, he would be at the mansion in Jackson. And we were to look at the situation and keep him posted on what was going on, and when we arrived of course the army had taken over the Oxford airport, dark had fallen, we had to be inspected in the plane before we got out. The plane was uh, uh flown by Rex Armstead of Lula, Mississippi. Uh, we went into the campus and there we were confronted by Nicholas Katzenbach, then the Attorney General of the United States. Uh, we uh, went into a room with him and Senator Yarborough did most of the speaking for our crowd. And he and Katzenbach had conversation there for about 30 minutes. We then went out to the front porch of the Lyceum building and, and the federal marshals were, were lined up all across the lawn porch there of the lyceum building and students were across the little way there from ‘em, uh, very close to ‘em. And one of the marshals tired a tear gas canister into the crowd and then is when uh all of the trouble began.