Interview with William Simmons
QUESTION 26
Prudence Arndt:

WHAT DID YOU ALL THINK OF THE MARSHALS COMING IN?

William Simmons:

We thought, we thought the use of marshals was pretty bad. We viewed this, the whole episode as an attack on the authority of the state. It was politically, apparently politically mandatory for President John F. Kennedy and attorney general Robert E. Kennedy to put Meredith, to put a black in Ole Miss. They had been suffering from a bad defeat when the freedom riders had tried to invade the state a couple of years earlier. So it appeared politically necessary for them to show some results. Mississippi was a good whipping boy and also the symbol of resistance to the Supreme Court's decision, so why not humiliate the state and show the fist? And that's exactly what happened.