Interview with William Simmons
QUESTION 31
INTERVIEWER:

Uh, Governor Barnett uh, in a speech, I forget the date but it was about a week prior to Meredith's being brought to the campus, had made a speech broadcast statewide on television in which he uh, interposed the authority of the state between the college board, who had responsibility for determining registrations and the authority of the, the power of the federal government. There's a long history to this which, I don't know if we need to go in here, but as one of these, in one of the acts, or one of the confrontations of a more amusing nature that took place in the Wolfram building, it's a state office building in downtown Jackson. Uh, two federal representatives, a chief marshal and a federal attorney accompanied Meredith to the college board office to see that he was registered. They had a summons uh from a federal judge enjoining Governor Barnett from interfering with the registration. Governor Barnett was standing there in place of the college board. As a matter of fact, if I recall correctly he had been named de facto registrar for the moment. When uh, the federal uh, official whose name as I remember was uh John Doar spoke to Barnett and asked him if he would accept Meredith as a student. Barnett peered over his glasses and he said which one of you gentlemen is James Meredith? This, this caused uh some laughter. During this, uh it should be added that during this episode the corridor was filled with members of the legislature, uh, then Doar said uh, Governor I have this summons for you and Barnett said, uh, well, I thank you for offering it to me, but I, I don't think I want it. And uh, Doar said, then you refuse? And Barnett said, I refuse but I do so politely. Whereupon Doar said, uh, in which case we'll leave politely and Barnett's final words were, come see us at the mansion. And that's the God's truth… [laughter]