Interview with Judge John Minor Wisdom
QUESTION 12
INTERVIEWER:

NOW, WHEN IT CAME TO YOU, WHEN THE CASE CAME TO YOU AND IT HAD FINALLY BEEN ARGUED, NOT AT THE PRELIMINARY HEARING, BUT AT THE FULL HEARING, AT THE TRIAL. COULD YOU TELL US, WHAT WERE THE ARGUMENTS PRESENTED BY EACH SIDE, BY THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, AND BY THE NAACP, REPRESENTED BY…

Judge John Minor Wisdom:

Well, I did not review any Of the papers on the Meredith case, prior to this interview. But as near — as nearly as I recall, the state took the position that they had legitimate reasons for denying him admission to the university.

FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

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FILM PRODUCTION TEAM:

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Judge John Minor Wisdom:

The argument advanced by the University of Mississippi, obviously without any substantial merit. Basically the University of Mississippi that they had legitimate grounds for turning him down. 'First that his credits were not sufficient. Jackson State credits were not acceptable even the Wayne state credits were not acceptable. And then there was this tension that he was a trouble maker. That was a frequent term in those days and probably is today. But a, it was, we were not gonna stand for anything like that. We held, and it was clear, that the University of Mississippi did have a settled policy of segregation in all of its, a, schools. And particularly at the college level. So we ordered him admitted and that was when the trouble, really fierce trouble broke out and the violence at Oxford.