Monday, October 1, 2012

The night in 1962 that shook the state and nation

From Mississippi-

The Rt. Rev. Duncan Gray Jr., retired Episcopal bishop of Mississippi and then-rector of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, was one of the only white clergymen in Oxford to openly support integration. He had gone to a friend's house to watch President Kennedy on TV.

"Just as soon as his speech was over, the network announced that a riot had broken out at the University of Mississippi and that two people had been killed," Gray recalled. "We got real concerned that Jim Silver (Ole Miss history professor and author of "Mississippi: The Closed Society") was one of them, knowing that he was out there."

Gray and two faculty friends went to campus and found the riot fully involved. They urged students to leave. Gray saw Gen. Edwin Walker, who had led the troops enforcing integration in Little Rock and who had retired to oppose integration, leading one portion of the mob near Ventress Hall. Gray climbed up on the Confederate statue to get his attention.

"I pled with him, 'Please, General Walker, ask them to stop all this,'" Gray said. "He turned and said, 'You make me ashamed to be an Episcopalian.'" Several people pulled Gray off the statue, but others rescued him as the mob headed into the Circle.

More here-

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