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College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Author of Book on 1962 UM Campus Crisis To Speak Tues., Oct. 18

William Doyle, author of “An American Insurrection,” an acclaimed account of the tumultuous events surrounding the enrollment of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi in 1962, returns to campus Tuesday (Oct. 18) to discuss that troubled period.

The program, set for 11 a.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium, is the second in a yearlong observance called “Opening the Closed Society: Commemorating 50 Years of Integration at the University of Mississippi.” The discussion is free and open to the public.

Doyle will be joined on the program by Donald Cole, assistant to the chancellor for multicultural affairs.

“It is exciting to have William Doyle on campus, as his presentation represents a signature event in celebrating the diverse University of Mississippi we have become,” Cole said. “For years, Bill’s book stood as ‘the’ definitive historical account” of a confrontation between the state of Mississippi and the federal government that led to a bloody campus riot on Sept. 30, 1962.

“The book did much to unite those who moved the university and the state of Mississippi from a tragic past to a very progressive future. I look forward to our students learning detailed information not yet recorded in history books and sharing ideas with a renowned scholar.”

Doyle’s book, which was published in 2001, was hailed as “an absorbing, important book” by The Dallas Morning News and called “one of the best narratives to chronicle the epic contest between African-Americans bent on freedom and their opponents.”

Doyle will be on campus for two days in connection with the “Opening the Closed Society” initiative. He will meet with students and be honored at a reception at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the Department of Special Collections and Archives of the J.D. Williams Library. Material from Doyle’s book will be displayed as part of a current exhibition at the library, “We Shall Always March Ahead: Mississippi and the Civil Rights Movement.”

For more information about the library event, contact Jennifer Ford, head of Special Collections, at 662-915-7639 or

Doyle’s visit was arranged by a university-sponsored civil rights subcommittee headed by Charles Ross, UM director of the African American Studies Program and associate professor of history.

“The University of Mississippi is proud to host William Doyle as part of our yearlong series of programs,” Ross said. “His work chronicles the turbulent events surrounding James Meredith’s admission. We encourage everyone in our university community and Oxford to take advantage of his visit and future events that will take place in the coming months.”

The series of programs began Sept. 30, the 49th anniversary of the riot, with a tribute to the late Ole Miss history professor, James W. Silver, who wrote “Mississippi: The Closed Society.”

For more information on programs at the Overby Center, go to