President John F. Kennedy December 4th, 1962 signed letter relating to the Civil Rights event where James Meredith was admitted as the first African American student at the segregated University of Mississippi. Kennedy is writing to U.S. Marshal Ernest Mike regarding his courage and dedication demonstrated at Oxford, Mississippi on September 30th. President Kennedy writes, ìYour actions that difficult night were in the highest traditions of the dedicated men and women who serve in law enforcement.î Kennedy continues, ìThe courage and dedication which you demonstrated while in great danger prevented a serious and tragic incident from becoming a disaster for our country. Had you failed, our country would have suffered irreparable damage.î Note ñ The registration of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi was a watershed Civil Rights incident for President Kennedy and his administration in 1962, because it forced the administration to use the power of the military to enforce Civil Rights and to override Mississippiís governor, Ross Barnett, who blocked Meredithís efforts to enroll at Ole Miss. Attorney General Robert Kennedy called in federal marshals to escort Meredith on campus, but on the nights of September 30th and October 1st, the marshals, including Mike, were besieged by a crowd of thousands that turned violent in their protests. The ensuing riot resulted in 2 dead, 166 injured. 79 of the 127 Marshals Service personnel were injured. President Kennedy ordered 16,000 military policemen to restore peace on the Ole Miss campus. Mike's job did not end there. After his recovery from a knee injury, he returned to Oxford as one of the marshals who continued to escort Meredith to his classes long after the violence subsided. Provenance: the estate of U.S. Marshal Ernest Mike of Kentucky. Condition: Center fold line and very slight toning to perimeter.Note – original signature based on the variance from eight (8) known autopen signatures for JFK and density differences of ink.
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