Robert Kennedy signed letter and photograph relating to the 1962 Civil Rights unrest when James Meredith was admitted as the first African American student at the University of Mississippi. In this eloquent letter, dated December 11, 1962, Kennedy is writing to U.S. Marshall Ernest Mike regarding Mike's injuries sustained at Oxford, Mississippi on September 30th and October 1st. ìI would like to express my gratitude to you for your performance at Oxford. You and your colleagues conducted yourselves with good judgement in the face of crisis, with restraint in the face of great provocation, and ó as your injury attests ñwith real courage in the face of great danger. You have made a great contribution to the attainment of equal rights for all our citizens and to the rule of law in our country. I want you to know I am deeply grateful..î . This lot also includes an autographed photo of Kennedy and original letter envelope. The hand signed photo of Robert Kennedy is inscribed: "To Marshal Ernie Mike With appreciation and best wishes Robert Kennedy." 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. Attorney General Robert Kennedy emphasized the gravity of this incident, saying: îSo to hear these reports that were coming in to the President and to myself all last night ñ when the situation with the state police having deserted the situation, and these men standing up there with courage and ability and great bravery ñ that was a very moving period in my life.î Provenance: the estate of U.S. Marshall Ernest Mike of Kentucky. Condition: Letter and envelope in excellent condition with letter having two folds. Photo with minor wrinkling at top and bottom margin (probably from moisture), couple of slight creases at edge of photo.
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