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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, Your actions that difficult night were in the highest traditions of the dedicated men and women who serve in law enforcement. Kennedy continues, The 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. Descended from the family of U.S. Marshal, Ernest Mike. Note The registration of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) was a significant Civil Rights incident for President Kennedy and his administration in 1962. Mississippis governor, Ross Barnett, blocked Merediths efforts to enroll at Ole Miss. The duty to uphold Federal law allowing Mr. Meredith to register for classes was left to be enforced by Chief U.S. Marshal James McShane and his deputies. On the nights of September 30th and October 1st, these U.S. Marshals were besieged by a crowd of thousands that turned violent in their protests. The ensuing violence 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. Attorney General Robert Kennedy emphasized the gravity of this incident, So to hear these reports that were coming in to the President and to myself all last night when the situation with the state police having deserted the situation, and these men standing up there with courage and ability and great bravery that was a very moving period in my life.