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Integration witness donates news scrapbooks to Ole Miss

Jared Burleson

The scrapbooks of newspaper clippings Robert “Bob” Herring III recently donated to the J.D. Williams Library Archives and Special Collections immortalize daily media accounts of the events surrounding James Meredith and the integration of The University of Mississippi in 1962.
The three scrapbooks, composed of various news sources including the Oxford Eagle, The Clarion-Ledger and the Jackson Daily News, offer a comprehensive view of integration at Ole Miss.
In 1962, Herring, then a junior in high school, and his family lived in a house on Faculty Row, near the site of what is now the Ford Center. He describes himself as a “news junky,” clipping newspaper articles even before the riots began.
In addition to the scrapbooks, Herring is also making certain sections of his diary entries during that time available upon request.
“I just wanted to make the scrapbooks available to others because I knew they were of such historic importance especially in light of the 50th anniversary,” Herring said.
For years, Herring admitted, the scrapbooks were stashed in the attic and untouched. Two years ago, he began sifting through them again, refreshing his memories of the start of the riots on Sept. 30, 1962, when he watched President Kennedy’s speech with the popping of tear gas in the background.
“This past Sunday night at the Ford Center, I reflected on how ironic it was that I was on this spot exactly 50 years ago to the day, the date and the time, listening to President Kennedy’s speech on TV and listening to the beginning of the riots,” Herring said.
Jennifer Ford, head of Archives and Special Collections at the university’s J.D. Williams Library, said the scrapbooks are special because the integration archives were previously lacking in “day-by-day accounts of what happened in 1962 on campus.”
In a diary entry from Sept. 30, 1962, Herring wrote, “What I am about to write here cannot begin to tell the story; you would’ve had to have seen it to fully comprehend it.”
Later in the entry, he recommends his newspaper scrapbooks as the best account of the events for people not present at the time of the riots.
“No place has changed as much as Mississippi has changed,” Herring said. “With my accounts, I just want people to know that people can change, Mississippi can change, attitudes can change.”