Ole Miss Receives the Papers of a Bishop Who 50 Years Ago Called for the University’s Integration

The papers of Duncan Gray Jr., an Episcopal bishop who was active in the civil rights movement in Mississippi, have been donated to the University of Mississippi’s Archives and Special Collections at the J.D. Williams Library.

The bishop’s collection includes hundreds of letters in support and in opposition to his stance that racial segregation was incompatible with the Christian faith.

Bishop Gray spoke at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford just hours before James Meredith became the first African American student at the university. In addressing Ole Miss’ policy of racial segregation, he told a stunned, White audience that “No university in the world would defend this position rationally, and no Christian church would defend it morally.” He then left the pulpit and went to the campus in an unsuccessful attempt to dissuade an angry mob from violence. He was beaten in the ensuing riot.

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