Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker and James Meredith

Oct 5, 2017

The 1957 school crisis produced a number of fascinating stories, many of them sidelined from the main narrative of events. Take, for example, Maj. Gen. Edwin Walker, the man in charge of federal troops at Central High. Walker carried out Eisenhower’s orders at Central under duress. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy officially admonished Walker for trying to indoctrinate his troops with right-wing literature. Walker resigned in protest, resurfacing the following year as one of the leaders of an armed mob trying to prevent black student James Meredith from entering the University of Mississippi. The mob wounded 160 federal marshals and killed two people. Attorney General Robert Kennedy charged Walker with seditious conspiracy, insurrection and rebellion, and put him in jail for five days before finally sending him for psychiatric evaluation.