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‘RIOT: Witness to Anger and Change’ Book Launch to be Held Friday

Riot-front cover-lr
Front cover of Riot

Yoknapatawpha Press and the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi are pleased to announce the joint publication of RIOT: Witness to Anger and Change.

“RIOT: Witness to Anger and Change,” is a photo album featuring the photography of Edwin E. Meek.

A book launch and signing will take place at 5 p.m. Friday at Off Square Books in Oxford.

Ed with bullet hole
Edwin E. Meek

On Sept. 30, 1962, when a student demonstration in the Circle protesting the admission of James Meredith turned violent, Meek, a 22-year-old graduate of Ole Miss and staff photographer for the University Information Office, was first at the scene. He stayed up all night and took more than 500 photos including exclusive shots of Meredith in the classroom. Meek is thus the only photographer with a full body of work covering Meredith’s admission and the ensuing 1962 riot at the University of Mississippi.

“I heard the hiss of a bottle sailing over my head and saw it strike a marshal’s helmet. When I turned to see who had thrown the bottle, I did not recognize a single face. The crowd had become a mob of strangers. Suddenly a man snatched a reporter’s camera and smashed it on the ground. Photographers began warning each other, ‘Shoot and run!’ When people noticed me taking pictures, someone said, ‘It’s okay. He’s from Ole Miss!’ ” (Edwin E, Meek, Foreword)

The book features a “Recollections” chapter in which Meek and Wilkie, fellow journalism students at the University of Mississippi, recall events they witnessed the night of the Ole Miss riot. While Meek was in the middle of the action taking pictures, diving for cover, changing film, Wilkie, 22, braved clouds of tear gas to witness the mindless destruction.

Proceeds from sales will fund the Meek School’s Student Entrepreneurship Fund to publish books by Ole Miss journalism students and faculty.

We have a very long way yet to travel in Mississippi,

and at the University of Mississippi there is much wrong

that needs to be made right,

but we have come light years together.

– James Meredith

PRAISE FOR RIOT: Witness to Anger and Change

As both a personal and historic account of the violent integration of Ole Miss, Ed Meek’s RIOT is a rare treasure, a sobering collection of first-hand photos and quotes recorded as history was being made. Here is a young photographer hell-bent on capturing and preserving a moment when his world—and ours—was forever changed.”

– Pat Conroy

Meek’s album is a sobering reminder of not so long ago….well written, with poignant photography, an important book that documents the last gasps of segregation at the University of Mississippi.”

– Morgan Freeman

Ed Meek’s photographs capture and preserve an important moment in the history of our country. In that time Oxford and the University of Mississippi were a hinge from the past into the future. A tumultuous, violent, unforgettable historical moment.”

 – Dan Rather

Ed Meek’s RIOT is a revelation, an astonishing time capsule of lost American history. He takes us into the epicenter of a violent, tumultuous turning point in American history, with the eye of an artist and historian. Incredibly, he had extraordinary access to all

sides of the conflict—federal authorities trying to insert James Meredith onto the campus, Mississippi state troopers, student protestors, and would-be rioters prepared to go to war against the U.S. government with hunting rifles and shotguns. Meek is the Matthew Brady of the crisis, and with this book he has created an amazing document for the ages.”

– William Doyle, An American Insurrection

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