1962 Riot Aftermath Eyewitness Donates Memorabilia to UM Library

Ole Miss alumnus’ donation helps paint picture of daily life in 1962 South

Frank (Andy) Anderson Jr. stands with a piece of equipment he helped construct in the chemical engineering department building in 1963. Photo courtesy of Anderson.

OXFORD, Miss. — The morning after the 1962 riot surrounding James Meredith’s integration of the University of Mississippi, Frank (Andy) Anderson (BA 67) and his father, then-head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, walked from their home on South 11th Street to campus.

“The only thing that I can remember is my eyes [were] burning from the residual tear gas hanging in the trees,” said Anderson, who recently returned to campus to donate a collection of personal items from the time period to the Department of Archives and Special Collections.

A high school senior at University High School at the time, Anderson was issued a green document allowing him to leave and re-enter the city of Oxford and campus. He worked an after-school job, assisting his father’s chemical engineering graduate students in the Engineering Science Building, then called the Chemical Engineering building.

Anderson’s green pass is one of the personal items he donated to the library.

“These are artifacts that have some place in history,” said Anderson. “All those little pieces make up the whole picture. I think it’s really important to keep all those little pieces and try to put them together so people can see the whole picture.”

The donation also includes 10 original color photos taken by Anderson during the National Guard’s occupation on campus, a page pulled from a past yearbook and other memorabilia that were generally available following the riots, Anderson said.

“The Frank Anderson collection will add so much to the Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Mississippi,” said Jennifer Ford, head of the department. “The photographs, documents and ephemeral items all relating to race relations in Mississippi in general and the U.S. in particular will give our patrons added insight into our history.”

Anderson is the son of late associate dean emeritus and professor emeritus of chemical engineering Frank Abel Anderson, credited with single-handedly establishing the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Following graduation from UM, the younger Anderson was commissioned as ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve with orders to report to the USS Allagash (AO-97), home port naval base in Newport, R.I., as deck division officer. He is now retired and lives with his wife, Karen (BA 67), in Bolingbrook, Ill.

For more information about the Department of Archives and Special Collections at UM, click here.