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Full Court PressMississippi State University, the Press, and the Battle to Integrate College Basketball$
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Jason A. Peterson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496808202

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496808202.001.0001

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This Is the Biggest Challenge to Our Way of Life Since the Reconstruction

This Is the Biggest Challenge to Our Way of Life Since the Reconstruction

(p.123) Chapter 5 This Is the Biggest Challenge to Our Way of Life Since the Reconstruction
Full Court Press

Jason A. Peterson

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines Mississippi State’s fourth straight SEC championship and the team’s first appearance in the integrated NCAA tournament. The journalistic debate surrounding the 1963 Bulldogs demonstrated discontent for the unwritten law by Mississippi’s sports scribes, which was unveiled in the pages of the press. From February 26, 1963, when the Bulldogs clinched the SEC championship through March 20, 1963, after the MSU contingent returned to Starkville from the NCAA tournament, editors and reporters in Mississippi debated the legitimacy of the unwritten law. While Jimmy Ward of the Jackson Daily News continued to champion the cause of the Closed Society, the majority of Mississippi’s sports writers supported an NCAA title opportunity for the Bulldogs. The 1962-63 debate brought forth new support for integrated athletics from Mississippi’s sports reporters and demonstrated the beginning of a slow but progressive change in Mississippi’s press that refused to blindly dismiss any notions towards integration and social equality.

Keywords:   Mississippi State, Unwritten law, Jackson Daily News, Journalism, Integration

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