Above: A helmet worn by one of the U.S. Marshals sent to protect James Meredith as he became the first black student to register at the University of Mississippi on October 1, 1961.
Notice the dent in the helmet, which resulted from a blow to the marshal’s head by a lead pipe-wielding rioter. Many U.S. Marshals sustained injuries in the anti-integration rioting by those who sought to block Meredith’s enrollment.
As a reminder of the continuing civil rights struggle, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy kept this helmet on a table behind his desk. It is now on display in our Attorney General’s Office exhibit.