Debate Allows Host Ole Miss to Show Progress on Race

Great strides since deadly '60s riots, but students say university remains divided
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 25, 2008 10:48 AM CDT
Debate Allows Host Ole Miss to Show Progress on Race
Some black students say they are still socially separate from white colleagues at the University of Mississippi.   (AP Photo/ Ryan Moore)

Assuming the presidential debate happens tomorrow, host University of Mississippi gets to show the nation it’s moved beyond its racially tinged past, the Los Angeles Times reports. The school, known for deadly riots when the first black student enrolled in the 1960s and controversy over Confederate flags at football games in the ‘90s, spent $5.5 million to prep for the public-relations opportunity.

The debate is “the most positive event that’s taken place” for Ole Miss, says one instructor. But despite great strides in tackling racial tensions, remnants remain. The band still plays “Dixie” and students shout, “The South will rise again!” at games. The school needs to work on “the social thing,” says a black student who has no white friends there. (Read more University of Mississippi stories.)

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