advertisement

Randall dies at 73; tried to stop 1962 Mississippi riot

Monday, November 18, 2013 | 8:23 p.m. CST

JACKSON, Miss. — George M. "Buck" Randall, a University of Mississippi football player who tried to stop violence that erupted on the Oxford campus during integration in 1962, has died. He was 73.

One of his sons, Rafe Randall, told The Associated Press his father died Sunday at home in Clinton. The family was working on funeral arrangements Monday.

George Randall, who grew up in Greenwood, was a Rebels fullback from 1960 to 1963.

In the fall of 1962, violence broke out during the court-ordered admission of James Meredith as the first black student at Ole Miss. In the face of Mississippi's defiance, federal authorities deployed more than 3,000 soldiers and more than 500 law enforcement officers to Oxford. An angry mob of students and outsiders yelled and hurled bricks. Tear gas canisters exploded amid the oaks and magnolias. Two white men were killed. More than 200 people were injured, including 160 U.S. marshals.

A U.S. marshal told Randall to go outside near the university's main administrative building, the Lyceum, to try to talk to the mob and to urge people to leave, The Sun Herald reported. "It was a war, really," Randall said in a 2008 interview with the newspaper. "I didn't want anybody to get killed. It was a bad situation back then."

In 2008, the U.S. Interior Department designated the Lyceum and the surrounding area, known as The Circle, as a National Historic Landmark. In the 2007 nominating form for the landmark status, an architectural historian described how Randall implored rioters to stop attacking the marshals.

"Randall, unarmed, forced his way through the combatants to the flagpole in the center of The Circle," the nomination says. "He shimmied up the flagpole, which sported a Confederate flag, and yelled at the agitators to go home. After bullets hit the pole, he slid down, resuming his mission at the Confederate Monument and other strategic places in The Circle. A few demonstrators obeyed the Rebel football player."

Randall is survived by his wife, Sandra; daughter, Courtney Randall; sons, Rafe Randall and Buck Randall Jr.; and three grandchildren.


Like what you see here? Become a member.


Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Comments

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.

advertisements