Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Amy E. Wells Dolan

Second Advisor

Rosusan D. Bartee

Third Advisor

K. B. Melear

Relational Format



The historical integration of the University of Mississippi (UM) brought both national and local attention when James Meredith was escorted by U.S. Marshals to enroll and attend classes on October 1, 1962 (Cohodas, 1997; Doyle, 2001; Eagles, 2009). Since the integration of UM, racial issues and efforts to promote racial reconciliation primarily have been defined in binary terms of Black and White. In this way, few people hardly noticed that a small number of Chinese/Chinese American students were actually attending UM prior to the historic integration by Meredith, a circumstance present in other southern universities that led historian Peter Wallenstein (1999) to describe these institutions as "non-Black Universities" because their efforts to stall integration focused primarily upon the enrollment of Black southerners. This study focuses on the history of Chinese/Chinese American students who were the first enrolled at the University of Mississippi from 1946 to 1975. Using data collected from Ole Miss Yearbooks and interviews of the former Chinese American students who graduated between 1946 and 1975, the archival research and oral history project presented the development of Chinese/Chinese American students and portrayed their unique collegiate experiences at UM. Eight interviews were conducted in the oral history portion, four male and four female participants. Reviewing the interview transcriptions, eight themes were identified from the stories of the participants who attended UM between 1946 and 1975. The themes included: 1) growing up in the grocery store background; 2) close-knit community keeping Chinese traditions; 3) school was a big part—high value of education; 4) not Black, not White—being Chinese, American, and Chinese American; 5) different treatment; 6) James Meredith and Ole Miss; 7) good times at Ole Miss; 8) a family tradition to go to Ole Miss. Their stories in Mississippi and UM will help future generations to gain different perspectives of the past and inspire them to work hard and overcome obstacles to achieve professional careers.

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