388 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI example, the 1963 “Game of Change” paved the way for broader integration in the university and town. Mississippi A & M, renamed Mississippi State University in 1958, had grown to become a major university with a major sports program. During the NCAA basketball championship that year, the school’s segregated team was set to play the racially integrated Loyola University of Chicago in the championship tournament. The situation caused an intense stir because it violated the “unwritten rule” that barred all- white Mississippi teams from playing against those with African Americans. The university’s president, Dean Colvard, made the decision that they should play and sneaked the team out of town. Although they ultimately lost to Loyola, most agree that his actions paved the way for integrated sports in the state. It also set precedents for racial change within the university. A young Starkville man, Richard Holmes, tested those bounds during the summer of 1965. Holmes, the adopted son of local activist, Douglass Conner, was the first African American to enroll at the university. In a recent oral history interview, Dr. Holmes, who is a practicing physician in Choctaw County, explained that he mostly did it by accident. He was home from Wiley College in Texas and wanted to take some summer school classes. He had no real idea of the momentous importance of his actions. At a hasty press conference held just after his arrival, his statement reflected the surprise he had caused. He thus hoped that “the press, news media and the public will forget I am here. ... As a lifelong Mississippian I am here to study and learn at a high-rated Mississippi university which happens to be in my hometown.” Still, once he enrolled, he knew he had to stay in order to pave the way for others to follow. Sometimes that was difficult. He often felt ignored and lonely. He even spoke of how one faculty member intentionally moved the podium when he entered the classroom so as to block his view of Holmes. Still, a few students were friendly, and quite a number of faculty were supportive. Most important, the damage from riots and violence that had accompanied James Meredith’s desegregation of Ole Miss was fresh on everybody’s mind, so Holmes’arrival was not met with violence. An angry group of students and town residents marched on his parents’house that summer, but they did no damage, and Holmes never knew about it until later. In reflecting on his experiences, Holmes credits the more progressive atmosphere of Starkville and the university for setting the stage for the peaceful reception he received. As Holmes explains, many in the town and university had the attitude that racial change was inevitable and thus it had to be managed peacefully. In his memoir, former MSU President Dean Colvard echoed those sentiments, documenting the extensive preparations he and other staff took to ensure that Holmes’entrance to the university would be a smooth and peaceful one. He also credits Holmes’ friendly and non-confrontational demeanor with helping the situation. Thanks to Holmes, two more African American students enrolled the following fall. Together, they paved the way for the integrated school MSU has become over time with African Americans composing nearly nineteen percent of the student body by 2015. Not all desegregation efforts, however, were as smooth. The situation was more heated in counties such as Grenada that bordered the Delta, the headquarters of the state’s black freedom movement. Grenada, William Winter’s home county, seemed “to be quiet and under control” during the late 1950s. The county’s white majority seemed to control all. Schools were segregated. African Americans were underemployed and underpaid. They were also shut out of public facilities such as the library and pool. But change was afoot. Five local men were reportedly attending NAACP meetings in the county, and the next year, in 1959, a young black man was arrested with lots of NAACP literature in his car. In the several years following, Commission officials continued to investigate various complaints against African American agitators, but with only fifty registered African American voters, a Citizens’ Council numbering more than 600 members, and a dependable African American informant, they remained confident, even in 1960, that “no racial trouble of any kind is now brewing in Grenada County.” It took James Meredith’s well publicized 1966 March Against Fear to transform sporadic expressions of dissent into a movement for freedom and justice in Grenada. The Meredith Marchers, nearly 200 of them, arrived in Grenada in June 1966. They marched down the town’s main street. Martin Luther King Jr., meanwhile, negotiated with local officials to keep the courthouse open for voter registration as long as possible and 150 people registered that day. More significant, once the march moved on the next day, things had changed. For the rest of the summer and into the fall, the local black community continued to turn out to protest for voter registration and other rights. Once the cameras accompanying the Meredith March were gone, however, police and other officials looked the other way when whites began to resist this movement for racial change, sometimes with violence. The worst confrontations happened that September, when African Americans moved to desegregate the public schools. For two days, white men carrying various weapons, including axe handles, pipes, and chains, attacked and beat the black schoolchildren trying to enroll at the white school. Mississippi’s governor, Paul Johnson, sent in state troopers to quell the violence. A federal judge suspended classes. The FBI arrested twelve men. Martin Luther King Jr.