OXFORD, Miss. (WTVA) — In 1962, Mississippi was the center of the racial divide.
And Ole Miss, with the force of the federal government, was in the process of enrolling its first black student, James Meredith.
The integration caused riots and deaths in Oxford.
But 50 years later, the university has made progress brought about by Meredith.
"The fact he was this sort of lone figure in this sea of white faces taking on this challenge, very lonely figure, very enigmatic figure, which he still is, it's amazing. But it brought about huge change," said journalism professor Joe Atkins, who has been following Meredith's life.
At Square Books in Oxford on Thursday, people gathered to buy a copy of Meredith's new book, hear him speak and listen to answers to their questions.
People also waited in long lines to get his signature and to maybe get a picture with someone whose part in Mississippi history is undeniable.
"The book is really about the breakdown of moral character in the state of Mississippi, and that is the principal problem of all of our problems," said Meredith.
He was also critical of people in the Magnolia State.
"No place in the world is more Christian than Mississippi and which means no one knows better how to do God's will, but for the most part, no one has done less than the people of Mississippi," continued Meredith.
Meredith said he hopes that people start moving in the right direction and moving forward.