In September 1962, a federal court ordered the University of Mississippi to accept James Meredith, a twenty-eight-year-old Air Force Veteran, after a sixteen-month legal battle. Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett disobeyed the decree and had Meredith physically barred from enrolling. President Kennedy responded by federalizing the National Guard and sending Army troops to protect Meredith. After days of violence and rioting by whites, Meredith, escorted by federal marshals, enrolled on October 1, 1962. Two men were killed in the turmoil and more than 300 injured. Because he had earned credits in the military and at Jackson State College, Meredith graduated the following August without incident.