A Great American Just Fighting for American Rights

October 1, 2012, was the anniversary of the integration of University of Mississippi. I learned much about James Meredith. He applied to attend University of Mississippi when he was a 29-year-old veteran. After much correspondence with the university, a year and a half later, he was admitted (Meredith). This was eight years after the U.S. Supreme Court decided that government supported schools could not be segregated, James was finally allowed to go to the University of Mississippi. Ole Miss had always been proud to be segregated. There had to be 30,000 troops and National Guard members to stop the riots when he tried to go to classes. Two people were killed and more than 300 hundred were injured (Elliott).

Ed Meek took some photographs of James Meredith in his classroom, which he hid for 40 years because the authorities didn’t want the classes disrupted with media. However, it seems like James’ classes were disrupted anyway. The other students left the class because they didn’t want to be with him (Glenn).

James Meredith just wanted to have the rights of any other American when he fought to go to the University of Mississippi.


Elliott, Debbie. “Integrating Ole Miss: A Transformative, Deadly Riot.” NPR. NPR, 01 Oct. 2012. Web. 08 Oct. 2012. <http://www.npr.org/2012/10/01/161573289/integrating-ole-miss-a-transformative-deadly-riot>.

Glenn, Heidi. “History Photographed, Then Hidden.” Alabama Public Radio, 01 Oct. 2012. Web. 08 Oct. 2012. <http://apr.org/post/history-photographed-then-hidden>.

Meredith, J. H. “Letter to the Registrar at University of Mississippi.” Letter to Robert Ellis,
Registrar. 26 Mar. 1961. Archives.gov. National Archives 193221, n.d. Web. 04 Oct. 2012. <http://research.archives.gov/description/193221>.

Tree ID

Today in science the students worked to identify a tree, using the parts I brought to school from my camping trip in early August.

Here’s what we had to help us:

  • seeds
  • seed pods
  • a small seedling

That was a lot of information to help the students figure out the species, but not quite enough.

One student tried using this dichotomous key from Wisconsin, but he got stuck when he needed to identify the pith in the stem. David couldn’t get beyond this step because we didn’t have a stem. There was missing information, so the next time I saw the tree, I plucked off a stem and brought it to school.

Now we had a wealth of information:

  • the seeds, pods, and seedling we had earlier
  • the leaf arrangement on the compound leaf
  • the leaf arrangement on the stem
  • inside the stem (the pith)

Students got busy searching on Sweet Search for terms like “dichotomous key”, “deciduous tree” (once they figured out how to spell it — their teacher had been no help), and “native Iowa trees” (the only clue I had given them).

Mason found a great dichotomous key, from Iowa State University, which I was sure would help him figure it out, but as he went through the questions, he got stuck on. Then I joined him, and I got stuck too. We knew it was broadleaf and compound leaf, and we thought the leaves were arranged oppositely. That’s where we became stuck because after that all the trees mentioned had samaras, which are small winged seeds. Our tree definitely had no samaras.

What would you say? These are the examples we had. It seemed we had a bit of both.

This photo of alternate leaf placement is so different than the leaves we have. Maybe that’s another reason we thought that was the wrong way. In the meantime, other students had gone ahead down the alternate path, which ended up being a wise move. The students went on to choose between thorns and no thorns (ours has none), smooth or toothed leaf margins (smooth), singly or doubly compound (doubly compound).

Finally, with a click on the last doubly compounded link the tree came up, and it was definitely our tree, the one we have in our classroom — The Kentucky Coffee Tree. (Gymnocladus dioicus)

Here are more pictures of the mysterious tree that has now been identified!

Flickr Set with Mystery Tree Images

You can find these Mystery Tree images and more on Flickr. You can use them for a mystery tree activity, for none of them have been tagged with the real name of the tree.