James Meredith

 

James Meredith
(June 25, 1933 -)
October 1, 1962

 

James Meredith was the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Violence and riots surrounding his attending the university cause President Kennedy to send 5,000 federal troops.
In 1966 Meredith planned a solo 220-mile March Against Fearfrom Memphis, Tennesseeto Jackson, Mississippi; he wanted to highlight continuing racism in the South and encourage voter registration after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He did not want major civil rights organizations involved. The second day, he was shot by a white gunman and suffered numerous wounds. Leaders of major organizations vowed to complete the march in his name after he was taken to the hospital. While Meredith was recovering, more people from across the country became involved as marchers. He rejoined the march and when Meredith and other leaders entered Jackson on June 26, they were leading an estimated 15,000 marchers, in what was the largest civil rights march in Mississippi. During the course of it, more than 4,000 African Americans had registered to vote, and the march was a catalyst to continued community organizing and additional registration.

 

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