This book provides an honest look at the life and times of Civil Rights icon James Howard Meredith within the context of the America that created him and his generation. * Includes information on Meredith's family history that has not previously been available to the general public * Discusses how America's wealth gap can be closed * Ideal for high school and college students, history lovers, and readers interested in exploring the Second Reconstruction * Covers Meredith's 2009 Walk for the Poor and his 2012 Walk for ...
This book provides an honest look at the life and times of Civil Rights icon James Howard Meredith within the context of the America that created him and his generation. * Includes information on Meredith's family history that has not previously been available to the general public * Discusses how America's wealth gap can be closed * Ideal for high school and college students, history lovers, and readers interested in exploring the Second Reconstruction * Covers Meredith's 2009 Walk for the Poor and his 2012 Walk for Education & Truth * Explores Black Power, race riots, poverty, and educational, political, and economic lopsidedness * Introduces readers to known and unknown participants in the Second Reconstruction * Features Fannie Lou Hamer, Unita Blackwell, Charles Sherrod, Bob Moses, and Stokely Carmichael
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As piercing and as lasting as the shotgun pellets which wounded him in 1966, this straight forward account of Mississippi's most heralded living freedom fighter is presented without excuse or pause by his niece, Meredith, who is herself a heroine in the war against injustice.
Alice Thomas-Tisdale, Publisher, Jackson Advocate
May 26, 2013
Meredith C. McGee tells an incredible story of a remarkable American. James H. Meredith persevered to attain social justice. His goal was to end white supremacy by attacking the color barrier at the college level in his home state of Mississippi. His overall goal was not just to win the battle of gaining entrance into the University of Mississippi but to win the war against white supremacy. He persisted despite being criticized, misunderstood, and shot.
Meredith?s rage against injustice came out of his family?s experience of humiliation under the tentacles of white supremacy. But his rage was channeled into constructive action that was strategic, drawing on his understanding of what it took to avert the deadly reaction of bigots and the timing necessary to take advantage of the dawning possibilities opening up in America.
Others who preceded James H. Meredith?s efforts to open up colleges in Mississippi encountered catastrophic results. Clennon King who applied for entrance into Ole Miss in 1958 was labeled mentally insane and committed to a mental institution. Clyde Kennard who in 1959 attempted entry into Mississippi Southern was sentenced on a trumped-up charge to serve seven years in the state penitentiary and died of cancer with a criminal record that he did not deserve.
In the case for a more equitable jury selection system in Mississippi, the challenger, Mack Charles Parker, was lynched before the case went to trial.
Realizing the lessons of such previous efforts to break through Jim Crow barriers, Meredith understood the realities of the risks involved and what it meant to bear the brunt of acting alone. He recognized the importance of having the support of the entire black community and timing his action when the possibilities for support appeared nationally. Thus, on the day after John F. Kennedy was inaugurated, Meredith applied for admission to attend Ole Miss.
Though this book focuses on the person and actions of James Meredith, this is more than the story of a single ?ghter for justice. Meredith C. McGee brings to life scores of people who inspired or supported James Meredith. These include ?gures like Stokely Carmichael and Martin Luther King Jr. who rallied to continue the Walk Against Fear after Meredith was shot in Hernando, Mississippi. Other personalities who appear are part of a vast network of ?ghters for justice and equity. These include Ralph Bunche, Unita Blackwell, Aaron Henry, Fannie Lou Hamer, Charles Sherrod, Minnie Jean Brown, and numerous community and grassroots organizations including the Rural Development Leadership Network of which Meredith C. McGee herself is a part.
For his actions and stands, James H. Meredith has been subjected to being misunderstood and tarnished by falsehoods. Some examples include accusations that he was against a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. and that he opposed minimum wage laws. Meredith did not oppose a holiday for MLK. Rather, he opposed the MLK Commission promoting nonviolence as a theory for change. Regarding the minimum wage, Meredith said it was the worst thing that ever happened to poor people. Given this reality, Meredith saw low-wage jobs and a legislated federal minimum wage rate as a means of perpetuating poverty and removing moral sanctions for employers to pay a living wage. Such differences of selective misinterpretation add to the dif?culty of appreciating the contributions of James H. Meredith as an advocate for social change.
What make the life and actions of James H. Meredith vibrant and controversial are his efforts for a more complete recognition and liberation of Afro Americans in this country. His goal was not just to settle for integration but to advocate for equality, and not just for equality of rights and treatment but equality in terms of being viable, economically strong,and participating citizens. Meredith C. McGee adds greatly to our understanding of the contribution of a ?warrior made by America.?
Isao Fujimoto, PhD Rural Development Leadership Network Institute UC Davis
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