Pioneer deserves recognition

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2016

James Meredith’s work as a pioneer in civil rights extended beyond being the first black student at the University of Mississippi.

He also planned a march in June 1966 to challenge the fear that dominated the hearts and lives of black residents throughout the South. It was on that march, one mile south of Hernando, where he was shot three times. When he recovered, that march continued to Jackson and thousands of Mississippi’s black residents registered to vote, encouraged by Meredith’s actions.

The U.S. Senate honored Meredith this week by passing a resolution that commemorates his “March Against Fear,” a 220-mile walk from Memphis to Jackson.

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“In June 1966, James Meredith did something truly courageous, playing a powerful role in Mississippi’s progress during the civil rights era,” Sen. Roger Wicker said. “Transformative events like the ‘March Against Fear’ merit the highest recognition. Our nation is better because of fearless individuals like him, who were willing to pioneer change 50 years ago.”

Our world is a better place because of the fearless actions taken by Meredith and others during the civil rights era. By continuing to remember his plight and give recognition, it may spur others to take action in the face of adversity and continue making the United States better.