VIDEO: Civil rights icon James Meredith visits Vicksburg on Walk Against Crime

Published 4:51 pm Sunday, June 25, 2023

Activist and civil rights icon James Meredith met with community leaders at his Walk Against Crime event on Friday evening at Washington Street Park.

Meredith first integrated the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in 1962 as the school’s first Black student while facing death threats and heavy opposition. In 1966, he was shot in Hernando during his 220-mile Meredith Walk Against Fear, a statewide attempt to influence Black voter registration despite widespread intimidation and terrorism by white supremacists.

The walking portion of the event had to be canceled due to the heat. However, Meredith said he was pleased with the turnout.

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“Most of the people I wanted to see were the elders. And my definition of an elder is anyone 30 years old or older; because I know a lot of 30-year-old grandparents,” Meredith said. “And you cannot be a grandparent without learning a lot about how the world works.”

He added that he was very pleased to be in Vicksburg.

“There’s no place in the world I would enjoy being welcomed more than in Vicksburg, Mississippi,” Meredith said. “Before I became an elder I came here quite a bit on that same road: Clay (Street).”

Meredith said he sometimes attended the famous Blue Room club at the end of Clay Street.

Meredith spoke about the community’s fight against violent crime and said that a path to a crime-free world could be found through Jesus Christ.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. recognized Meredith on behalf of the Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen with a plaque stating his “contributions to Civil Rights Activism across the United States of America.”

“Because we believe in what you believe, and that is that we can get rid of crime if we only believe that we can,” Flaggs said. “I can attest to you today that you have made a difference by coming here to Vicksburg, Mississippi.”