June 25


June 25, 1933 James H. Meredith, the first African American student at the University of Mississippi, was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. Meredith enlisted in the United States Air Force immediately after graduating from high school and served from 1951 to 1960. He then attended Jackson State College for two years before applying for admission to the University of Mississippi. After Meredith was denied admission twice, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund filed suit. The United States Supreme Court eventually ruled that Meredith had to be admitted and on October 1, 1962 he became the first black student at the university. This sparked riots on the campus which left two people dead. Meredith’s actions are considered a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights in the United States. Despite harassment from other students, Meredith earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1963. Meredith also earned his Juris Doctorate degree from Columbia University in 1968. In 1966, Meredith led “The March Against Fear” from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. During the march, he was shot in an attempted assassination. Also that year, his memoir, “Three Years in Mississippi,” was published. “The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss” (2009) traces the history of the University of Mississippi prior to Meredith’s arrival, the legal and political standoff over his admission, and the fatal riots that ensued. A statue of Meredith is located on the campus of the University of Mississippi.


About Author

Leave A Reply