Born in Mississippi in 1933, James Meredith was raised on a farm with nine siblings. He joined the military after high school and attended an all-black college before becoming the first black student at the University of Mississippi in 1962. After he graduated, he earned a law degree and became involved in politics. He continues to be active in civil rights and lives in Jackson, Mississippi.
James Meredith FINALLY became the first African American Student at the University of Mississippi on October 1, 1962 (after being barred from entering on Sept 20 & several other occasions). His enrollment, publicly opposed by Gov. Ross Barnett, sparked riots on the Oxford campus. Later on (federal) U.S. Army military police were sent by Pres. John Kennedy. The President & Attorney General Robert Kennedy had hoped legal means (along w/ U.S. Marshals escorts) would be enough.
Civil rights activist James Meredith grimaces in pain as he pulls himself across Highway 51 after being shot in Hernando, Miss., June 6, 1966. Meredith, who defied segregation to enroll at the University of Mississippi in 1962 completed the march from Memphis, Tenn., to Jackson, Miss., after treatment of his wounds. (Jack Thornell, AP)
Integrating Ole Miss: A Transformative, Deadly Riot
James Howard Meredith (born June 25, 1933) is an American civil rights movement figure, a writer, and a political adviser. In 1962, he was the first African American student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi, an event that was a flashpoint in the American civil rights movement.During a march to register voters he was shot by Aubrey James Norvell from which he fully recovered.
Participants on the Meredith Mississippi March near the town of Canton, June 1966. The march began with civil rights campaigner James Meredith setting out to walk from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, in order to encourage African-Americans along the way to register and vote. After Meredith was shot and wounded, other civil rights campaigners continued the march in his name.