2003 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Johnson (19th)
A RESOLUTION RECOGNIZING, HONORING AND COMMENDING AN OUTSTANDING CITIZEN OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI AND THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DR. JAMES HOWARD MEREDITH, ON THE 40TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE DESEGREGATION OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSISSIPPI, AND DESIGNATING OCTOBER 1, 2002, AS "DR. JAMES H. MEREDITH DAY."
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith was born June 25, 1933, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, and raised on his family's 84-acre farm in rural Attala County; and
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith returned to the State of Mississippi in 1961 after graduating from St. Petersburg, Florida High School in 1951 and serving nine years in the United States Air Force earning the rank of Sergeant First Class as a Clerical Trainee Supervisor for the Tokyo Japanese civilians working at Tachikawa Air Force Base in Japan; and
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith enrolled in 1961 at Jackson State University and later enrolled at the University of Mississippi on October 1, 1962, making him the first black to enroll and graduate from an all-white state institution in the State of Mississippi on August 18, 1963; and
WHEREAS, because of the difficulties that surrounded his admission to the University of Mississippi in those days, Dr. Meredith's enrollment at the University of Mississippi should serve as a role model for generations and generations to come; and
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith attended school at the University of Nigeria and visited over 20 African governments and countries. He decided to write about his experience in Mississippi in a book titled "Three Years in Mississippi", which is a step-by-step account of his efforts to desegregate the University of Mississippi; and
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith earned his L.L.B. from Columbia University Law School in 1968; and
WHEREAS, Dr. Meredith started a voter registration march which was to be from Memphis to Jackson that ended up registering over 300,000 registered voters that later became known as the "Meredith March Against Fear." During the march, Meredith received three shotgun blasts from a would-be assassin. After Meredith was wounded, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. continued the march for Meredith which led to his stay in Mississippi for two weeks, and Meredith, after recuperating in Canton, Mississippi, rejoined the march and brought the march to Jackson ending on June 26, 1966; and
WHEREAS, in 1996, he celebrated the 30th year anniversary of the "Meredith March Against Fear" by promoting and using his theme "Black Man's March to the Library" in which Meredith visited 53 libraries and towns, meeting with parents and community leaders on the 225-mile trek from Memphis to Jackson encouraging the use of the library. The promotion ended with a birthday celebration on June 25, 1996; and
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith called for a "March for Education" in the Summer of 1998. He visited 42 towns and counties throughout the State of Mississippi introducing his literacy program on reading, writing and speaking proper English. The march ended on September 20, 1998, in Oxford, Mississippi; and
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith continues to carry his literacy program to communities and schools in Mississippi, organizing educational communities throughout Mississippi for the betterment of Mississippians; and
WHEREAS, Dr. James Howard Meredith has written over 22 books and edited over 5 videos pertaining to the State of Mississippi: "Three Years in Mississippi," a volume of 11 books; Queen Attala: Ancient Mississippi before 1540, My Native Land: The Choctaw Nation - 1540 to 1830; Yockanookany: The History of Attala County, Mississippi; The Father of White Supremacy - 1830 to 1917; An Old Man: Thinking of Younger Days; Letters: To My Unborn Grandchildren; Dancing Rabbit: The Destruction of the Choctaw Nation; James Meredith vs. Ole Miss - 1960 to 1963; J.H. Is Born; Japan: As Seen Through the Eyes of a Black Man; Me and My Kind: An Oral History with James Meredith; Captain Meredith: A Biography of My Father - 1891 to 1965; The Meredith Primer: The First Book of Reading; The James H. Meredith Old Fashion Spelling Book; History of the South: 1512 to 1840 - The Extermination of the Native People of the South; My Life Story - The First 50 years of Being Black (booklet); What Every Black Family Ought to Know About the Library:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE SENATE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI, That we do hereby recognize, honor and commend Dr. James Howard Meredith in celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Historical Desegregation of the University of Mississippi, and that October 1, 2002, the 40th Anniversary of the Desegregation of the University of Mississippi be declared "Dr. James H. Meredith Day" in Mississippi.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this resolution be presented to Dr. James Meredith, be forwarded to the Governor and the Secretary of State, and be made available to the Capitol Press Corps.