ELLISVILLE, Miss. (WDAM) - Monday evening civil rights activist James Meredith addressed students at Jones College.
Meredith was the first Black man to integrate the University of Mississippi in 1962. He took the stage with Judge Charles Pickering, university officials and two honors students.
The topic of his speech was “Moving Forward: Toward a new day Mississippi.” His speech was divided up into three main focuses. The first was religion and law, where he addressed the contradiction of the two.
The second focus was government and society, where he took the time to express how they both need each other to function properly.
Lastly, he acknowledged Mississippi’s past, while stating that, “America needs a new policy, Mississippi can supply this new reality for America.”
He was joined on stage by Pickering, who noted Meredith’s courage.
“Mr. Meredith had to know that when he enrolled at Ole Miss, the last Black man to try to integrate a Mississippi state of higher learning had been sentenced to the penitentiary, so it took a lot of courage for him to be willing to do what he did,” Pickering said.
In closing, the judge acknowledged the accomplishments that Black people have made toward a better Mississippi.
“Mississippi has more elected black officials than any other state in the nation,” Pickering said.