Civil Rights icon James Meredith visits Evers and Flagg Library on 14 Stop Tour

April 24, 2019 in News

By Jackie Hampton,

Publisher,

Meredith

Meredith

Civil Rights icon James Meredith said April 24 he was heading to Coahoma Community College (CCC) to speak but he was a little “scared” because he was planning to share with his audience the truth regarding how African Americans have never dealt with the consequences of slavery and segregation. He said this event, which is part of CCC’s 70th-year-anniversary, will be a most “telling event.”

When asked if this is the same ‘truth’ he is telling on his tour of the Jackson Hinds Library System (JHLS) Meredith said it’s a different audience. The JHLS tour for Meredith is all about encouraging everyone to use the library frequently.

So far, he has spoken at the Flagg Library on Williamson Avenue in Edwards and the Medgar Evers Library in Jackson. Jessica Johnson, branch manager of the Flagg Library stated, “The message that Dr. Meredith shared with us was very empowering. It educated us on how well known he is by so many great people.” Johnson said the tour by Meredith was very rewarding and much needed.

Anne Sanders, branch manager of the Evers Library stated, “The James Meredith presentation went very well. Having this dynamic Civil Rights speaker to visit our library was indeed a pleasure as well as an honor.” Evers staff member Jimmy Mays said, “Being I did not grow up in the civil rights era, learning about the struggles first hand from James Meredith was an incredible experience.”

Meredith, the author of several books wrote a book 30 years ago titled “What Every Black Family Needs to know about The Library.” He said there was a time in Mississippi when blacks could only use one of several libraries in the city. It was located on Mills Street.

Evers said he always took advantage of going to the library and reading all the newspapers and magazines so that he would know what was going on locally and nationally. It was his use of the library that prepared him for what was at stake when he made a decision to attend The University of Mississippi in 1962.

Meredith was the first African American to attend the university. His entrance gained national attention when state officials refused a U.S. Supreme Court order to integrate the university, but following large campus riots, Meredith was admitted under the protection of federal marshals.

It was having access to the articles in newspapers and magazines that Meredith was able to read about Dr. Martin Luther King and the NAACP. These articles enlightened him as to what he would have to endure by being the first black to enter an all-white institution and according to Meredith, he was prepared. He said, “the worst they could do to him was kill him.”

Meredith reminded his audience that individuals need to take advantage of the public libraries, especially students. He reminded them that it is FREE and that all libraries are available to everyone.

Meredith is embarking on a tour of the 14 libraries in JHLS to bring attention to the many advantages that public libraries can offer, especially to African-American families in Mississippi. “I believe that this is one of the most important things that I have ever done in my life” Meredith shares, “and I want everyone to hear my message.”

Patti Furr, executive director of JHLS stated, “We are so pleased to be able to offer the public a chance to hear James Meredith speak in each of our libraries. This is also an opportunity for all Hinds County residents to join JHLS and get a free library card or to renew an expired card.”

Meredith also talked about his book,” Three Years in Mississippi” of which he had copies and other books available for sale.

For further information on the tour visit www.jhlibrary.org.