James Meredith honored with historic marker

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HERNANDO -- One of the most pivotal moments in the American Civil Rights Movement happened on June 6, 1966 when James Meredith, the first African-American man who successfully integrated the University of Mississippi, was ambushed and gunned down.

Thursday, a historic marker was unveiled in his honor at the VFW in Hernado.

"For over 80 years I thought I was God's gift to the world and he said 'How naive can you be? You are truly my gift but you're just one of them,'" said James Meredith.

A large crowd gathered soaking in the history and watching as Meredith was honored with a historic marker for his bravery.

"It was important for me to be here because it was history for me to meet the trailblazers that came to Desoto County for all generations to have the right to vote," said Mcstella Betts-Hinds.

On June 5th, 1966, Meredith began his march against fear from Memphis to Jackson to encourage African Americans to vote. On June 6th, a man shot Meredith three times. Meredith, now 83, survived and helped galvanize the Civil Rights Movement.

"My mission from God is to tell people in Mississippi that we must crest a new focus on and right," said Meredith.

Both Betts-Hunds and Peggy Young told WREG even though the election is over, people should visit the maker and learn about sacrifices made for African Americans to have the right to vote.

"I almost had tears in my eyes just to meet him and to know he was bold enough to stand up against injustice," said Betts-Hinds. "As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said an injustice anywhere is an injustice to all."

"When my dad wanted to vote and he wasn't allowed to vote or my mom and it's because of people like James Meredith and others they were able to vote," said Young.

You would like to visit the marker it's located at the VFW on Highway 51 in Hernado.


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