Activist and author James Meredith relaxes in the back yard of his Jackson home, looking dapper in an off-white suit and Panama-style straw hat.
In his hand, he holds a copy of ‘Man on a Mission: James Meredith and the Battle of Ole Miss,’ a graphic novel as told by Meredith, written by Aram Goudsouzian and illustrated by Bill Murray.
The book tells Meredith’s dramatic story as the first Black American to attend the University of Mississippi and his fight against white supremacy in 1962, rife with the terrors of being Black in the Jim Crow era South.
There were riots and deaths on campus, protection from the National Guard and a deal struck between then U.S. Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Gov. Ross Barnett, allowing Meredith to register. Meredith’s determination and courage never faltered because he was on a mission. He graduated in 1963 with a political science degree.
In a hand-written statement, Meredith asks, “Who is James Meredith? I may not know yet! But I do know who I always thought I was… a man on a mission from God.”
His mission continues, the last he admits, with plans to commemorate the 60th anniversary of his entering Ole Miss by visiting every county in the state. Meredith wants to, “uplift moral character through the word of the Lord.”
That’s 82 counties, by a man born in 1933 … still determined, still fearless, still a man on a mission.