JUNE 6, 1966

This photo by Associated Press’ Jack Thornell, which captured the shooting, won the Pulitzer. Credit: Jack Thornell/Associated Press

James Meredith was shot a day after he began his one-man, 220-mile March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, Mississippi. 

Meredith survived, and the sniper was arrested. Meredith did the march to encourage Black Mississippians to vote in the wake of the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. 

After Meredith’s shooting, Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders and activists decided to continue the march in Meredith’s name. People from all over the nation came to join the march, which resulted in 4,000 new Black voters. 

The march ended at the state Capitol in Jackson, where 15,000 gathered, including Meredith, who had recuperated from surgery. It was the largest civil rights march in the state’s history. (The photo by Associated Press’ Jack Thornell, which captured the shooting, won the Pulitzer.)

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.