JUNE 25, 1933

Activist and author James Meredith with his recently published 30th book, “Man on a Mission” at his Jackson home, Monday, July 25, 2022. Credit: Vickie D. King/Mississippi Today

James Meredith was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi. That same day, in 1962, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ordered his admission as the first known Black student to the University of Mississippi. Four years later, he started his one-man March Against Fear across the state, only to be shot by a white supremacist. Meredith survived, and civil rights leaders joined him in finishing the march that ended in Jackson, where Meredith and Martin Luther King Jr. spoke.

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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.