Last week, 50 years after James Meredith’s unwelcome enrollment as the University of Mississippi’s first black student (thousands of soldiers were deployed to protect him, leading to a riot that killed two and injured many more), the school commemorated the groundbreaking moment in its history.
But Meredith, who ultimately graduated in 1963 with a degree in political science despite all of the legal and social resistance, saw nothing to celebrate. Gawker‘s Cord Jefferson explains why:
Though he is alive and in good health, the now 79-year-old Meredith refused to attend the services, believing them to be misguided, according to reports.
“I ain’t never heard of the Germans celebrating the invasion of Normandy, or the bombing and destruction of Berlin. I ain’t never heard of the Spanish celebrating the destruction of the Armada.”
Asked to clarify, Meredith said: “Did you find anything 50 years ago that I should be celebrating?”
Besides wanting nothing to do with Ole Miss’s desegregation anniversary, Meredith has also said that a statue commemorating him on campus, erected in 2006, is “hideous” and should be destroyed. According to the Associated Press, he believes it “glosses over the magnitude of Mississippi’s resistance to his exercise of what should have been recognized as an obvious human right.”
Read more at Gawker.