Mississippi’s National Guard

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James Meredith’s A Mission from God goes beyond remembering the past

He’ll discuss current concerns during an August 29 visit to Minneapolis
A book review 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Living, breathing Civil Rights Era history is coming to South Minneapolis’ Hosmer Library in the renowned person of James Meredith, who will read from and talk about his book, A Mission from God: a Memoir and Challenge for America (Simon & Schuster). Following his acclaimed Three Years in Mississippi after nearly 50 years, A Mission from God, written with award-winning author William Doyle, reflects on what went on in Meredith’s mind and how he felt in his heart when he did the unthinkable, single-handedly taking on the most viciously racist state in the union (of which its governor and citizens were staunchly proud) to claim the right to enroll for classes at the University of Mississippi. In 1963, the South, instead of practicing the politically correct racism that prevailed in the North, which claimed to embrace equality while covertly stonewalling it, was very much outright in its refusal to acknowledge, much less accept, people of color as Americans. Blind, unreasoning hatred of Black humanity was such that it actually took 500 U.S. Marshals, the 70th Army Engineer Combat Battalion, the 2nd Infantry Division U.S. Army troops, the 503rd Military Police Battalion, and Mississippi’s National Guard to hold off a rabid, jeering horde of blood-thirsty bigots. Television and film dramas, even documentaries, romanticize then-President John Kennedy and his Attorney General Robert Kennedy for dispatching all that aid like the cavalry coming over the hill when Gov. Ross Barnett withdrew the local police and was going to let Meredith get killed. Continue Reading →

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