James H. Meredith, who in 1962 became the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi, is shot by a sniper shortly after beginning a lone civil rights march through the South. Known as the “March Against Fear,” Meredith had been walking from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, in an attempt to encourage voter registration by African Americans in the South.
READ MORE: Civil Rights Movement: Timeline, Key Leaders and Events
A former serviceman in the U.S. Air Force, Meredith applied and was accepted to the University of Mississippi in 1962, but his admission was revoked when the registrar learned of his race. A federal court ordered “Ole Miss” to admit him, but when he tried to register on September 20, 1962, he found the entrance to the office blocked by Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett. On September 28, the governor was found guilty of civil contempt and was ordered to cease his interference with desegregation at the university or face arrest and a fine of $10,000 a day. Two days later, Meredith was escorted onto the Ole Miss campus by U.S. Marshals, setting off riots that resulted in the deaths of two students. He returned the next day and began classes. In 1963, Meredith, who was a transfer student from all-Black Jackson State College, graduated with a degree in political science.
Three years later, Meredith returned to the public eye when he began his March Against Fear. On June 6, just one day into the march, he was sent to a hospital by a sniper’s bullet. Other civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Stokely Carmichael, arrived to continue the march on his behalf. It was during the March Against Fear that Carmichael, who was leader of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, first spoke publicly of “Black Power”—his concept of militant African American nationalism. James Meredith later recovered and rejoined the march he had originated, and on June 26 the marchers successfully reached Jackson, Mississippi.
READ MORE: James Meredith: His Life and Legacy
June 6, 1966: James Meredith and the March Against Fear
On June 6, 1966, Air Force veteran James Meredith (who had fought in 1962 for right to attend the University of Mississippi) began the March Against Fear from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi to encourage African Americans to register and vote after passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Meredith was shot by a sniper shortly after he began walking.
People from SNCC, CORE, SCLC, the Delta Ministry, and more came out to carry on the march.
Meredith recovered from his wound and rejoined the march before it reached Jackson. It is estimated that 3,000 Black Mississippians were registered to vote during the march.
At the SNCCDigital.org page about the March Against Fear, it is noted:
SNCC participants sought opportunities to convey the idea that beyond getting more Black people registered to vote, a more radical approach to change was now necessary. It was within this context that SNCC’s Willie Ricks and Stokely Carmichael shouted out “Black Power” — a shortened version of “Black power for Black people.” SNCC organizers had been using the phrase in Alabama.
Fannie Lou Hamer singing during the 1966 “March Against Fear.” Source: Jim Peppler, Alabama Dept. of Archives and History. Used here with permission.
Teach about the long and ongoing struggle for voting rights with the three-lesson unit, Who Gets to Vote? Teaching About the Struggle for Voting Rights in the United States.
See photos of the March Against Fear at the Civil Rights Movement Archive, Bob Fitch collection at Stanford, and the Jim Peppler collection at the Alabama Department of History and Archives.
Learn more about the March and the ongoing struggle for voting rights and find teaching materials in The Voting Rights Act: Ten Things You Should Know, the film Eyes on the Prize, and additional resources below.
Stepping into Selma: Voting Rights History and Legacy Today
Teaching Activity. Teaching for Change. 2015.
Introductory lesson on key people and events in the long history of the Selma freedom movement.
Teaching SNCC: The Organization at the Heart of the Civil Rights Revolution
Teaching Activity. By Adam Sanchez. 24 pages. Rethinking Schools.
A series of role plays that explore the history and evolution of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, including freedom rides and voter registration.
Who Gets to Vote? Teaching About the Struggle for Voting Rights in the United States
Teaching Activity. By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. 2020.
Unit with three lessons on voting rights, including the history of the struggle against voter suppression in the United States.
Ten Things You Should Know About Selma Before You See the Film
Article. By Emilye Crosby. If We Knew Our History Series.
Too much of what we learn about Selma and the struggle for voting rights focuses on the actions of famous leaders. But there is a “people’s history” of Selma we all can learn from.
What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement After 1965? Don’t Ask Your Textbook
Article. By Adam Sanchez. If We Knew Our History series.
Too often, students are taught that the Civil Rights Movement ended in 1965 with passage of the Voting Rights Act. It didn’t. Adam Sanchez argues that it is essential to teach the long, grassroots history of the Civil Rights Movement in order to help students think about today’s movements for racial justice.
What Our Students Should Know About the Struggle for the Ballot — but Won’t Learn from Their Textbooks
By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca
Lowndes County and the Voting Rights Act
Article. By Hasan Kwame Jeffries.
History and significance of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization.
Count Them One by One: Black Mississippians Fighting for the Right to Vote
Book – Non-fiction. By Gordon A. Martin Jr. 2014.
A detailed portrait of brave individuals who risked everything in their fight for the right to vote.
Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer
Picture book. By Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Ekua Holmes. 2015.
Illustrated biography of Fannie Lou Hamer, activist for voting and economic rights from Mississippi.
Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954-1985
Film. Produced by Henry Hampton. Blackside. 1987. 360 min.
Comprehensive documentary history of the Civil Rights Movement.
Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot
Film. Produced by Bill Brummel. Learning for Justice. 2015. 40 min.
Documentary about the students and teachers of Selma, Alabama who fought for voting rights.
Sept. 20, 1962: James Meredith Attempts to Register at University of Mississippi
James Meredith attempted to register at the University of Mississippi.
Jan. 10, 1966: Voting Rights Activist Vernon Dahmer Murdered
Vernon Dahmer was killed when the Ku Klux Klan fired bombed his home. This was one day after Dahmer offered to pay the election poll tax for anyone who could not afford it.
James Meredith and his March Against Fear
NDC staffer Jamie White provided this post about his latest find:
I recently reviewed a Department of Justice project (Class 130/145 Secret Enclosures, NND 66350) which covered a portion of the civil rights movement from 1968 and part of 1969. The collection covers the Poor Peoples campaign containing movements, surveillance, informant statements and bios on high ranking members such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael, and Floyd McKissick. The project contains handwritten letters to both the President and Attorney General from people opposing the March on Washington, handwritten letters from African Americans pledging for help in the south, and memorandums from government officials pertinent to the March. It also contains the actual FBI case files and courtroom transcripts from the James Meredith’ attempted murder investigation and shooter James Aubrey Norvell’s trial. Reviewing these records in conjunction with Black History Month prompted me to write a short blog on some of Meredith’s accomplishments including his near death experience on June 6, 1966.
James Howard Meredith (born June 25, 1933) was an Air Force veteran, American civil rights movement figure, writer, and political adviser. He is best known as the first African-American student admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi in 1962, sparking a violent clash, in which two people died, and 160 U.S. Marshals, and 40 National guardsmen were wounded. This is regarded as a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights in the United States. Meredith graduated on August 18, 1963, with a degree in political science. He continued his education, focusing on political science at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria returning to the United States in 1965, where he attended law school through a scholarship at Columbia University and earned a law degree.
Four years after the integration of “Ole Miss,” Meredith launched his “March Against Fear” campaign. On June 6, 1966, Meredith set out from Memphis with an African walking stick in one hand, a Bible in the other, and a singular mission in mind. He planned to march alone, 220 miles to the Mississippi state capital of Jackson, to prove that an African American man could walk free in the South. The Voting Rights Act passed only a year earlier, and his goal was to inspire African Americans to register and go to the polls.
On the second day of the March just outside Hernando, Mississippi on Highway 51, Aubrey James Norvell shouted, “I just want James Meredith!” Shotgun blasts rang out across the highway, striking Meredith in the head, neck, back, and leg. Suddenly, one man’s crusade garnered much attention from larger civil rights organizations. After visiting Meredith at the hospital, Dr. King, CORE’s Floyd McKissick, and SNCC’s Stokely Carmichael, elected to continue the March in his absence, helping to register thousands of African American voters along the way. It would be twenty days before Meredith was able to rejoin the March, which ended on Sunday, June 26, twenty-one days after Meredith began the journey. Norvell pled guilty to the shooting, and was sentenced to five years in prison (three of which were suspended). Meredith is now 80 years old and currently resides in Jackson, Mississippi.
Streams into a river
The Black freedom struggle has long encompassed people of different ideologies and tactics. Like streams feeding into a river, these political approaches come from distinct sources, but inevitably move in the same direction. In the 1960s, this movement surged forward, in part thanks to Meredith.
He is a complex person – one who might never be fully understood. That’s an important reminder: A movement depends on individual people making individual choices to act in individually specific ways, all in service of a collective goal.
The United States is again undergoing a racial reckoning, and again the nation is divided over its direction. It is, moreover, a dangerous moment for democracy. A sizable portion of the electorate believes in conspiracy theories about stolen elections.
In this polarized atmosphere, what can a productive social movement look like?
It has to respect the idealism of the forces demanding change but still speak to broadly shared democratic principles. A powerful movement makes room for contributors who don’t fit neatly into that movement. Sometimes, as in the case of James Meredith, their significance is extraordinary.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
Why was James Meredith important to the civil rights movement?
James Meredith, (born June 25, 1933, Kosciusko, Mississippi, U.S.), American civil rights activist who gained national renown at a key juncture in the civil rights movement in 1962, when he became the first African American student at the University of Mississippi.
Secondly, what did James Meredith study? On October 1, 1962, Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. In 1963, Meredith graduated with a degree in political science. He wrote an account of his experience, titled Three Years in Mississippi, which was published in 1966.
Subsequently, question is, what impact did James Meredith have?
James Meredith's Impact on Civil Rights Movement. James in class at Ole Miss. James proved to people that young black Americans can get a high class college education. He showed that he could not only graduate but get his masters and a law degree as a black man in a society of racial persecution.
What happens when Meredith tried to enroll?
30, 1962, chaos broke out at the University of Mississippi &mdash also known as Ole Miss &mdash after an African-American man named James Meredith attempted to enroll. That night, students and other protesters took to the streets, burning cars and throwing rocks at the federal marshals who were tasked with protecting Meredith.
Disappointed by the slow pace of change following passage of civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, James Meredith, noted for being the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi, decided to make a solo 'March Against Fear' from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, the state capital. He wanted to highlight continuing racial oppression in the Mississippi Delta, the heart of the black population in the state, during the 220-mile journey. Meredith wanted only black men on the march, and did not want a major media event featuring white participants.
On the second day of the march, a white sniper, later identified as James Aubrey Norvell, stepped out of a wooded area next to the road, shouted, "I only want Meredith", and shot Meredith three times with a 16-gauge shotgun loaded with birdshot shells. Meredith was wounded and fell to the road. People rushed to get an ambulance and took him to the hospital. Although he was not severely injured, Meredith was unable to continue the march as planned as he was hospitalized in Memphis to recover from his injuries. Norvell was later apprehended in Desoto County.
When they learned of the shooting, other civil rights leaders, including SCLC's Martin Luther King Jr., Allen Johnson, SNCC's Stokely Carmichael, Cleveland Sellers and Floyd McKissick, and Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), as well as the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) and other civil rights organizations, decided to continue the march in Meredith's name. The NAACP were originally involved but Roy Wilkins pulled out on learning that the armed Deacons for Defense and Justice were going to be protecting the march.  Ordinary people, both black and white, came from across the South and all parts of the country to participate. The marchers slept on the ground outside or in large tents, and were fed mainly by local black communities. A press truck preceded them and the march was covered by national media. Along the way, members of the different civil rights groups argued and collaborated, struggling to achieve their sometimes overlapping and differing goals.
SNCC and MFDP worked to expand community organizing and achieve voter registration by reaching out to the black communities in the Delta. In most places, few blacks had registered to vote since passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, as they were still oppressed by fear and social and economic intimidation in the Jim Crow society. Along the way, the different civil rights groups struggled to reconcile their goals and to enhance the meaning of the march to promote black freedoms. It grew slowly and was embraced by black communities along the way, and by some sympathetic whites. Other whites expressed hostility, jeering and threatening, driving close to marchers. Although overt violence was generally limited, marchers from out of state were shocked and horrified by the virulence of hate expressed in some communities, particularly Philadelphia, where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1963, and Canton.
Governor Paul Johnson, Jr. of Mississippi vowed to protect the marchers if they obeyed the law, but relations between the Highway State Police and marchers were sometimes tense. In some localities, mayors and local officials worked to keep relations peaceful. Local black communities and their churches provided food, housing and places of rest to marchers. They generally camped along the way, after returning to Memphis at the end of the first days.
On the early evening of Thursday, June 16, 1966, when the marchers arrived in Greenwood, Mississippi, and tried to set up camp at Stone Street Negro Elementary School, Carmichael was arrested for trespassing on public property. He was held for several hours by police before rejoining the marchers at a local park, where they had set up camp and were beginning a night-time rally. According to civil rights historian David Garrow, an angry Carmichael took the speaker's platform, delivering his famous "Black Power" speech, arguing that blacks had to build their own political and economic power to attain independence.  He used this opportunity to gain a national audience through the media to hear his speech.
King, who had flown to Chicago on Wednesday to help organize the Open Housing Movement marches in the city, returned to Mississippi on Friday. He found that some of the Civil Rights Movements' internal divisions between the old guard and new guard had gone public. Marchers called out SNCC's "Black Power" slogan, as well as SCLC's "Freedom Now!"
In Canton, Mississippi, on June 23, after marchers tried to erect tents on the grounds of McNeal Elementary School, they were pressed and tear-gassed by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, which was joined by other police agencies. This contradicted the governor's commitment to protect them. Leaders felt the violence took place because President Lyndon B. Johnson had not offered federal forces to protect them following the violence in Philadelphia. Before that, while relations were often tense, the police had mostly respected the marchers. Several marchers were wounded in the Canton attack, one severely. Human Rights Medical Committee members conducted a house-to-house search that night looking for wounded marchers. The marchers sought refuge at Holy Child Jesus Catholic mission. There the Franciscan sisters extended their help and hospitality to the marchers, especially to the wounded.  The following night the marchers returned to stay on the grounds of McNeal School without incident, as they did not attempt to erect tents.
After a short hospital treatment, Meredith was released. He planned to rejoin the march, then withdrew for a time, as he had not intended it to be such a large media event. He rejoined the March on June 25, the day before it arrived in Jackson and walked in the front line next to Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders.
The march stopped at Tougaloo College, a historically black college, before entering Jackson. Marchers could rest and get food and showers. Many more people joined the march at that point national leaders returned to it from commitments in other parts of the country. The growing crowd was entertained by James Brown, Dick Gregory, Sammy Davis Jr., Burt Lancaster and Marlon Brando.
The next day, June 26, marchers entered the city of Jackson from several different streams and were estimated to number 15,000 strong, the largest civil rights march in Mississippi history. They were warmly welcomed in the black neighborhoods and by some whites. However, many whites jeered and threatened the marchers others simply stayed indoors. The Highway Police and other forces were out in number, as the city and state had vowed to protect the marchers after the attacks in Philadelphia and Canton. As a result of negotiations with authorities, the marchers gathered at the back of the state capitol to hear speeches, sing protest and celebration songs, and celebrate their achievements.
In total, the march expressed "both the depths of black grievances and the height of black possibilities," and it had to do with "oppressed people controlling their own destiny." 
June 6, 1966: James Meredith Shot While Marching from Memphis to Jackson, MS
On June 6, 1966, James Meredith was shot by Aubrey James Norvell at the start of his solitary march from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi. Meredith pulled himself to cover near a parked car after being shot. Other marchers and newsmen took cover behind another car.
Jack R. Thornell’s post-shooting photograph of Meredith on the ground won the Pulitzer Prize for Photography in 1967. Meredith recovered from his wound and rejoined the march before it reached Jackson. During his march, 4,000 black Mississippians registered to vote.
James Meredith started a solitary March Against Fear for 220 miles from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to protest against racism. Soon after starting his march he was shot by a gunman with a shotgun, injuring him. When they heard the news, other civil rights campaigners, including SCLC’s Martin Luther King, SNCC’s Stokely Carmichael, Cleveland Sellers and Floyd McKissick, as well as the Human Rights Medical Committee and other civil rights organizations decided to continue the march in Meredith’s name. The NAACP was originally involved but pulled out on learning that the Deacons for Defense and Justice were going to be protecting the march. Ordinary people both black and white came from the South and all parts of the country to participate. The marchers slept on the ground outside or in large tents, and were fed mainly by local communities.
James Howard Meredith is a civil rights movement figure, a writer, and a political adviser. In 1962, he was the 1st African American student admitted to the segregated from University of Mississippi, an event that was a flashpoint in the American civil rights movement.
Motivated by President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, Meredith decided to exercise his constitutional rights and apply to the University of Mississippi. His goal was to put pressure on the Kennedy administration to enforce civil rights for African Americans.
Read more http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/james-meredith-shot
June 6, 1966: James Meredith, the First Black Student at the University of Mississippi and a Civil Rights Activist, is Shot
On this date, 6 th June, 1966, a civil rights activist and the first African-American to attend and successfully accomplish his studies at the University of Mississippi in 1962, James Howard Meredith, was shot and severely wounded by a sniper. This was shortly after he began a lone civil-rights march through the South. Known as the “March Against Fear,” James Meredith had been walking from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, in an attempt to encourage voters registration by African-Americans in the South.
James H. Meredith was born on 25 th June, 1933, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, son of Mr. Moses Meredith. He grew to become a Civil Rights Movement activist, writer, political adviser, and Air Force veteran. In 1962, he became the first African-American student to be admitted to the segregated University of Mississippi, after the federal government’s intervention an event that created a flashpoint in the Civil Rights Movement. Inspired by President J. F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, James decided to exercise his constitutional rights by applying to the University of Mississippi. His goal was to exert more pressure on Kennedy’s administration to enforce civil rights for African-Americans.
In 1966 Meredith planned a solo 220-mile “March Against Fear” from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. He wanted to highlight the continued racism in the South and encourage voter registration after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He did not want major civil rights organizations involved. The second day of his march, he was shot by a white gunman (sniper) and suffered numerous wounds. Leaders of major organizations vowed to complete the march in his name after he was hospitalized.
While James was recovering from his wounds, more people from across the country became involved in the marches. He later rejoined the march, and when he, alongside other leaders entered Jackson on 26 th June, the same year, they were leading approximately 15,000 marchers, in what was the largest civil rights march in Mississippi. During the course of it, more than 4,000 African-Americans had registered to vote, and the march was a catalyst to continued community organizing and additional registration.
In 2002, and later in 2012, the University of Mississippi led a year-long series of events to celebrate the 40th and 50th anniversaries of Meredith’s integration of the institution, respectively. He was among the prominent speakers invited to address people at the campus. A statue of James Meredith stands in the university, in order to commemorate the role he played in bringing down the segregation in this learning institution. The Lyceum-The Circle Historic District at the center of the campus has been designated as a National Historic Landmark for such events.
History: James Meredith shot, RFK assassinated
May 31, 1955: In a unanimous decision known as Brown II, the U.S. Supreme Court ordered school desegregation implemented “with all deliberate speed.” Although the decision required lower federal courts to enforce this desegregation, no deadline was given for compliance. The decision reiterated “the fundamental principle that racial discrimination in public education is unconstitutional.”
June 1, 1895: W.E.B. DuBois became the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University.
June 1, 1921: One of America’s worst race riots, which began the day before over the threat of a lynching, culminated in the torching of an African-American neighborhood in Tulsa, Oklahoma, leaving nearly 10,000 homeless. The neighborhood was known as Greenwood, named after the town in the Mississippi Delta they had fled from. Part of the neighborhood was so prosperous it became known as the “Negro Wall Street.” Estimates put deaths between several dozen and several hundred.
June 1, 1942: Alfred Masters was sworn in as the first African American in the U.S. Marine Corps at 12:01 a.m. His wife, Isabell Masters, went on to become a U.S. presidential candidate in five elections, the most of any woman in American history.
June 1, 1964: The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned Alabama’s ban on the NAACP, allowing the NAACP to operate in the state for the first time since 1956.
June 2, 1863: Abolitionist James Montgomery led 300 African-American troops of the Union Army’s 2nd South Carolina Volunteers on a raid of plantations along the Combahee River. Meanwhile, backed by three gunboats, Harriet Tubman’s forces set fire to the plantations and freed 750 being held as slaves.
June 2, 1868: Educator and civil rights activist John Hope was born in Augusta, Georgia. He was the first African-American president of both Morehouse College in 1906 and of Atlanta University in 1929. Hope was active in national civil rights organizations, including the Niagara Movement, the succeeding NAACP, the Southern-based Commission on Interracial Cooperation, and the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools. In 1936, he was posthumously awarded the NAACP Spingarn medal.
June 2, 1965: Exactly one year after Oneal Moore and his partner, Creed Rogers, became the first African-American deputies in Washington Parish, Louisiana, nightriders shot at them in their patrol car. Moore was killed, and Rogers was blinded in one eye. White supremacist Ernest Ray McElveen was arrested in the killing, but never prosecuted. Moore is one of 40 martyrs listed on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama
June 3, 1833: Minstrel show creator Thomas Dartmouth “Daddy” Rice introduced the song, “Jump Jim Crow.” Decades later, the term “Jim Crow” came to describe racial discrimination against African Americans.
June 3, 2008: Barack Obama received enough delegates to be the presumptive presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the U.S.
June 4, 1899: The Afro-American Council declared a national day of fasting to protest lynching and violence against African Americans.
June 4, 1956: A federal judge in Montgomery, Alabama, ruled racial segregation on the city buses unconstitutional, and the U.S. Supreme Court later agreed.
June 5, 1905: African Americans in Nashville, Tennessee, responded to Jim Crow laws separating black and white passengers on streetcars by initiating a highly successful boycott. Protesters operated their own streetcars for two years.
June 5, 1950: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in three civil rights cases. In McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, justices decided the university could not impose segregated seating on a black graduate student. In Sweatt v. Painter, the court ruled that a separate-but-equal Texas law school was actually unequal. In Henderson v. United States, the Supreme Court abolished segregated seating in railroad dining cars. After these rulings, NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall decided to take on Plessy v. Ferguson by litigating against segregation in public schools.
June 5, 1964: The beach cottage in St. Augustine, Florida, where Martin Luther King Jr. was supposed to stay was riddled with bullets. He was in town meeting with other civil rights leaders.
June 5, 1968: U.S. Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated, moments after winning the California primary for the Democratic nomination for President.
June 6, 1966: James Meredith was shot a day after he began his one-man 220-mile “walk against fear” from Memphis, Tenn., to Jackson, Mississippi. Meredith survived, and the sniper was arrested. Civil rights organizations rallied to finish the march leading to Jackson and were joined at the end by Meredith, who had recuperated.
The Story of James Meredith
James Meredith was an African-American writer, political advisor, Air Force veteran and civil rights activist. He was the first African-American person to attend the racially segregated University of Mississippi. This became a significant event in the civil rights movement. Inspired by John F. Kennedy’s speech to exercise one’s constitutional rights, Meredith applied to the University of Mississippi. His aim was to put pressure on the Kennedy administration to enforce civil rights for African-Americans.
Born in 1933 in Mississippi, James Meredith was of African-American, Scottish, Choctaw and British Canadian descent. After graduating from high school in 1951, he applied for the United States Air Force where he served till 1960. Later, he attended Jackson State university.
In 1965, Meredith studied political science at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria, after which he studied law at Columbia University. He had won a scholarship there and went on to earn his degree in 1968.
In 1966, He organized the solo March Against Fear from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, a total of 220 miles. He aimed to highlight the existing racial oppression in the Mississippi Delta as well as encourage African-Americans to exercise their voting rights. Governor Paul Johnson provided State Highway Police protection for the marchers.
On June 6, he was shot by a sniper bullet and other civil rights leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr continued the march in his stead.