THREE YEARS IN MISSISSIPPI by James Meredith

THREE YEARS IN MISSISSIPPI

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

I am a soldier at heart,"" says James Meredith early on in his book about his assault on the University of Mississippi. He returned to his native state after ten years away (nine as a clerk in the Army) in August, 1960. He was a man with a mission, a ""Divine Responsibility"" to break the ""White Supremacy"" system. To that end he set about in calm and orderly fashion to break down the barriers of his state university. His simple act of application for admission set off a series of court trials, drew in the authorities on the state and ultimately the federal level. Constance Baker Mosley was his lawyer, Ross Barnett his most high ranking antagonist, John Fitzgerald Kennedy his most highly placed supporter. Meredith reviews the history of the proceedings during the two years he sought admission and the one he lived as a student of Ole Miss--the letters, testimony and winning of his case, the attempts to attend and victory. He says less about his educational year, and it is always apparent (as against an earlier Statement on his part) that his cause was not education (his future was already assured, his credits earned at Jackson State College). In the end, he had attained two of his highschool goals: ""to be a man, run for governor of the state of Mississippi, and get a degree from the University of Mississippi..."" James Meredith's anger, determination, pride and courage all are evident in a first person testimony that demands justice rather than sympathy.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1966
Publisher: Indiana Univ. Press