Civil Rights Icon James Meredith to Speak at Coahoma April 25

Coahoma Community College President Dr. Valmadge T. Towner has announced that civil rights activist and icon James Meredith will speak at CCC Thursday, April 25, 2019, in the Pinnacle at 10:00 a.m.

Civil Rights Icon James Meredith to Speak at Coahoma April 25

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4061 - Marriel Hardy

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Thu Apr 11, 2019

Coahoma Community College President Dr. Valmadge T. Towner has announced that civil rights activist and icon James Meredith will speak at CCC Thursday, April 25, 2019, in the Pinnacle at 10:00 a.m.

James Meredith, a Kosciusko, Miss native, gained national attention at a key point in the civil rights movement in 1962, when he became the first African American student at the University of Mississippi. Initially, State officials refused a U.S. Supreme Court order to integrate the school, blocked Meredith’s entrance to the institution, but following large campus riots that left two people dead, Meredith was admitted to the university under the protection of federal marshals.

President Towner is elated that Meredith will be visiting the Coahoma campus and sees opportunities like this as valued occasions to inspire and educate CCC students and the community at large.

“Attending CCC should have life-long values for our students. Experiences and exposures varying in nature should spur student curiosity, interest and success. We are deliberate about sponsoring and facilitating worthwhile venues to our students,” said Towner. “Mr. Meredith is a living icon of unselfishness, courage, intellectuality, faith and unprecedented vision. He challenged the process and system of the day in a legal and productive way. He is still fighting for equality, equity and opportunity for all.”

Meredith served in the U.S. Air Force (1951–60) before attending an all-black school, Jackson State College (1960–62). His repeated applications to the University of Mississippi were denied solely on the basis of his race, according to the verdict of his 1961–62 court battle, which was won on appeal with the legal assistance of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In the fall of 1962, as mob violence seemed imminent, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy called in federal protection so that Meredith could register for classes. Meredith’s tenure at Mississippi was brief; he graduated in 1963 and wrote a memoir about the experience, called Three Years in Mississippi (1966).

Like Meredith, Towner believes in an individual’s ability to think outwardly and make positive, bold and defining life-choices. The CCC leader wants others to take this belief and stance.

“We all should have an awareness and desire to follow our dreams, stand up for our beliefs and challenge processes that are unfair. We should receive encouragement to never accept the status quo as the norm. We should use our gifts and talents to make our communities a better place for all and not just seek to advance ourselves,” stated Towner.

The event is part of Coahoma Community College’s 70th-year-anniversary celebration and is free and open to the public. The institution is actively planning a variety of engaging, educational and entertaining events to honor the institution’s well-over half-century existence.