Meredith, James

Meredith, James (Howard)

(1933–  ) civil rights activist, business executive; born in Kosciusko, Miss. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he became the first African-American to enroll in the University of Mississippi (1962), but only after he had weathered campus riots (which left two dead) and the resistance of state officials. Federal troops had to protect him on campus until he graduated (1963). He published his autobiographhical Three Years in Mississippi (1966) and not long after was shot while on the March Against Fear in Mississippi. He recovered and completed the march, but soon thereafter dropped out of the civil rights movement. He worked as a stockbroker, in real estate, and as an investor (1967) while attending Columbia University Law School (1968). He became president of Meredith Enterprises (1968), lectured on racial problems, and was an unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives (1972). Always a somewhat diffident loner, he never seemed interested in assuming the roles that were thrust upon him.