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James Meredith is a civil rights legend who resists neatly defined narratives.
He integrated the University of Mississippi while braving mob violence in 1962 — yet he worked in the late 1980s for archconservative Sen. Jesse Helms, considered a foe by many in the civil rights movement.
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Wounded by shotgun fire while marching for voting rights in 1966, Meredith also shuns the title of “civil rights icon,” as if civil rights are different from other rights.
Now, at 85, Meredith could rest assured of a place in history. But he says he’s on a new mission from God — to confront what he sees as society’s “breakdown of moral character” by encouraging people to live by the Ten Commandments.
People - Way - Christians - Races - Healing
He says black people must lead the way for Christians of all races to have spiritual healing.
“If the black Christians focus on teaching right, doing right, all other Christian religions would follow suit,” Meredith says. “Instead of religion healing the black-white race issue, the race issue is going to heal everything and correct all the rest of our problems.”
Meredith - Remarks - Interview - Associated - Press
Meredith made the remarks during an interview with The Associated Press at a Jackson public library where he’s a frequent patron.
Wearing cool white slacks, a white shirt and a straw hat, Meredith was approached by an African-American woman with three young girls. She thanked him for making Mississippi a better place and introduced him to the children.
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Meredith, a slender man with a white beard, asked her to speak up because he doesn’t hear as well as he used to. The children shyly shook his hand. They posed for a picture, and the youngest girl kissed him on the cheek as she left. Meredith smiled.
“I’ve been in the God business all my life,” Meredith says. “Ole Miss to me was nothing but a mission from God. The Meredith...
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