James Meredith reportedly doesn't like the statue the University of Mississippi has put up on campus to honor his role in integrating the school in 1962. In part, it's said he wants to recognize all the people who made strides for civil rights in America.
The lessons we learn every day of our pilgrimage is that there are many more steps to be taken.
Aida Solomon has come to this campus to work for The Winter Institute For Racial Reconciliation. The UW Senior is working is talking with young people around the state about their history and their racial biases. She hopes confronting those issues in Mississippi will give her tools to push racial progress in the Northwest.
A visitor can still see the bullet holes that struck the Lyceum on the night of September 30th, 1962 when federal marshals and national guard troops clashed with the mob of segregationists. Two people were killed. Scores were wounded. People across the world saw the bloody fight being waged in support of hate and privilege. The Meredith statue and other historical signs mark the end of more than 100 years of segregation. But many scholars say the accomplishments should not defer the work that needs to be done to confront ongoing racism or its 400 year legacy. That legacy and its hold today is evident. The campus is still dotted with memorials to confederate officers. The confederate battle flag, still a part of Mississippi's official state flag, flutters above the campus walkways. Buildings are named for slave-owners, Critics say students need to be exposed to their whole history.
James Meredith's statue shows him stepping though the portal of higher education. As Aida Solomon knows, it is just one of many steps still being taken on campuses across the nation.