SAVE THE DATES
50th Commemoration of
the March Against Fear and the Call for Black Power
JUNE 6 – 25, 2016
On Sunday, June 5th, 1966, civil rights activist James Meredith began a 220-mile march against fear from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi. Meredith, having integrated the University of Mississippi four years earlier, planned the march to challenge the culture of fear, and to encourage more than four hundred thousand African Americans in Mississippi to register to vote considering the Voting Rights Act passed only a year earlier. On Monday, June 6, the second day of his self-described "walk against fear”, Meredith was shot by Aubrey Norvell with a 16 gauge automatic shotgun three times.
While Meredith was unable to complete his march, other civil rights leaders continued in tribute to Meredith. With their arms linked, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, and Stokely Carmichael and others resumed the march where Meredith left off on Highway 51 in Hernando, Mississippi.
For the next 20 days after the shooting of James Meredith, the continuation of the march prompted a series of climatic events that generated an international conversation. This included the call for “Black Power” in Greenwood, Mississippi, by Willie Ricks, Jr. and Stokely Carmichael, which changed the course of American History.
The Fannie Lou Hamer institute @ COFO is planning to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Meredith March Against Fear and its role in the civil rights movement and the memorable call for Black Power. Through a series of conversations, intergenerational dialogue, and presentations, the purpose of this commemoration is to recognize the bravery and accomplishments of those men and women who were part of the journey in spite of jeopardizing their lives and jobs.
To create continuity of programming, events will be held on the exact dates and localities which took place along the route of the original march 50 years ago including: Hernando, Sunflower County, Greenwood, Canton, and Tougaloo.
Organizing Partners include:
The Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement
The City of Canton
The City of Greenwood
Schedule of Events:
Challenging the Racial Hierarchy, Then and Now
Monday, June 6, 2016
Hernando Public Library – First Regional Library;
370 West Commerce, Hernando, MS 38632
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
On this date, fifty years ago, James Meredith attempted a 220-mile walk to challenge the culture of fear and racial tension the laws of Jim Crow brought about in Mississippi. Practices like literacy tests for voters, poll taxes, and laws designed to prevent blacks from serving on juries were commonplace in the south. This journey was also meant to encourage African Americans to exercise their rights and challenge Jim Crow. In 1966, this journey was a way to illustrate that we had come to a point in which Blacks could freely, without trepidation, participate in public and fully exercise their civil rights. Fifty years later, why do we still see arguments about racial inferiority? How do we explain institutionalized racial violence?
Special guests include:
Dr. Leslie Burl McLemore, Veteran of the Civil Rights Movement
Dr. Marco Robinson, Assistant Professor of History, Rust College
Mr. Michael J. Smith, Principal, Hope Academy
Desota County NAACP Youth Council
Mrs. Peggy Dobbins, District Public Conservator for Shelby, Lauderdale, Fayette, and Tipton Counties in Tennessee
The Origins of Black Power and the Mississippi Movement
(Summer Youth Workshop)
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO, 1017 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, MS 39217
10:45 am – 12:15 pm
The rallying cry for the Black Power movement took place in the context of the Mississippi southern civil rights struggle of the mid 1960s. James Meredith set out to march from the Mississippi-Tennessee state line to Jackson, Mississippi. He wanted to demonstrate, in 1966, that Mississippi was a changed state, and that it was safe for a Black man to walk the highways and byways of his native state without being harassed or killed. On the next day, Mr. Meredith was shot outside of Hernando, Mississippi, in DeSoto County. This self proclaimed “walk against fear” lead to the development of “Black Power” in Mississippi. This session will not only introduce participants to a mantra that helped to move the Mississippi freedom struggle forward, but it will be presented by one of the originators, Mukasa Dada aka Mr. Willie Ricks
1966 Grenada Freedom Movement
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Stage Mill Park, Grenada, Mississippi
The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO
The Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations
Features Mukasa Dada (aka Willie Ricks)
Summer Youth Workshop: The Pivotal Role of Young People
The 50th Commemoration of the March Against Fear and the Call for Black Power
The rallying cry for the Black Power movement took place in the context of the Mississippi southern civil rights struggle of the mid 1960s. James Meredith set out to march from the Mississippi-Tennessee state line to Jackson, Mississippi. Meredith wanted to demonstrate, in 1966, that Mississippi was a changed state, and that it was safe for a Black man to walk the highways and byways of his native state without being harassed or killed. On the next day, Mr. Meredith was shot outside of Hernando, Mississippi, in DeSoto County. This self-proclaimed “walk against fear” contributed to the development of “Black Power” in Mississippi.
During the 2016 Summer Youth Workshop: The Pivotal Role of Young People, not only will participants be introduced to a mantra that helped to move the Mississippi freedom struggle forward, but the mantra will be presented by one of the originators, Mukasa Dada (aka Mr. Willie Ricks). This session will be held on Wednesday, June 15, 2016 at 10:45 am.
Later that evening, Mukasa Dada will join a panel to discuss The Evolution of the March Against Fear and the Black Power Freedom Struggle. This inter-generational dialogue will take place at the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO located at 1017 John R. Lynch Street, Jackson, Mississippi, 39217 at 6:00 pm
The evening event is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC. Refreshments will be served.
For a complete schedule of events including invited guests and contact information for more commemorative events, please visit: www.jsums.edu/HamerInstitute/BlackPower2016 or contact
The 50th Commemoration of the Call for Black Power
Thursday, June 16, 2016
9:00 am – 12:00 noon
Greenwood, Mississippi was instrumental in this movement. On Thursday, June 16, 1966, marchers arrived in Greenwood, Mississippi, and tried to setup camp at Stone Street Negro Elementary School. Stokely Carmichael was arrested for trespassing on public property. He was held for several hours by police before rejoining the marchers at a local park, where they had set up camp and were beginning a night-time rally. Later, Carmichael took the speaker's platform, delivering his renowned "Black Power" speech, arguing that blacks had to build their own political and economic power to attain independence. Participants in the march called out SNCC's "Black Power" slogan as well as SCLC's "Freedom Now” mantra.
Special guests include: Mr. Charles Evers, Civil Rights Veteran; Mr. Alvin Chamblis, Civil Rights Attorney, Mr. Willie Ricks; Representatives from the Voters League and The Leflore County Chapter of the NAACP and other local and national participants.
To highlight the historical significance of this event, the commemoration of The 50th Anniversary of the Call for Black Power will be held in Broad Street Historical Park located at Broad and Avenue M.
June 18, 2016
The Southern Freedom Movement and the March Against Fear
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
Sunflower County, Mississippi
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Fifty years ago, on Tuesday, June 21, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke in Sunflower County where he met a group of Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party members. Dr. King spoke to the group outside of the Sunflower County Courthouse. Later that evening, a mass meeting was held at a local center on Church Street.
The black freedom movement is framed in popular memory as distinguished by nonviolent civil disobedience. Yet in multiple southern towns, black people used armed self-defense to protect their communities and lives. While it is true that this was especially done where the federal government refused to protect people of color from Jim Crow segregationist authority, where cops and Klan often went hand in hand, this aspect of the liberation struggle must also be understood as a movement for popular justice.
Akinyele Umoja’s will discus origins of his book We Will Shoot Back, which takes the reader on a journey that re-introduces us to the Southern Freedom Movement, both in the era of the Modern Civil Rights Movement (1955–1965) and the Black Power Movement (1965–1975) by highlighting “armed resistance” in Mississippi. Charles Mclaurin, Civil Rights Veterans, will lead this discussion with the history of Sunflower County and the role it played in the March Against Fear and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle.
This event will be hosted by:
The Leflore County Chapter of the NAACP
The Commemoration of the March Against Fear and
Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker Unveiling
Thursday, June 23, 2016
9:00 am – Until
On this day, 50 years ago in Canton, Mississippi, Freedom marchers attempted to pitch tents to lodge women and children on the grounds of McNeal Elementary School during the Walk Against Fear. The participants of the march were not given permission to pitch the tents on the grounds, but they proceeded to do so anyway. State troopers fired tear gas from the roof of the school into the crowd, and many were injured by the tear gas cannons. Wielding truncheons and gun butts, the troopers cleared the grounds in fifteen minutes. Unlike the similar charge of troopers in Selma the previous year, the Canton incident provoked little national outrage. Marchers retreated to Ashbury Methodist Church and Holy Child Jesus Gym and many personal homes to recover.
This day is designed to both, pay tribute to the men and women who joined this crusade to overcome fear, pass legislation, achieve racial brotherhood and to Celebrate the call for Black Power in Canton Mississippi on June 23, 1966.
Saturday, June 25, 2016 – Tougaloo College;
Tougaloo College and the March Against Fear: A Safe Haven
On this day, 50 years ago, the marchers stopped at Tougaloo College. Here, they were able to rest and get food and showers. Many more people joined the march at that point; national leaders returned to it from commitments in other parts of the country. The growing crowd was entertained by James Brown, Dick Gregory, and other major musicians and entertainment figures, including actor Marlon Brando, who spoke briefly.
Sunday, June 26, 2016 – Jackson, MS
The Walk for Good and Right
The 2016 Walk for Good and Right, a commemorative event celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1966 Walk Against Fear, will be held on Sunday, June 26, 2016, from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm., in Jackson MS. Prior to the Walk, from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, participants are invited to visit the “Am I or Am I Not a Citizen” exhibit at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, located at 528 Bloom St. in downtown Jackson. The Walk and exhibit recognize the accomplishments of James Meredith to dismantle the system of White Supremacy enforced by the State of Mississippi.
This event is free and open to the public. All are encouraged to attend. The Walk is sponsored by the James Meredith Institute for Citizenship and Responsible Action to support the work of Dr. Meredith to achieve full citizenship for all Americans.
Coordinating partners include: Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, Women for Progress, Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO, and Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.
For more information, to volunteer, or to make a donation call the James Meredith Institute at662.483.0656 or email email@example.com. Dr. Meredith can also be reached directly by telephone at 601.209.0131.
For more information on how you can be a part of this event, please feel free to contact the Hamer Institute @ COFO at 601-979-1563/ email: COFO.Center@jsums.edu