from "OLE MISS" to Jesse Helms
Reflecting on his actions and motivation at the University of Mississippi, Meredith recounts: "I never considered myself a student. I was a soldier and a politician, at best. In fact, it would have been a total insult to me, to have considered myself a student. My goal was to break the system of white supremacy, and to set the groundwork for making me and my kind full first-class citizens in the United States...
You see, everybody talk about the way I looked. Now, I look that way on purpose, deliberately, because when I went to the University of Mississippi, I'd already read all of the great books of the western world. I knew every technique used in Greece and Rome, to acquire power. And the way I looked at the University of Mississippi was the same way that Machiavelli described how the Pope looked, the last time the Catholic armies conquered Rome. The Pope had his army stopped at the edge of the city, and he walked alone into the center of Rome, and I knew the power of a lack of fear whenever everybody else is supposed to be afraid. I knew that would scare the life out of everybody that saw that, and I know it's true, because the lieutenant governor, and all of the state troopers, were shaking like leaves on a tree. And I know it was because of the way I conducted myself, and it was deliberate. I guess I ain't never really said this before. You understand, there were no accidents in my life."
In the years since his attendance at Ole Miss, Meredith campaigned for former Mississippi Governor, Ross Barnett -- the same governor who had tried to stop him from enrolling at the state's top university. Meredith credits Barnett when he notes that no blacks were hurt during the standoff.
Later, Meredith worked for ultra-conservative former Senator Jesse Helms and endorsed former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke's campaign for governor in Louisiana -- activities he now explains with a "know your enemy" argument. Meredith himself tried in 1967 to unseat New York Representative Adam Clayton Powell, one of the country's most prominent black politicians at the time.
Meredith has also decried the civil rights movement's theory of nonviolent activism, calling it "the most un-American thing in the world ... and the worst thing that's ever been presented to my people."
He has said that government welfare efforts have done more harm to black families than slavery did. He has criticized blacks and other minorities for not using what he calls proper English.
He doesn't even like to be called a civil rights activist, considering the movement a concept of Northeastern white liberals aiming mostly to enhance their own status.
In self-assessment Meredith says, "I was always out of line. But I was deliberately out of line."
AND NOW YOUR FATE: Given your social and political persuasion and considering the path your civil rights activism has taken, how do you respond to the comments, decisions and motivation of Mr. Meredith? When he comes as a guest speaker to Jackson College you attend the presentation. What do you say to and ask of Mr. Meredith when called upon by the moderator to offer a comment or question? Why?