Civil rights activist issues challenge to African Americans - - Jackson, MS

Civil rights activist issues challenge to African Americans

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The first African American to integrate Ole Miss is on a journey to reawaken the black community.

According to James Meredith, the challenge now is not for equality but raising the standards of African Americans.

"We have failed our young people as a people," said Meredith.

James Meredith has pledged to walk the State of Mississippi to remind African Americans of their responsibility to younger generations.

We caught up with the 78 year old Sunday afternoon in Canton on the 50th anniversary of his Walk for Education and Truth. Meredith, who graduated from high school 61 years ago, said he had far greater opportunities then than young blacks in the 21st century.

"Today less than one out of 10 can go to any college in America because their college entrance scores are too low," said the Jackson author.

A problem he believes is caused by families and churches who are not taking an active role in raising and educating children.

This walk is a far cry from his march in 1966 from Memphis to Jackson when he was shot while encouraging blacks to vote.

He is now only joined by his young grand nephew and Georgia Cohran.

While Meredith said equal rights are no longer the issue, he believes education, self respect and cultural advancement among black are lacking.

"All of us keep talking about what somebody else did to us, what somebody else owes us, what somebody else ought to do for us. Our future depends upon what we do," added the Columbia Law School graduate.

The author and civil rights activist began his journey at the Tennessee state line and plans to continue throughout the summer spreading his message until he reaches the Louisiana border.

Meredith continues his "Walk for Education and Truth" Monday on Highway 51 in Madison.

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