Civil rights icon James Meredith, 90, falls at Mississippi event but has no visible injuries

In 1962, James Meredith became the first Black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. White mobs rioted on the Oxford campus as federal marshals protected him.

SHARE Civil rights icon James Meredith, 90, falls at Mississippi event but has no visible injuries
Civil_Rights_James_Meredith_Fall.jpg

Political activist and writer James Meredith sits in the shade as an event staffer holds an ice pack on his head after he fell outside the Mississippi Capitol at an event marking his 90th birthday on Sunday.

Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — Civil rights icon James Meredith fell outside the Mississippi Capitol on Sunday at an event marking his 90th birthday, but he suffered no visible injuries.

Meredith tumbled forward onto an unsecured portable lectern as he stood to speak to about 200 people. Those around him quickly scrambled to stand him up upright and helped him back into the wheelchair he had been using. They also gave him ice packs and cold water as the temperature hovered at about 95 degrees.

Meredith remained at the event until it ended about 45 minutes later. An ambulance crew checked him afterward, and Meredith then left in a sport utility vehicle with friends and family.

Suzi Altman, a documentary photographer who is close to the Meredith family, said hours later that Meredith was doing better and resting at home.

Meredith was already an Air Force veteran in 1962 when he became the first Black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi, after winning a federal court order. White mobs rioted on the Oxford campus as federal marshals protected Meredith.

In 1966, Meredith set out to promote Black voting rights and to prove that a Black man could walk through Mississippi without fear. On the second day of his planned walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, a white man with a shotgun shot and wounded Meredith on a highway.

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and other leaders of the Civil Rights Movement continued Meredith’s march in his absence, and Meredith recovered enough to join them for the final stretch. About 15,000 people rallied outside the Mississippi Capitol on June 26, 1966.

The Latest
Ms. Lurie gave tens of millions of dollars to Northwestern University, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Greater Chicago Food Depository, PAWS Chicago and several other organizations both in the city and beyond, according to a statement from Northwestern.
Chicago’s food scene is “the lifeblood” of “The Bear,” cast member Ebon Moss-Bachrach told reporters during a press conference call with co-stars Jeremy Allen White and Ayo Edebiri on Monday.
Get an inside look at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Chicago with Executive Director of the DNC Committee Alex Hornbrook and Executive Director of the Chicago DNC Host Committee Christy George on June 27.
La antigua estación de bomberos de La Villita abrirá sus puertas como centro de artes de Yollocalli en el verano de 2025.
Los policías respondieron a una llamada de una persona herida de bala en la cuadra 2800 al sur de la avenida Kedzie a eso de las 6:25 p.m. el domingo y encontraron a un hombre de 23 años que les dijo que había intercambiado disparos con otras personas, dijo la policía. Anteriormente, tres personas fueron baleadas en las proximidades, una de ellas mortalmente.