50TH Anniversary Of The March Against Fear Observed

The National Civil Rights Museum is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March Against Fear on Saturday, June 11, at 12:00pm with a symbolic march concluding with a Rally Against Fear in the museum’s courtyard. Civil rights activist James Meredith, the first African American to integrate Ole Miss and the initiator of the March Against Fear in June 1966, will join the rally.
James Meredith began the Meredith Mississippi March Against Fear on June 5, 1966 as a lone protestor, leaving the Peabody Hotel for Jackson, MS. Meredith’s motive was to draw attention to the fact that after two major civil rights bills were passed, blacks were still disenfranchised and treated as second-class citizens in Mississippi. On the second day of his march, Meredith was shot and wounded 12 miles south of Memphis in Hernando, MS. Civil rights leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Floyd McKissick and Stokely Carmichael, continued the march on his behalf.  Meredith rejoined the march 19 days later after recovering from his assault.  The violence against Meredith, combined with the support of prominent civil rights leaders and organizations, garnered national attention for the March by the time it ended on June 26 with a rally of 15,000 people and an estimated 3,000 new black registered voters.
Recalling the significance of the 2016 March in Memphis, Meredith said, “Of course, the most important participant in the Meredith March Against Fear was Dr. King. We’ll walk from the Peabody to the Lorraine, where Dr. King was killed.” Encouraging the next generation, he said, “We have to create a new focus on good and right.”
The Rally Against Fear is parallel to the stand Meredith took in 1966.  It will highlight the power of the vote and the difference one person can make, but collectively, together, change is made. The Museum will host a voter registration drive during the rally to encourage registration to be eligible to vote in the November 8 presidential election.
The Rally also focuses on the violence occurring in epidemic proportions in communities across the country. Fifty years after the March Against Fear, citizens still live in fear of systemic and institutional racism, unjust incarceration, immigrant deportation, homophobia, xenophobia, high unemployment, lack of jobs with fair wages, poor housing and disparities in education.  The event is a moratorium against neglect, apathy and complacency and a call for fair representation, vigilance and an engaged citizenry. The Museum is inviting civic and grassroots organizations and like-minded individuals to participate in the one-mile march to symbolize a united front against violence, phobias and social injustices happening in communities across the nation.
The keynote speaker is Rev. Earle J. Fisher, adjunct instructor of contemporary theology at Rhodes College and senior pastor of Abyssinian Missionary Baptist Church.  The Rally will also feature entertainment, reflections from participants in the 1966 march and community resources, with a call for a manifesto for change.
For more information about the Rally Against Fear, visit http://civilrightsmuseum.org/event/rally-against-fear/.

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