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Remembering the Meredith March (1966)

Ray Goldstein sent this account of his participation in the Meredith March after seeing the photos on this website.

Friday June 10, 1966

I had a job in 1966, in Chicago at an engineering firm on the far North Side, part of my college cooperative education program. My roommate, Doug Kline, was a Quaker peace activist and that summer he had a position with the American Friends Service Committee in support of Dr. King’s movement in Chicago.
Friday June 10, 1966 Doug comes home from work Friday evening and announces that “we” are going to Mississippi to take up the cause at the spot on Highway 51 where James Meredith was shot. I decide to join him for the symbolic ride southbound and to get some real field use out of the battery-operated Uher tape recorder I was using for portable music. Those were the days before the invention of the cassette tape machines and Walkmans we now take for granted.
I bought an extralong reel of blank recording tape and a couple of sets of batteries for the trip and we set out for Memphis, Tennessee. It was an all-night drive of about 500 miles. At daybreak we arrived at a church in Memphis, a staging area for us marchers. After some breakfast we hooked-up with the group for the ride down to the march-head which was another 60 or 70 miles south, in Panola County, Mississippi.
We were “guarded” during our march down Highway 51 by the Mississippi Highway Patrol, but were truly shepherded by local blacks who cruised the line of marchers with pistols on the front seats of their Oldsmobiles and Chevrolets. Saturday night the powers-that-be somehow beneficially arranged a tidy tent-city and campground for us at the foot of Lake Enid in Yalobusha County.

Sunday June 12, 1966

The marchers, which at this point must have grown to a couple of hundred souls, convened for a Sunday gathering under the big tent and we were addressed there by Dr. King, Andrew Young and then Fannie Lou Hamer lead us in several inspirational Freedom Songs with the dynamic energy only Fannie Lou Hamer could muster.

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