BSU unveils historical markers as tribute to James Meredith

Posted on Oct 3 2012 - 11:32am by Lacey Russell

On the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s admission to The University of Mis- sissippi, the Black Student Union paid tribute to Mere- dith by unveiling dedication markers. Donald Cole, assistant provost and assistant to the chancellor for minority af- fairs, reflected on the strug- gles Meredith faced as the only black student at the uni- versity. “The precedent that he set is the fact that he persisted to graduation,” Cole said. “He got his degree from The Uni- versity of Mississippi and this is part of his legacy to you: to be courageous enough to withstand the pressures of life, pressures of the academ- ics of this institution and per- sist to graduation.” The highlight of the tribute came with the presentation of the three markers for loca- tions Meredith visiting dur- ing his first day on campus in 1962. “The project had two goals: to make a contribu- tion to an interactive tour of the campus and to send a message that Mr. Meredith’s first day at Ole Miss lay the foundation for the future of higher increased learning,” Kimbrely Dandridge, Asso- ciated Student Body presi- dent, said. The first marker we be placed at Baxter Hall, where Meredith stayed during his time at Ole Miss. The second marker will go at Bondurant Hall, where he took French and history classes. The final marker will be placed at Pea- body Hall, where he went to enroll in a mathematics course on his first day. Each marker will be placed out- side its respective building. BSU President Lauren Wright said the program provided her with an op- portunity to reflect upon and acknowledge how far the university has come since 1962. Wright said the markers serve as an important re- minder for society to con- tinue to participate in open discussions about diversity. “(The markers) represent what happens in a society when differences are not tolerated or understood,” Wright said. “They dem- onstrate how the courage, leadership and resilience of one individual can spark a change for the greater good.” The markers will serve as a tribute from the BSU to acknowledge Meredith’s contribution to Ole Miss. “I thought it was very mov- ing,” graduate student Rosie Nelson said. “I thought it was great to hear so many student leaders speak and see how broad the impact was of James Meredith be- ing at the university.”