Thursday, March 4, 2010
Meredith gives views on education
By SOLOMON BARNES
James Meredith, a Civil Rights leader from Kosciusko and the first African American student to attend the University Of Mississippi, wants the state of Mississippi to reconsider the busing of children to school.
That was one of the earlier mistakes the state made, Meredith said during a keynote address at the fourth annual Marshall County Black History Coalition Awards Banquet held in Byhalia.
Meredith expressed his views on education in Marshall County.
“After the Civil War, of all the places in the United States for many years, the best place for blacks to get an education was in Marshall County,” he said.
One major poor decision the state made, he said, was when it started to bus students to school.
“Right now we don’t know one another,” Meredith said. “We don’t trust one another. We are scared of one another. If children walked to schools that are close enough to walk, every parent would know every other parent and they would know where the potential problems were and we could stop it in the community.”
Meredith said if children who live within a mile of their school walk everyday, it would “cure” over half of the physical ailments that are wrong with them.
Back in the day, “I walked four and a half miles to and from school each day for 11 years and I have never had an ounce of fat on me,” he said.
Meredith wants adults, parents and community leaders to get more involved in the school and education of the youth in the community.
“What is wrong with our senior citizens?” he asked. “They are not on their jobs.”
He said he went to a school last Monday to get an application to join the PTA, not because he is a parent, but because every responsible adult should be involved in the education of his or her community.
Meredith speaks on education because of the efforts made by his father, a man who he said never saw the third grade. According to Meredith, his father did not have an education; however, he gave up 40 acres of land, two of his best mules and two of his best milking cows for a mortgage of $320 to build a one-room school for children to be able to attend school, from first grade to eighth grade.
He concluded his presentation with the charge that every senior citizen should direct and supervise the education of the community.
Contributing Writer Solomon Barnes is a print journalism major at Rust College and staff writer for the campus newspaper, The Rustorian.
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