Letter from James Meredith to the U.S. Justice Department
Feburary 7, 1961
  1. What does James Meredith give as his main reasons for applying to the University of Mississippi?
  2. What obstacles does Meredith face in seeking admission to the University of Mississippi?
  3. Meredith writes in his letter that, "It grieves me deeply to realize that an individual, especially an American, the citizen of a free democratic nation, has to clamor with such procedures in order to try to gain just a small amount of his civil and human rights." How do you reconcile this statement with the fact that Meredith wrote an award winning essay entitled, "Why I am Proud to be an American"?

Questions for further discussion:

  1. Why does Meredith request the assistance of the Federal Government? Do you agree that it is necessary in this case? Explain why or why not.
  2. Describe Meredith's character. Justify your answer with examples from his letter.