James Meredith, Clarksdale and the Kingdom of God

Sarah Crisler-Ruskey, Mayor Bill Luckett and James Meredith listen to Coahoma Community College Choir

Sarah Crisler-Ruskey, Mayor Bill Luckett and James Meredith listen to Coahoma Community College Choir

By Poor William

(Clarksdale, Mississippi) VIDEO IN POST

“Mississippi is the most beautiful country in the world!” — James Meredith, one of the most prominent figures in the Civil Rights Movement, who considers Mississippi to be the “center of the universe.”

During a recent speech in Clarksdale, James Meredith said MISSISSIPPI is the most powerful word in the English language and he feels called to deliver a message from God.

His message? Only the family of God can solve today’s problems by training up children in the way they should go. He believes it does take a village to raise a child, but inherent in his belief is an understanding that the village must be God-centered.

James Meredith addresses crowd in Clarksdale at the Cutrer Mansion.

James Meredith addresses crowd in Clarksdale at the Cutrer Mansion.

He iterated, “This race thing has been going on long enough; forget all this foolishness, it’s time to start training our children in the way they should go…Mississippi is the center of the black/white issue…those who benefit from it have left the kingdom of God out of the equation.”

“I promised God I wasn’t going to lie anymore!”  This opening statement on the grounds of the Coahoma County Higher Education Building, formerly known as the Cutrer Mansion, by the Civil Rights icon is seemingly a fine predicate for the subject’s life sentence.

Meredith said he does not consider himself to be a civil rights activist, nor a hero, but a warrior on a mission from God! White supremacists couldn’t put him in a box back in the 60’s and he is not going to let blacks folks, national black leaders, nor white folks do it in the 21st Century.

He ain’ scared, he doesn’t apologize for his individualism, and the steely-eyed iconoclast didn’t have a problem over five decades ago challenging white supremacists to recognize the equality inherent in their black brothers and sisters.

Clarksdale newcomer author Eric Stone meets Mayor Luckett with Roger Stolle.

Clarksdale newcomer author Eric Stone meets Mayor Luckett with Roger Stolle.

The veteran survivor of the struggle to end the South’s form of apartheid is now unafraid to challenge black churches, black leaders, and grown folks of all races to accept the God-given mandate to raise our children well by embracing the message and life of Jesus Christ and by focusing on public education!

God bless his spunk, his honesty, and his belief that a Judeo-Christian worldview centered on the preaching and precepts of Jesus Christ will make a substantial difference in how we relate to one another. He sees Him and His message of love as the centrality of hope for America, her children, and all mankind.

Meredith freely admits that he struggles with an enormous ego. How refreshing to hear public figures speak truth about themselves. It gives him and his message credibility seldom found in the ranks of prominent national personalities.

It was not many months ago that he joined Caroline Kennedy on the same patch of Cutrer ground as she promoted her book “Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy”.

A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America, Meredith’s new book, was not his choice for a title, but it does reflect his thoughts and beliefs as expressed at the well-attended talk. He told the mixed-racial crowd that he considers his new book—he has written 27—to be the most significant one he has penned.

Roger Stolle, Heather Williams, Troy Catchings

Roger Stolle, Heather Williams, Troy Catchings

Meredith said he thought he was the “baddest” thing God ever put on this Earth and he thought he could slap a mob down, having no fear when he made his matriculation walk at Ole Miss, amidst vile, hateful taunts, death threats and the hurling of objects.

“I thought I could trick everybody into thinking I could do it without God,” he said. “I’ve been dealing with Mississippi for 50 years and for 50 years I thought I was so smart and could fool everybody.”

Acknowledging Sam Cooke’s, “It’s Been a Long Time Coming,” Meredith said he promised God that he would accept his call to prophecy, which helped him understand his past ations, like fearlessly standing up to white supremacists, which he now recognizes was impossible without God’s help and unction.

The man who was the catalyst for two of the most seminal events of the Civil Rights Movement: the desegregation of Ole Miss in 1962 and the 1966 March Against Fear—where he was shot by a sniper—which empowered the voter registration movement in the Deep South, now challenges Americans to address what he sees as the most critical issue today, educating and lifting up the millions of blacks and whites locked in poverty by improving public education.

Meredith addressing Clarksdale crowd about his book "A Mission From God"

Meredith addressing Clarksdale crowd about his book “A Mission From God”

I challenge every American citizen to commit right now to help children in the public schools in their community, especially those schools with disadvantaged students,” Meredith wrote. He continued in reference to the above quote, “I am convinced in my heart and soul that those twenty-five words, that one sentence, if acted upon by you and me and our fellow citizens, will create a revolution of love in our country that will transform our nation, uplift our children, and help America lead the world.”

In his book and during his Cutrer speech, Meredith challenged the black church to fulfill its mission and black Christians to fulfill the teachings of Jesus Christ. He said there are not a 100 blacks living in Mississippi who do not live within walking distance of a black church, and if each congregation accepted a responsibility to try and reach the children within two miles of the church that he believes neighborhoods would see dramatic improvement.

We must ask the question, “What will happen to this child if I don’t do my job?” Meredith said. “To solve the problems of youth the elders must do their jobs.”

Christopher Coleman and Bubba O'Keefe at James Meredith event in Clarksdale.

Christopher Coleman and Bubba O’Keefe at James Meredith event in Clarksdale.

Meredith visited 56 different black churches between June 2011 and July 2012 and he said he saw only two white folks. Also, he did not see a single white face in the Coahoma Community College choir, who beautifully opened the event with song.  His point? We as blacks and whites must start to fellowship and co-labor toward the same goal: raising our children well.

The apotheosis of Meredith’s Cutrer talk was evidenced when he looked at Clarksdale’s recently elected mayor and said, “Government is not the answer; sorry Mr. Mayor. What is the answer? The Christian people in Mississippi!”

From the outdoor podium, Meredith told Mayor Bill Luckett that he was glad he lost his bid to be governor of Mississippi, because he believed he could be more useful as mayor.

In his closing remarks, Meredith said, “I believe Clarksdale, Mississippi is going to deal with reality!”

And God’s people said, “AMEN!” pw

Magical Madge and Mayor Luckett's Assistant Heather Williams

Magical Madge and Mayor Luckett’s Assistant Heather Williams

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