The gravel road, oh the gravel road! In the stinging sun, my skin burned red like a stop sign, but I kept trucking through. The rocks we stepped on were mountains on the soles of my feet. Twenty one miles to Oxford, Mississippi and it ripped much out of me physically and mentally.
Next to the highway, I travel next to three friends but can not help to feel alone. Where is our movement at? Why is it where it is at? These are the questions I asked myself. If our communities in Memphis, Mississippi, the Texas crew, and a few others are helping and creating so much growth with few resources then imagine how much we as a movement could do with other organizations and people who have many more resources at hand? If we actually want to create a change only unity among us all can get us there, but I cannot help but remember the following saying I saw somewhere: May the Bridges I burn light the way for others! I cannot help to feel desperate and sad that those that I believed to back me up are doing so when the Walk Against Fear brings about the truth, what we all want to scream. We all wish to shout, “Because of the Racism that lies here in the United States I have had no chance at life! I am demanding my rights, now, and taking them as I speak!”
I do want to express that to take our rights as human beings it is not enough to give the Walkers a shout out on facebook and then go to “El Dia del Nino” event or go to dance right after. We need your help in other ways. We are not going on a stroll across the park; we are walking two hundred and fifty miles for our community to awaken and rise up. Please do not wait until one of the Walkers is shot or has a heat stroke to get involved. The racism is creaping and by the end of this sentence it is knocking at your door.
Con mucho Amor,
Walk Against Fear 2012
These guys arrived on campus last night. Let me just point out that “on campus” means the University of Mississippi. These amazing young people were recreating the march by James Meredith that helped desegregate today’s South. I met then and fewer than two dozen supporters at the James Meredith monument on campus. Let me underscore that the person they are memorializing with their march is the first African-American to attend the University of Mississippi.
After a brief conversation with a few people, the small group walked over to the front of the Lyceum. In 1962, after winning his argument in court, Meredith arrived at the University of Mississippi. He was escorted by 127 US Marshals who protected him. In front of the Lyceum, an armed confrontation erupted, leading to two deaths, including a French journalist covering the event. I used to teach this history in my LIBA 102 class, using this online museum exhibit about James Meredith integrating Ole Miss. We stood in front of the Lyceum, looked at the remaining bullet holes from that confrontation, and moved on.
As you read the post by Patricio above, notice the hint of sadness. These young, idealistic people are walking from Memphis to Jackson. They went out of their way to stop by the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss). They told me they were averaging about 30 miles per day. So coming here from the otherwise direct route added two additional days of pilgrimage. And less than two dozen people showed up to greet them.
I’ll be honest. I felt embarrassed. I was embarrassed for what it looked like. No media coverage, not even the school paper (the Daily Mississippian did publish a picture, but no story—and the picture did not make the student newspaper’s website). No university administrators came out to greet them on behalf of the institution. As far as I could tell, I was the only member of the university faculty there.
Sometime this morning, they started walking and are on the way back to Batesville, where they took the detour towards Oxford the day before. I hope they weren’t too disappointed with our campus—the flagship higher learning institution of the state.