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J. N. Pitts

James H. Meredith (right), who wants to enroll at all-white University of Mississippi, is at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans with Tom Dent (left) of the NAACP, September 25, 1962
Vintage ferrotyped gelatin silver print on paper
7 11/16 x 9 5/8 in. (19.53 x 24.45 cm)

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg in honor of Myrlie Evers-Williams.
Accession Number: P2021.13.1456

James H. Meredith (right), who wants to enroll at all-white University of Mississippi, is at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans with Tom Dent (left) of the NAACP. They are here to hear the court issue a new restraining order against Governor Ross Barnett of Mississippi.

James Howard Meredith (born June 25, 1933) is a trailblazer in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1962, he became the first black student admitted to the University of Mississippi, following an intense legal battle in the federal courts. In 1966, Meredith planned a solo 220-mile March Against Fear from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi to highlight continuing racism in the South and encourage voter registration after passage of the Voting Rights Act. The second day, he was shot by a white gunman and suffered numerous wounds. Leaders of major organizations vowed to complete the march in his name after he was taken to the hospital. During his recovery, more people from across the country became involved as marchers. Meredith rejoined the march. When he and other leaders entered Jackson on June 26, they were leading an estimated 15,000 marchers in what was the largest Civil Rights march in Mississippi.

Tom Covington Dent (c. 1932-1998) was a civil-rights campaigner who went on to become a writer of prose and poetry. Dent worked a New York-based public-information worker for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the early 1960s. That job took him to places that figured prominently in the civil-rights movement. He played a part in James Meredith's entering the University of Mississippi in Oxford as its first black student. From 1966 to 1970, he was an executive of the Free Southern Theater, a troupe of actors that brought quality drama with racial themes to economically depressed places in the South. Dent returned to New Orleans, where he became one of the city's leading literary figures. His writings included two volumes of poetry, Magnolia Street (1976) and Blue Lights and River Songs: Poems (1982). He spent the early 1990s writing poetry and essays and working on a book, Southern Journey: My Return to the Civil Rights Movement. The book, which was published in 1996, is an account of a trip that he took in 1991 to communities that had been in the news during the Civil Rights Movement's tumultuous years. For several years, until 1990, he was the executive director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation. He also taught at Southern colleges and universities.

On verso: artist's credit stamp, manuscript title, date stamp and newspaper stamp.

Ferrotyped prints have a sensitive surface, usually shiny and thinner, because they are put through a press while still wet. Ferrotyping makes the surface of the photograph smoother. Light does not scatter as much on a smoother surface, so this increases contrast. That makes ferrotyped images better for press photography.

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  • Image Dimensions: 7 11/16 x 9 5/8 in. (19.53 x 24.45 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 8 1/16 x 10 in. (20.48 x 25.4 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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