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Unknown Photographer

James H. Meredith, first black man to enter and graduate from University of Mississippi, holds a news conference in Washington, August 6, 1963
Vintage wire photograph on paper
6 5/16 x 7 in. (16.03 x 17.78 cm)

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Gift of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg in honor of Myrlie Evers-Williams
Accession Number: P2021.9.54

James H. Meredith, first black man to enter and graduate from University of Mississippi, holds a news conference in Washington August 6. He said he has established residence in Washington and will devote most of his time to the James Meredith Educational Fund designed to help youths prepare themselves for college. He said he will receive no salary, but sidestepped a question about the origin of any income by saying "I've always gotten along before."

James Howard Meredith (born June 25, 1933) is a trailblazer in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1962, he became the first African-American 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. He rejoined the march and when Meredith 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.

Donated to the Benton Museum of Art at Pomona College by Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg on June 2, 2021.

On recto: typewritten title and date.

On verso: United Press International stamp and date stamp.

Sheet: 6 3/4 x 8 5/16

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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  • Image Dimensions: 6 5/16 x 7 in. (16.03 x 17.78 cm)

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