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March Against Fear

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March Against Fear

When they learned of Meredith's shooting, other Civil Rights leaders, including SCLC's Martin Luther King, SNCC's Stokely Carmichael, and Floyd McKissick, of CORE decided to continue the march in Meredith's name. And ordinary people, both black and white, came from across the South and all parts of the country to participate. A new and more militant spirit infused the March driven by growing African American recognition that when push came to shove they could no longer depend on the support of white liberals; to move forward, they must organize and push for social change on their own. The new slogan, "Black Power" came to symbolize this growing awareness and was expressed publicly for the first time during the March, along with displays of the black panther, the political logo of the Lowndes County Freedom Organization.

Photographers Matt Herron and Maria Varela joined the March a bit north of Canton, just as Meredith, himself was rejoining the March. Their photographs follow the March from that point until its culmination at a rally before the State Capitol Building in Jackson. A major confrontation occurred on the evening of on June 23 as marchers attempted to erect tents on the grounds of a black elementary school in Canton, and were attacked and tear gassed by Mississippi State Police.

The Meredith March was the last of the major civil rights marches. Through meetings and rallies along the march route, 4,077 new voters were registered, and black communities everywhere began to push more aggressively to topple the institutions of segregation.


 


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