MEMPHIS, Tenn. (localmemphis.com) – The Shelby County Office Building in downtown Memphis has a new name. 157 Poplar Avenue now bears the name of civil rights icon James Meredith. A dedication ceremony was held outside the building where a new sign was unveiled Monday afternoon.
The Memphis building houses offices of the Shelby County election commission, and Memphis is where Meredith began his “March Against Fear” to Jackson, Mississippi, in 1966 to encourage African Americans to register.
“This is –my opinion– the most important occasion and day in my life. Most people don’t know it, but all of my fight against Mississippi started in Memphis, Tennessee. Everything that happened before going to Ole Miss started at Millington Air Force Base, Tennessee,” Meredith said.
Meredith was also known for integrating the University of Mississippi. He’s being called a hero for helping African Americans gain rightful access to the education and election systems.