James Meredith was born on a small farm near Kosciusko, Mississippi, on June 25, 1933. Going by his baptized name of J.H., his childhood would greatly contribute to the development of his fierce independence which would compel his future achievements at the University of Mississippi. He was the seventh son of the similarly independent Moses “Cap” Meredith and his second wife, Roxie Smith. James’s uncompromising personality was inherited from his father, who rejected the second class life expected of the southern blacks. From him, he “was taught to believe the most dishonorable thing a Meredith could do was to work in a white woman's kitchen and take care of a white man's child”. The family owned an 80 acre farm in Kosciusko, where cotton, corn and an assortment of other food crops. They lived poor without running water, but they were independent and self sufficient, isolating themselves from white society. On a train trip home from the more racially equal city of Chicago at the age of 15, James was forced onto a colored car, an event that ignited his personal battle against racist southern life.

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