Niece writes book on groundbreaking uncle
by Courtney Stevens
Sep 15, 2013 | 2199 views | 0 0 comments | 70 70 recommendations | email to a friend | print
"He wanted to go to Ole Miss before he knew he couldn't go," said Meredith

Coleman McGee, niece of James Meredith, the first African American to attend the University of Mississippi.

McGee discussed her new book, a biography titled “James Meredith: Warrior and the America that Changed Him,” on recently at the Robinson-Carpenter Memorial Library as a part of the library's Luncheon With Books program.

"This is so exciting. This book was released March 21 of this year and this is my first book reading and signing," said McGee.

McGee has written two books, her first being “Married to Sin,” a tell-all.

The James Meredith book took McGee four years to write and then two years to find a commercial publisher.

She said she interviewed over 60 people and her book is now used as a textbook at Mississippi College in Clinton, as well as in schools in Australia.

The book describes her uncle's life, including specific events such as Meredith's submission to a writing contest on what America could become, when a teacher unsuccessfully attempted to censor him.

Meredith, rather than submit his essay through his teacher, submitted it directly to the contest, and won.

McGee's main focus was Meredith's time at Ole Miss, especially the first day he appeared on campus.

"The sleepy town turned into a hostile atmosphere," said McGee, explaining the National Guard was present at the university due to the protestors.

"The mob was loud,” she read. “They cursed the soldiers and yelled insulting remarks … the guards were pushing and being shoved. Later that evening hooded Klansmen started going up Jackson Avenue … the streets were crowded with white, hostile men waving confederate flags and screaming obscenities.”

By painting this picture on page 68 of her book, McGee was able to express the seriousness of this major historical event.

McGee tackles issues that might be uncomfortable for some, however she encompasses both the good and the bad.

"He believed the time for white supremacy was over before America thought it was," said McGee.

"While all of this was going on, my uncle was in his dormitory with two U.S. Marshalls. So even though they heard a lot of things, they really did not know what happened that night until they had to get in the car (the next day) and saw all of the evidence of insurrection," said McGee.

"White citizens were actually engaged in a war with weapons against the U.S. Marshalls when Kennedy had to send troops down," said McGee.

The biography, while it includes Meredith's time at Ole Miss, encompasses a great deal more.

"This biography covers our ancestry, my uncle’s full life from birth to 2012, his Walk for the Poor, his Walk for Education, and also the last two chapters are about closing the wealth gap between the have and the have not’s," said McGee.

“James Meredith: Warrior and the America that Changed Him” is available on McGee's Website meredithetc.com, as well as amazon.com