Aram Goudsouzian, chairman of the history department at the University of Memphis, will present his book “Down To The Crossroads: Civil Rights, Black Power and the Meredith March Against Fear”. This narrative history of the civil rights movement is told through James Meredith’s tumultuous 1966 march from Memphis to Jackson, MS down U.S. Hwy 51 that began as a voter-registration drive.
The journey might have drawn little national attention except that on the second day of the march, 30 miles into it, a mysterious man, a former Memphis hardware store clerk, stepped from a patch of honeysuckle along the roadway a few miles south of Hernando and shot Meredith three times with a shotgun. The man walked away, unchallenged, and was arrested later with no explanation of his motive.
Meredith was a difficult subject who frustrated journalists and civil rights leaders as unpredictable, a loner and a man that Goudsouzian calls sometimes “bizarre”, thus his story had remained under-researched.
Rhodes College history professor and The Spence Wilson Chair in the Humanities, Dr. Jonathan Judaken said Goudsouzian turned an under-researched niche in the civil rights movement into a real “page turner.”
Dr. Charles Crawford, on the faculty of the University of Memphis for 52 years, said the book “really captures the spirit of the march and makes you feel like you were there. It brings the people alive. You read it and you understand it. He (Goudsouzian) is one of the best writers I have ever read.”
Monday February 2, 2015 at 7 pm
Wunderlich Auditorium at Memphis University School.
Enter from Park Ave. and follow the WTHS signs.