DeSoto – Places

Highway 51

On June 5, 1966, James Meredith began his “March Against Fear” to protest racism. He began in Memphis, Tennessee, and planned to continue 220 miles to Jackson, Mississippi. At the twenty-sixth mile of the march on Highway 51, just south of Hernando, Aubrey Norvell stood in the roadside brush and fired three times at Meredith. It was later reported that doctors had to remove about seventy shotgun pellets from Meredith’s head, neck, and body. Meredith was rushed to the hospital and about fifteen law officers apprehended Norvell.

While Meredith was unable to complete his march, other civil rights leaders continued in tribute to Meredith. With their arms linked, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, and Stokely Carmichael resumed the walk where Meredith left off on Highway 51 in Hernando. Other marchers, reporters, and Mississippi state troopers were also present that day. Citizens in Desoto County are currently making efforts to erect a marker at the place at which Meredith was shot and these events took place. Read more at the page for Meredith’s March Against Fear


John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, University of Illinois Press, 1995.

“March Against Fear,” Wikipedia, 30 May 2012,

Taylor Branch, At Canaan’s Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2006.