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New Freedom Trail marker pays tribute to civil rights

ole Miss now has one of 30 freedom trail markers in the state, which commemorate the struggle for civil rights. located at the J.d. Williams library, the marker was placed during the 50 years of integration celebration last week.
Tanner Marquis

A new Freedom Trail marker was unveiled at the J.D. Williams Library last week. Oxford mayor Pat Patterson, Chancellor Dan Jones and officials of the Mississippi Development Authority’s (MDA) tourism department made the presentation this past Friday, Sept. 29, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of James Meredith’s enrollment at The University of Mississippi. The marker is the seventh of 30 initial markers placed along the Freedom Trail, a commemorative series of locations integral to the history of the civil rights struggle in Mississippi. The University of Mississippi was among many submissions for potential placement of markers. “We had three hundred or so submissions, and I asked each member of the task force to give us their top 25,” said Ward Emling, manager of the Bureau of Film and Cultural Heritage of Mississippi Development. The decision to place the marker at the J.D. Williams library was unanimous. “The integration of Ole Miss was such a pivotal event in our history and in the civil rights movement both in Mississippi and around the country,” Emling said. Ryan Upshaw, Ole Miss alumnus and coordinator of recruitment and admissions for the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, said he hopes the marker will send the message that Ole Miss is welcoming. “The marker signifies that The University of Mississippi recognizes its past, but that we are moving forward,” Upshaw said. “As someone who works with prospective students and families, I know how important it is for people to feel that their presence is welcomed and valued on our campus.” While the markers are placed by the MDA, Emling empha- sizes that they serve an educa- tional purpose. “These markers are a textbook,” Emling said. “This is a new classroom.” More information on the Freedom Trail and the location of markers can be found online at http://www.visitmississippi. org.