Tobin Mr. Meuler United States History 7 December 2012 To Kill a Butterfly: A Case in Civil Rights As an American child, I’ve always been told that I can make a difference, that I can change the world. While that’s always sounded nice, it’s hard not to wonder, “Can I actually change something? ” Such is the case of James H. Meredith. He changed the world not though extraordinary actions, but by rebellion and a little help. His decision to apply to The University of Mississippi and challenge countless people who tried to stop him on the way created a snowball effect eventually causing the enforcement of desegregation in public schools.
A determined person may change the world by rejecting current circumstances with the help of others. Rejecting the current situation is essential to changing the world. Meredith applied to The University of Mississippi knowing he most likely wouldn’t get in right away, but to change current his situation he knew needed to apply.
Howard Zinn, Thoreau, and Martin Luther King Jr all stand behind this concept of change because they believe that for change to happen something must change. One cannot stare at a wall and expect it to change colors.
You need to paint the wall. You need to be the change, the instigator of a movement against all the wrongs that you see in the world. Meredith lived this out for four years to prove his point. He stood up to the constant disturbances caused by people who, if given the change, would kill him just because of what he stood for (Chodas). So must all people who want to be the change in the world. Having confidence and staying on track will allow you, along with others, be the change in the world.
To change the world you need to start a movement with the help of others. Meredith knew he couldn’t do this alone so he contacted the NAACP prior to applying for admittance to the university (Byers, “James H. Meredith”). The NAACP would be able to open a court case for him because of the precedent set by Brown v. Board of Education (“Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (No. 1. ). “). Whether it be for money or just somebody to help you along, other people are needed to support you in your endeavor.
If Meredith had never contacted the NAACP he would most likely have ended up like Clyde Kennon who was sent to prison on false charges after trying to get into the University of Southern Mississippi (Byers, “James H. Meredith”). A person must be determined to change the world. Meredith believed “’that the system would have to be broken’” to successfully complete his goal and was willing to go to any lengths to break the system (Byers, “James H. Meredith”). Anyone who wishes to make a change in the world must also follow this example.
If you want to accomplish anything in life you will need determination because potential and dumb luck are only able to get you so far. As a child Meredith had to walk four miles every day to school because buses did not take African American’s to their separate school (Smith, “James H. Meredith”). I’d imagine that walk was not just a pleasant stroll. That walk was a twice daily journey through hell to reach a dirty ill equipped school. But he still did it so he could move on to better things. Each of us needs to take our own walk in our endeavor to change the world.
With the right support network, determination, and some rebellion you can change the world. Anybody can, but few ever will. As simple as these things seem they are just ideals. Most of us would give up because it looks too hard, not be humble enough to ask for help or just accept things for what they are. Is that what we should do? No, I say! We should all jump out of our beds each morning and seize the day! In the end though most of us will just give up and ever so silently tap the snooze button, hoping to spontaneously change the world. Works Cited “Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (No. . ). ” Law. cornell. edu. Cornell University Law School, n. d. Web. 5 Dec. 2012. Byers, Paula K. , and Suzanne Michele. Bourgoin. “”James H. Meredith”” Encyclopedia of World Biography. Detroit [u. a. : Gale, 2004. Print. Cohodas, Nadine. The Band Played Dixie. New York: Free, 1997. Print. Smith, Jessie Carney. , and Nikki Giovanni. “James H. Meredith. ” Black Heroes. Detroit, MI: Visible Ink, 2001. 467-71. Print. “The U. S. Marshals and the Integration of the University of Mississippi. ” The U. S. Marshals Service History. The United States Marshals Service, n. d. Web.
Cite this James Meredith
James Meredith. (2016, Oct 14). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/james-meredith/