A Sense of Where We Are: Oxford Town

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Oxford, Mississippi—Expect a longer post on Oxford; it may be the single most complex and fascinating place we’ve stopped in the South. For now, though, I’ll just offer up a question: In the last half century of American history, has anyone had a more improbable career arc than James Meredith?

After successfully becoming the first black student at Ole Miss in 1962 and then getting shot while walking across the state, Meredith went on to work for bigoted North Carolina senator Jesse Helms, and endorsed KKK leader David Duke’s campaign for governor of Louisiana. The closest comparable I can think of would be Eldridge Cleaver—from Black Panther icon to protege of Glenn Beck’s idol, W. Cleon Skousen—but I’m not sure that really comes close. Anyways, let me know who I’ve missed in the comments.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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