The Shooting of James Meredith
Jack Thornell, 6 June 1966
James Meredith, a prominent civil rights activist, was leading a march when he was sprayed in his back with birdshot. The shooter was a man called Aubrey Norvell, who had reportedly shouted, “I just want James Meredith!”
Miraculously, none of the sixty-three birdshot pellets struck a vital organ or broke Meredith’s spine, even though the pattern wounded him from head to buttocks.
In the picture, Meredith is lying on the street in agony. He cried out, “Isn’t anyone going to help me?” No one did, but the photographer Thornell shouted that he should stay calm, and that an ambulance was on its way. Meredith was taken to a hospital where the pellets were extracted, and he healed well enough in two days to finish the march before it reached Jackson. Norvell pled guilty, and spent his time in prison regretting that he had not used buckshot.