Testimonial Dinner for John Reynolds

October 6, 1962


Milwaukee, WI

We are not in the midst of another political campaign.

Elections remind us not only of the rights but the responsibilities of citizenship in a democracy. Yet we live in a time when the individual’s opportunity to meet his responsibilities appears circumscribed by impersonal powers beyond his influence. On the surface the individual in American society is pressed on all sides by the mightiest materialistic force in man’s history. The power of atomic weapons seems to dwarf the heroism of any individual soldiers, and City Hall looms too big to fight in a hundred walks of life.

But even today there is so much that a single person can do with faith and courage, and we have had a number of outstanding examples just this week…James Meridith brought to a head and lent his name to another chapter in the mightiest internal struggle of our time. At the same time…there were five hundred United States marshals, most of them from the southern states, who remained true to their orders and instructions and stood with great bravery to prevent interference with federal court orders.

A troop of armored cavalry—men from Oxford, Mississippi—were the first soldiers to come to the aid of the marshals. Some of these young men had graduated only last June from the University of Mississippi. As one of them said: “We don’t like being here, but we don’t like that mob shooting at you either.”