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Son of civil rights icon to lead Huntsville City Council

John Meredith was a unanimous choice for new council president.

John Meredith was elected president of the Huntsville City Council on Thursday evening.

The son of a civil rights hero will lead the city council in Alabama’s largest city. 

John Meredith was elected president of the Huntsville City Council on Thursday evening. The vote was unanimous. 

 Meredith is the son of James Meredith, the first Black student at the University of Mississippi and later a victim of a shooting during a solo Civil Rights march. James Meredith’s solo march, dubbed the “March Against Fear,” during which he planned to walk from Memphis to Jackson, Miss., ended temporarily when he was shot by Aubrey James Norvell, a white man. Later, James Meredith joined other civil rights groups and marchers from across the country — an estimated 15,000-plus at its conclusion — and finished his March Against Fear. 

James Meredith’s work and activism made him a prominent figure around the country, and John Meredith said previously that his father’s activism and heroism inspired him. But Thursday night, John told that his election as city council president didn’t really have anything to do with his father. Instead, he thanked his colleagues on the council for their trust in him. 

John Meredith won his city council seat in 2019, upsetting incumbent Will Culver who had come within 18 votes of winning re-election without a runoff. 

Meredith said his top priority as president will be restoring the public’s trust in the council, which he said seems to have eroded over the last year and a half as the city navigated a number of troubling policing issues.

Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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