NAMES IN THE NEWS : Meredith Rejected as Speaker

From Times Wire Services

A neighborhood group holding an anti-drug rally has rescinded an invitation to one-time civil rights pioneer James H. Meredith, who's now a staff aide to archconservative Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.).

Meredith, who broke the color barrier at the University of Mississippi in 1962, recently charged that the majority of delegates to a National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People's convention were "involved in the drug culture" or engaged in "criminal or immoral activities."

The Grand Rapids South East End Neighborhood Assn. voted last week to remove Meredith from a list of speakers for its Anti-Drug Education Rally and Festival during Labor Day weekend.

The group's director, Cynthia Townsend, who invited Meredith to speak, refused to comment on the board's reversal, saying only, "It's so sensitive right now."

Said Meredith: "It doesn't particularly surprise me. I've been on the blacklist of the liberal-controlled Establishment for the past five or six years."

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