Meridian Star

June 15, 2014

Philadelphia to host week-long events on 50th anniversary

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     PHILADELPHIA —  Much Overcome – Much To Do. The public is invited to attend and take part in a week of special events held in Philadelphia today through June 21 to recognize and commemorate the 50th anniversary of the murders of civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner.

     They, along with many other young men and women came to Mississippi during the summer of 1964 to help Mississippi’s most vulnerable citizens empower themselves in a state with the worst and most entrenched Jim Crow segregation laws in the nation, according to a statement from the Philadelphia Coalition.

    "They were emboldened by the prospect that if they could change Mississippi; they could change any state in the nation," the statement said.

    The commemorative events will feature speeches from some of the people whose lives were affected and touched by the events of Freedom Summer. During the week’s final event, the Unity Program attendees will receive a keynote address from Myrlie Evers Williams, author, activist and wife of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Also speaking will be Angela Lewis, the daughter of James Chaney and Jocelyn Samuels, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the United States Department of Justice.

    This week of commemorative events will focus on celebrating the work and fight for justice and will include the kickoff program, today at the historic Mt. Zion church. Rep. John Lewis will be the keynote speaker. The rest of the week will be filled with daily civil rights tours, a screening of the film “Neshoba, The Price of Freedom” on Thursday. Friday is Youth Day and will include a Youth Tour and activities and later that night a program honoring local heroes at the historic Mt. Nebo Church.

    The commemoration ends Saturday, June 21 with a day of events, including the Unity March and Prayer at the courthouse at 10 a.m. and concluding with the Unity Program at 4 p.m. at the Neshoba County Coliseum.

    For a full list of events, visit or