Meridian resident Mable Hoskins Oatis is among the 2017 National Civil Rights and Social Justice Award winners to be honored Sunday.

The 53rd Anniversary Commemorative Service for James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner is scheduled for 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.

The service commemorates the three Civil Rights workers who were killed near Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964.

Others who will receive awards include the Honorable Arthur L. Burnett Sr., Dr. Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Eva M. Tisdale and Miami University of Ohio. Miami University has now acquired Western College for Women — a college where, in 1964, the Freedom Riders were trained. One of the alumni of Western College for Women, Fran Hoffman, will be in attendance on Sunday. She graduated in 1965. Miami University President Gregory Crawford will also be in attendance.

On Monday and Wednesday, the Seventh National Conference on Civil Rights is scheduled to conduct sessions and workshops in Meridian, and on Tuesday participants will take a journey to the Civil Rights Memorial, the Equal Justice Initiative and Alabama State University in Montgomery, Ala.

The conference’s theme is called “Rise, Advocate, Educate and Cooperate: The Continuing Struggle for Civil Rights in America.” A welcome statement from Meridian Mayor Percy Bland and Philadelphia Mayor James A. Young says that the “conference promises to generate considerable intellectual dialogue and debate, as well as create opportunities to strengthen existing networks and forge new ones.”

The Meridian portion of the conference will take place at the Holiday Inn.

People seeking more information about the events can contact Chrissie Walker, human resources director of the city of Meridian and a member of the planning committee of the National Civil Rights Conference. She can be reached at 601-485-1906 or

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