Lewis, Evers-Williams to Speak in Neshoba County

Neshoba County, Miss. Civil rights veteran and U.S. Rep. John Lewis is scheduled to speak Sunday during the 50th annual memorial service for three civil rights workers killed in Neshoba County in 1964.

The Democrat from Georgia is a former freedom rider and well-known civil rights leader. He is the only surviving speaker from the 1963 March on Washington.

The program is 3 p.m. at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.

Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner were ambushed and later shot by the Ku Klux Klan on June 21, 1964. They were in Neshoba County investigating the burning of Mt. Zion five days earlier.

In 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was convicted on three counts of manslaughter for his role in orchestrating the murders of the three civil rights workers. He is serving a 60-year sentence.

The public is invited to attend and take part in a week of special events being held in Philadelphia June 15-21.

Other than Rep. Lewis' visit to Mt. Zion, 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, Youth Day on Friday and will include a Youth Tour and activities and later that night a program honoring local heroes at the historic Mt. Nebo Church.

The week-long commemoration climaxes 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.

The keynote speaker for the Unity Program will be Myrlie Evers Williams, author, activist and wife of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. Also speaking during the program 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.