Meridian Commemorates Freedom Summer Anniversary

Civil Rights

Meridian, Miss. There are numerous activities set for Meridian as the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer is observed.

Below is a list of activities:

Tuesday, June 17
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
Meridian Civil Rights Trail Unveiling
MSU Riley Center
Light breakfast followed by an honored speaker at the historic MSU Riley Center. Immediately following the program, participants are encouraged to walk to Meridian’s African American Business District, just two blocks away, for the unveiling of the Meridian Civil Rights Trail.

Saturday, June 21
11 a.m. - 12 noon
Martyr Commemoration and Bell Toll
Meridian City Hall Lawn
Program to be led by civil rights activist Rev. Charles Johnson, pastor of Fitkins Memorial Church of the Nazarene and author of Called to the Fire: A Witness for God in Mississippi; The Story of Dr. Charles Johnson. Also, featuring great music and speakers as we look back on the sacrifice made by Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. Meridian bells to toll at 12 noon to honor the martyrs.

Saturday, June 21 - Saturday, June 28
Meridian/ Lauderdale County Public Library
Newspapers, articles and more from the Meridian Star and The New York Times available on microfilm for individuals to peruse.

Sunday, June 22
1:30 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
United We Stand – Multi-Cultural Worship Service
Dumont Plaza in Historic Downtown Meridian
Join many culturally diverse Meridian church congregations as we worship with the returning Meridian Freedom Summer workers.

Monday, June 23 – Friday, June 27
Meridian Freedom Summer 1964 Talking Photograph
Daily from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. at Union Station, Meridian Museum of Art, Meridian Public Library
View Freedom Summer in Meridian through the eyes of the Freedom Summer workers who were there. Photography collections from of multiple Freedom Summer workers will be on display at these three venues.

Wednesday, June 25
1:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Freedom Summer Movie
Historic Temple Theatre
Free and open to the public. This powerful documentary from the American Experience on PBS previewed earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and will air on PBS Tuesday, June 24. Civil Rights activist Dave Dennis will introduce this live showing.

Wednesday, June 25
7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Freedom Summer: Honoring the Legacy & Pursuing
Historic Temple Theatre
Join the families of slain civil workers Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner along with Freedom Summer workers Dave Dennis, Gail Falk, Mark Levy and others as we honor the accomplishments of Freedom Summer, The First Five of 1965 (school integration) and look forward to carrying on the legacy. Esteemed guest speaker, Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the National Children’s Defense Fund.

Friday, June 27
2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Book discussion with authors Susan Follett, Bernice Sims
Meridian Community College – Casteel Gallery
Join the authors of Freedom Summer themed books as they discuss how the Freedom Summer experience inspired their work.