Meridian held a commemoration for those martyrs who gave their lives during Freedom Summer.
A variety of speakers - including Meridian's first African American Mayor Percy Bland and Philadelphia's first African American Mayor James Young - showed up to the event at the Temple Theatre today. The mayors and Dr. Charles Johnson spoke about the progress in Mississippi over the past five decades. Those in attendance say the message was powerful.
"Many years ago, and during the 60s, blacks weren't allowed to come to this facility; it was whites only. And now we're an integrated city today, and we all can join here together black and white, and talk about those days in the past," volunteer Lenray Gandy says. "This is a great thing for me because they were personal friends of mine. This is a great thing we're doing here today. I think we're coming here together as a city."
The event was originally to be held at Meridian's City Hall, but was switched to the Temple due to weather. Despite the venue change, the commemoration still brought in plenty of supporters.