Freedom Summer 2004 Celebration

At a news conference Tuesday, organizers announced plans for Meridian events to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Freedom Summer 1964.

A graveside service is set for 11:00 a.m. at Okatibbee Missionary Baptist Church in Meridian for slain civil rights worker James Chaney.

Chaney and two New Yorkers, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were murdered in 1964. They were volunteers in an effort to register blacks to vote.

At the time they disappeared in Neshoba County, the trio had been investigating the burning of a black church there.

Chaney's graveside service will be followed by a reserved-ticket luncheon at 12 Noon at Mt. Olive Baptist Church, featuring Alice Walker, author of “The Color Purple”.

"If there's to be justice, they need to come out and support this 40th year celebration of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner," said organizer Eloise L. Jenkins. "Come out and support, show the people that they did not die in vain."

A voter jam begins at 2:00 p.m. Monday at Dumont Plaza. A worship rally will be held at 7:00 p.m. Monday at First Union Baptist Church in Meridian.

For luncheon tickets, contact Eloise Jenkins at (601) 527-8732 or (601) 485-4089, or e-mail

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