Meridian, Mississippi Wednesday night was a historic evening in Downtown Meridian. Families, friends, community leaders, young and old gathered at Meridian's Temple Theater to look back on Freedom Summer 1964. David Dennis was a freedom rider that summer, and has produced the "Freedom Summer" documentary that's aired nationally on public television.. Dennis says it was hard in many ways to lose his three friends James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner that summer, but he continues to look to the future.
"Well, it's mixed emotions," Dennis told Newscenter 11. "One, is you're looking at some of the progress; you have black elected officials, there are more people registered to vote, which was a part of our goal during the 1964 freedom summer pieces. Then there's all the downside. The memories of the hardship and the sacrifice that people made, and the lives lost to get these particular rights and get us where we are."
Dennis says there is still much to get done since Mississippi is still ranked at or near the bottom in the nation in Education and Employment.