MS Civil Rights Martyrs Memorial Service and Conference

By: Tametria Conner Email
By: Tametria Conner Email

"We're calling for justice," Annual Mississippi Civil Rights Martyrs Memorial Service and Conference Chairman John Steele.

They're keeping the movement alive and remembering Mississippi slain civil rights workers.

"I'm talking about Herbert Lee, Emmett Till, James Chaney, and others known and unknown," Committee member John Gibson said.

And that's why these people which include elders of the movement and youth that will carry the baton, have gathered at the historic Longdale Community center site in Neshoba County....just feet away from the road Chaney, Goodwin and Schwerner traveled, to educate the community and tell their stories and dig for answers with unsolved murder cases.

"We identified approximately 60 people who's lives were taken during the modern civil rights era and we keep finding cases," Gibson said.

They are from all over the state and region and they marched for justice Saturday, just as Dr. King did in 1966 and now they are strategizing on how to involve more of the community in this effort.

"The highlight is people coming together to share their ideas and express their concerns and talk about their experiences and hopefully that will lead to more community involvement," Civil Rights Activist Hollis Watkins said.

The movement was alive and well decades ago and now these people want to encourage the youth of the new millennium like Jonathan Steele to discuss the struggles and injustices.

This memorial service and conference is a Steele family tradition, passed down since 1965. John Steele is the chairman of the conference and his grandson Jonathan says he will take the torch and help to charge the youth to continue the legacy.

"I wanted to participate because it helped pave the way for the rest of us like for our freedom and even drinking from the same water fountain," Jonathan Steele said.

"Justice must prevail," said John Steele.

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