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Meridian Freedom Project honors three civil rights workers

Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 5:17 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian Freedom Project honored three men who were killed by the Ku Klux Klan during the Civil Rights Movement.

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were fighting for voting rights and educational opportunities for people of color in Mississippi back in 1960s.

The Freedom Project is a leadership development program inspired by the Freedom Schools of 1964 and it focuses on educating youth about the Civil Rights Movement.

“The biggest thing is that their freedoms came at a cost and that there is no excuse not to succeed because they have opportunities that their ancestors died for,” said Terrence Roberts, director of literacy for the Meridian Freedom Project.

Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner were murdered by the KKK after trying to investigate the burning of a projected site for a Freedom School in Neshoba County in 1964.

Roberts said it’s important to teach the history of these civil rights heroes and never forget their legacy.

“They were given sharecropper education. Now they have the opportunity to learn anything in the world. They weren’t allowed to vote. Now voting is an opportunity for everyone. So, we want them to know that they can achieve and be thankful for those who sacrificed so that they can achieve,” said Roberts.

Students sang songs, recited an essay and a poem in front of the memorial. One student expressed how thankful she is for their sacrifice.

“I thank James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner for all they did for us. They didn’t have to do it, but they did it for us and our rights,” said Makaylah Fikes, a student with Meridian Freedom Project.

The Meridian Freedom Project left a memorial on the corner of 5th Street and 25th Avenue in Meridian. They encourage the community to visit the memorial.

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