County Road 632
Neshoba County, Mississippi
June 23 - 24, 2007
Compared to the number of murders committed and the number of murderers involved
in Mississippi, investigations and prosecutions have been a token few.
You are invited to attend the 43rd Annual Mississippi Civil Rights Martyrs Memorial Service and Conference. We shall remember and honor the three slain civil rights workers, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and all Mississippi civil rights movement martyrs. The services and conference will be held on Saturday June 23 from 2:30 - 6:30 pm and Sunday June 24 from 10 am - 4:00 pm at the location of the former Longdale community center on County Road 632 in the Longdale community in Neshoba County, Mississippi.
The memorial service and conference will be preceded by a Caravan for Justice that will depart Meridian at 10 am Saturday June 23 and after several stops arrive at Longdale at 2:30 pm.
The service and conference activities will be conducted outdoors on the Steele family's land. There is ample shade and ample parking. A backup indoor site has been arranged, so there will not be a problem in the event of rain. The community on the road people will travel to get to the site is friendly to our cause. There will be much and varied food, from barbeque to healthy salads, for attendees. Thanks in advance to the food committee.
This will be an event for remembering, conversation, exchanging thoughts and ideas, strategizing and calling for justice in the murders of Mississippi civil rights movement martyrs and for strategizing for continuing the struggle against racial oppression of people of color in Mississippi.
The location can be reached from Philadelphia, Mississippi, by going east approximately 2 miles on highway 16, then turning left on county road 482 and proceeding about 7 miles, then turning right on county road 632 and proceeding for about 1 1/2 miles. The former community center site is on the right.
Directions from Meridian: Take highway 19 north to Philadelphia (38 miles); f rom Philadelphia go east 2 miles on Hwy 16; t urn left on county road 482 and go 7 miles; turn right on county road 632 and go 1 1/2 miles. Longdale Community Center site is on the right.
Speakers confirmed thus far for this year's caravan, service and conference:
Judge D'Army Bailey - Judge, Tennessee Circuit Court, Memphis, TN. Actor. Civil rights movement author. Former City Council member, Berkeley, California. Civil rights movement veteran, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). President Emeritus - National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN. Currently, one of three people being considered for appointment to the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Keith Beauchamp - Producer of the film documentary The Untold Story of Emmett Till. Dedicated 12 years of his life to telling the story of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old black boy brutally slain in Mississippi in the summer of 1955. Grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Lives presently in New York City. In 1999, founded Till Freedom Come Productions, a company devoted to socially significant projects that both educate and entertain.
Ben Chaney - Mississippi veteran of the civil rights movement. Director of the James Earl Chaney Foundation.Native of Meridian, MS. Younger brother of slain civil rights worker James Chaney.
Obie Clark - Long time civil rights activist of Meridian, Mississippi. In 1969, became president of the Meridian chapter of the NAACP, a position he held for more than two decades. For many years he taught school in Meridian and was heavily involved in school and public accommodation desegregation efforts. Mr. Clark, his son Cedric, and fellow activist Rev. J.C. Killingsworth integrated the Highland Park Pool in Meridian on the same day that Neil Armstrong put his foot on the moon. Continues to live in Meridian where he operates a funeral home.
Ben Greenberg - Human rights activist, journalist, and researcher of civil rights era crimes. Presently resides in Boston.
Carolyn Hickman - Native of Longdale, Neshoba County, Mississippi. Stalwart supporter and volunteer worker who ensures the memorial service happens each year.
Rev. Charles Johnson - Civil rights movement veteran of Meridian, Mississippi. Native of Orlando, Florida. Pastor of Fitkins Memorial Church of the Nazarene in Meridian for 46 years. Founded the Meridian Action Committee (MAC), a local civil rights group that helped to desegregate lunch counters, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. MAC also helped to break down discrimination in hiring practices in local department stores, grocery stores, and convenient stores through boycotts and picketing. Led the picketing of Meridian City Hall against police brutality.
Rev. Michael Latham - Pastor of Renaissance Baptist Church, Ft. Wayne, Indiana. President of Ft. Wayne-Allen County, Indiana branch of the NAACP.
Rev. Advial McKenzie - Human rights activist. Pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Quitman, Clarke County, Mississippi.
Diane Nash -Chairperson of the student nonviolent sit-in movement in the first southern city to desegregate its lunch counters (Nashville, 1960). One of the founding students of SNCC (1960). Coordinator of the Freedom Ride from Birmingham to Jackson in 1961. Director of the direct action arm of SNCC in 1961. Worked in voter registration and direct action projects in many counties in Mississippi. Activist in the peace movement that worked to end the Vietnam War. Co-developer of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's (SCLC) initial strategy for the Selma Right-to-Vote movement. Native and resident of Chicago she currently works in support of several issues related to liberation and peace.
Judge Olly Neal - Civil rights movement veteran of Memphis, Tennessee (sit-ins and other activities).
Graduate of LeMoyne Owen College, Memphis, Tennessee. Civil rights movement veteran of Arkansas.
Former long term Executive Director of Lee County (Marianna, AR) Cooperative Clinic. Graduate of
University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law. Prosecuting Attorney, Arkansas First Judicial District (1991 -
1992). Circuit Judge, Arkansas First Judicial District (1993-1995). Judge, Arkansas Court of Appeals (1996 - 2006).
George Roberts - Long-time human rights activist. Native of Kemper County, Mississippi. Former President, Kemper County NAACP.
George Smith - Project Director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Meridian, Mississippi operation from 1964 to 1967. Native of Meridian. Resident of Ft.Wayne, Indiana for past 30 years. Life time human rights activist.
Jacqueline Steele Spencer - Native and current resident of Longdale, Neshoba County, Mississippi. Daughter of civil rights pioneers Cornelius and Mable Steele. She was present on June 16, 1964 at Mt. Zion Church when church members were beaten by Klansmen; later that night the KKK burned the church. Stalwart supporter and volunteer worker who ensures the memorial service happens each year.
John Steele - Human rights activist and Neshoba County native. The Steele family worked closely with James Chaney and Michael Schwerner. The family has been the key organizers in the annual memorial services from the beginning and through 43 years. John Steele and his sister are the only church members still living who were at Mt. Zion Methodist Church the night of June 16, 1964, when church members were beaten by Klansmen and the church burned.
Hank Thomas - Civil rights movement veteran. Conducted one person sit-in at McCrory's store in St. Augustine, Florida in 1960. One of the original Freedom Riders in 1961. Founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Successful businessman in Atlanta where he owns several major hotels and fast food franchises.
Jimmie Travis - Native of Mississippi and veteran of civil rights movement in Mississippi. Member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). In February 1963, on the highway outside Greenwood, Mississippi three whites in a car pulled alongside of and fired a burst of shots from a machine gun into a car containing SNCC leader Bob Moses, Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) voter registration director Randolph Blackwell of the Voter Education Project, and Jimmie Travis. Mr. Travis, the driver, was seriously wounded in the neck and shoulder. Currently, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Mississippi Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement and residing in Jackson, Mississippi.
Rev. C.T. Vivian - Rev. Vivian whose civil right activism began in the 1940s continues today, tirelessly working for the progress of African Americans and the civil and political rights of all peoples. He founded the Nashville Christian Leadership Conference, organizing the first sit-ins there in 1960 and the first civil rights march in 1961. Rev. Vivian was a rider on the first "Freedom Bus" into Jackson, Mississippi, and went on to work along-side Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on his Executive Staff in Birmingham, Selma, Chicago, Nashville, the March on Washington; Danville, Virginia; and St. Augustine, Florida.
Hollis Watkins - Native of Mississippi. Civil rights movement veteran, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Founder and President of Southern Echo, Inc., a leadership development, education, training, and technical assistance organization headquartered in Jackson, MS. Hollis Watkins is a powerful force in the efforts to carry on the unfinished business of the civil rights movement.
Edward L. Whitfield - Native of Little Rock , Arkansas. State President of the Arkansas NAACP Youth Council. In high school in Little Rock, participated in demonstrations challenging Jim Crow practices, and was early peace activist opposing the Vietnam War. Chairman of Cornell University’s black student organization in 1969 in a very turbulent period of struggle for black studies. National officer in the newly formed national black students organization, SOBU (Student Organization for Black Unity). Founding associate of Malcolm X Liberation University in North Carolina . Extensive labor and community organizing work in North Carolina. Continues to work in the areas of education and peace and justice. Co-chair of the Greensboro Peace Coalition. Heavily involved in the Greensboro Truth and Community Reconciliation Commission which investigated the 1979 murders of community activists by Klansmen, that is known as the Greensboro Massacre. Full time Senior Electronics Specialist in a manufacturing plant in Greensboro.
Mitchell Zimmerman – SNCC field secretary in eastern Arkansas in 1965–1966. Anti-Vietnam War activist in Arkansas , New York and California in the 1960s. Co-author of Dr. Spock on Vietnam. Presently an intellectual property lawyer in Silicon Valley , California. Remains active in pro bono matters involving civil rights, the death penalty, free speech, voting rights and civil liberties. Represented 200 civil rights movement veterans in Friend-of-the-Court brief in U.S. Supreme Court affirmative action case. Assisted organization seeking to restore Eyes on the Prize documentary to public availability. Lead counsel in death penalty appeal for more than 20 years. Fund-raiser for Doctors Without Borders and Ecumenical Hunger Program.
In addition to formally addressing the gathering, Hollis Watkins and other accomplished freedom singers will facilitate singing by the entire gathering.
Additional speakers, including more civil rights movement pioneers and veterans, family members of Mississippi civil rights martyrs, and others will be added.
As always at the memorial service, there will be an invitation for others who may wish to speak.
We hope you will join us.
Please share this information. The service is open to the general public.
The 2007 Planning Committee
Rev. C.T. Vivian