Week of Freedom Summer commemorations come to close in Neshoba County


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PHILADELPHIA, Mississippi — A week's worth of events marking the 50th anniversary of Freedom Summer — and the murder of three civil rights workers in Neshoba County — were coming to an end Saturday in Philadelphia.

Events included a gathering at the Neshoba County courthouse, where speeches honored the memory of people who paved the way for civil rights legislation.

Other activities included a program at the Neshoba County Coliseum, where scheduled speakers included Assistant Attorney General Jocelyn Samuels and Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers.

"This 50th anniversary year is important in terms of reminding people that the civil rights movement did not end in the 1960s and we are still fighting this fight," said Portland, Oregon, resident Joyce Harris told said during the courthouse gathering, covered by WTOK TV (http://bit.ly/1kZuPMq)

Saturday marked the 50th anniversary of the killings of civil rights workers Michael H. Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James E. Chaney, who were slain in Philadelphia. Their bodies were found buried in an earthen dam six weeks later.

Seven people were convicted of conspiracy in the case; none served more than six years in prison.

Edgar Ray Killen, a former Ku Klux Klansman, was convicted of manslaughter on June 21, 2005 and is serving a 60-year sentence.

During the week, events marking the deaths and other milestones in the civil rights movement included daily civil rights tours; a screening of the film "Neshoba, The Price of Freedom", a Youth Day Tour and a program honoring local heroes at the historic Mt. Nebo Church, The Meridian Star reported (http://bit.ly/1ppFwvE).

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