Civil Rights Movement Veterans

I recently received a press release regarding an upcoming 43rd Annual Mississippi Civil Rights Martyrs Memorial Service and Conference and Caravan for Justice. About the event:

Longdale Community Center site
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.

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.

There is an impressive lineup of speakers planned. Speaker bios, contact info, directions, and more details can be found here.

I wasn't familiar with the Civil Rights Movement Veterans, but their website is an amazing historical archive of information about the civil rights movement. Here's their mission statement:

This website is of, by, and for Veterans of the Southern Freedom Movement of the 1960s.

For us, the heart and soul of our website is emphasizing the central role played by ordinary people transforming their lives with extraordinary courage. The Civil Rights Movement was above all a mass peoples' movement -- people coming together to change their lives for themselves. But all too often that central fact has been quietly dropped out of history in favor of a "benevolent" court ruling, a few charismatic leaders, a handful of famous protests in a few well- known places, some tragic martyrs, and the gracious largess of magnanimous legislators.

Our purpose is to make sure that there is at least one place where the Movement story is told by those who actually lived it. We want to set the record straight. Without the courage, determination, and activity of hundreds of thousands of men and women of all ages in cities, towns, and hamlets across the South there would have been no Civil Rights Movement, no famous leaders, no court rulings, no new laws, and no change.

In addition to documenting the Southern Freedom Movement by telling it like it was and testifying to what we did and what it meant to us, the website is also a place to begin renewing the ties that once bound us together in a beloved community, a place for finding lost friends, and a tool for helping fellow veterans in need. And it is a living memorial for our fallen comrades.

The maintain a "roll call" of civil rights movement participants from all over who register at the site and provide background on their involvement. There is also a Frequently Asked Questions section where members answer questions by relating their own experiences.

The website has an abundance of resources including an extensive bibliography, a library of links to online civil rights resources, and lots more. The fascinating personal accounts are at times sad and even terrifying, but moving and uplifting. This is a great resource for anyone researching the 1960s Civil Rights Movement or who is just interested in learning more about it.