Elsie Kirksey, Ward 5 Supervisor Obbie Riley, Bishop Clay Lee, Leroy Clemons, Dr. James Meredith, Lynn Barker, Elder Peggy Gibson and coordinator Jewel McDonald place a wreath at the monument  at Mount Zion in honor of the three slain civil rights workers.
Elsie Kirksey, Ward 5 Supervisor Obbie Riley, Bishop Clay Lee, Leroy Clemons, Dr. James Meredith, Lynn Barker, Elder Peggy Gibson and coordinator Jewel McDonald place a wreath at the monument at Mount Zion in honor of the three slain civil rights workers.
James Meredith urged the community to take a larger role in the upbringing of children during the 49th annual memorial service Sunday for three civil rights workers killed here in 1964.

Meredith - whose entrance into Ole Miss in 1966 sparked three days of rioting and ended with two deaths - was one of the guest speakers at the memorial at Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.

"We are losing most of our young people because no one is looking after them," Meredith told a crowd gathered in the church.

He urged church members and the community at-large to start taking a more active role in the lives of children.

"Each church should keep a registry of every child born within two miles of the church from birth until age 21, especially boys," Meredith said.

The memorial service was held in honor of three civil rights workers - Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner - who were ambushed and later shot by the Ku Klux Klan here on June 21, 1964. They were in Neshoba County investigating the burning of Mt. Zion five days earlier.

Retired United Methodist Bishop Clay Lee also spoke at the memorial service, suggesting that the events of 1964 should never be forgotten lest they be repeated.

"Even if an event is over we must not forget or else we will repeat it," he said.

He cited the Ku Klux Klan's claims that the church members burned Mt. Zion and that the civil rights workers disappearance was a hoax.

"That's stupid," he said. "The tragedy was they [the Klan] had good people accepting the lies. Then they stop asking questions."

Clay praised the Philadelphia Coalition's work in bringing about justice in he case.

"We are walking by faith not fear," he said.

Also speaking was Lynn Barker of Starkville, who recalled being in the courtroom the day Edgar Ray Killen was convicted of three counts of manslaughter for his role in the murders.

"We need to replace hate with love," she said.

After the event, the speakers and church elders gathered to place wreath at the memorial to the three men.

District 5 Supervisor Obbie Riley welcomed those in attendance at the start of the memorial program. Mayor James A. Young gave the invocation.

Cecil Hooker gave the occasion.

The Philadelphia Youth Coalition presented a skit. Mrs. Evelyn Cole Calloway gave a tribute in memory of J.R. (Bud) and Beatrice Cole. Leslie Rush delivered a tribute in memory Earnest Kirkland.