Members of the Philadelphia Coalition receiving 2005 award

8/14/09 Contact: Media & P.R., 662-915-7236
University of Mississippi

Marker Commemorating Slain Civil Rights Workers to be Dedicated Sept. 1 in Philadelphia

Forty-five years after three civil rights workers were murdered on a dark Mississippi highway, a historical marker has been created to commemorate their lives. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael "Mickey" Schwerner were shot in 1964in Neshoba County, their deaths becoming a symbol in the struggle for civil rights. The marker honoring them will be dedicated in a special ceremony at noon Tuesday (Sept. 1) in Philadelphia,

The Philadelphia Coalition, a multiracial group of concerned local citizens that was formed around a call for justice for the murders, requested that the Mississippi Department of Archives and History erect the marker. Coalition members worked closely with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation at the University of Mississippi to have the marker

"The dedication of the marker represents the ongoing efforts of the Philadelphia Coalition to teach about the 1964 civil rights murders and their legacy," said Susan Glisson, executive director of the Winter Institute. "It is important to the group that local children understand that history in order to prevent its repetition."

The marker is on Mississippi Highway 19 South, near County Road 515, also known as Rock Cut Road, site of the 1964 murders. Leroy Clemons, chair of the Philadelphia Coalition, will preside over the ceremony at the intersection of Highway 19 South and County Road 515.

James A. Young, elected earlier this year as Philadelphia's first black mayor, plans to attend the ceremony as a special guest, as will Rita Schwerner Bender, widow of Mickey Schwerner, and Obie Riley, president of the Neshoba County Board of Supervisors.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact the WilliamWinter Institute at 662-915-6737 or visit

The Philadelphia Coalition      P.O. Box 330     Philadelphia MS 39350