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AS FREEDOM VOLUNTEERS packed up and left Mississippi in 1964, brutality and murder kept going on. Some stories made it into the news and into later history books, but in smaller Delta towns several hundred miles north of Jackson, many incidents remain only as whispers among those who once picked the cotton …
Bloggers Set to Revisit Mississippi Delta Civil Rights People and Places
Mount. Pleasant, Iowa (USA), May 29, 2007–Two friends from Cleveland, Mississippi and Mount Pleasant, Iowa, are spending ten days roaming and blogging the Mississippi Delta while visiting civil rights people and places. Their pictures and stories will be placed daily at http://mississippimurders.com on the Internet. (Photo at left, courthouse in Belzoni, home of the Rev. George Lee who was murdered in 1955.)
Margaret Block, an early civil rights advocate, and Susan Klopfer, author of Where Rebels Roost; Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited, plan to roam the Mississippi Delta starting June 1, visiting people and places of the modern civil rights movement. “We’ll be traveling in and out of the Delta for ten days as we photograph important spots and talk about the region’s history,” Klopfer said.
“We plan to visit the towns of Money, Drew, Glendora, Greenwood and other spots connected to the murders of Emmett Till, Birdia Keglar, Adlena Hamlett and Cleve McDowell, among others who were killed for their civil rights activities or just for being black.”
Block, an early SNCC volunteer, spent her first years out of high school in the small town of Charleston where they will kick off their blogging venture by attending a program June 1 honoring Keglar. The NAACP leader was murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in 1966 on her way home from a Jackson meeting with Sen. Robert Kennedy. Keglar once saved Block’s life by moving her out of Charleston in a hearse from the funeral home that Keglar managed.
“We have very few scheduled stops, but we will also leave the Delta to attend the funeral of Mrs. Chaney, James Chaney’s mother in Meridian,” Block said. The two also plan to visit with Unita Blackwell, Mississippi’s first black woman mayor, and will take pictures as they roam the historical Brooks Farm, Parchman penitentiary, and Clarksdale, home of Aaron Henry, an early civil rights leader who Block also knew.
The two women met when Klopfer was researching a book on the civil rights movement, “Where Rebels Roost; Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited.” Klopfer was living on the grounds of Parchman at the time, where her husband was the chief psychologist.
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