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James Earl Chaney - Meridian Mississippi
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member linkys
N 32° 17.792 W 088° 44.317
16S E 336298 N 3574631
Quick Description: Grave and memorial of one of the three young civil rights workers that were murdered by members of the Klu Klux Klan in the summer of 1964 during American Civil Rights Movement.
Location: Mississippi, United States
Date Posted: 8/16/2011 3:26:14 AM
Waymark Code: WMCAGK
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Thorny1
Views: 0

Long Description:

Located at the edge of the Okatibee Baptist Church Cemetery stands a large vertical stone inscribed:

James Earl Chaney
May 30, 1943
June 21, 1964

Another large granite slab lies on the ground in front of it, covering the grave. Inscribed on that slab are the words:

There are those who are alive
yet never live

There are those who are dead
yet will live forever

Great deeds inspire and
encourage the living

Above the words James Earl Chaney is two hands clasping in friendship. Above that is hollowed out area where a photo of James Earl Chaney had been inset. Behind the vertical stone can be seen a large steel frame that holds the stone upright. The photo has been shot out and a steel frame is present to prevent the stone from being pulled over. Hated while living, he is hated while in the grave, both for what he did and what he stood for.

Beaten and then shot, he joined the two other civil rights workers that were with him, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, who had also been shot, in being buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Yet the killings did not stop the Civil Rights Movement, instead the outrage over their deaths helped bring about the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the opposite of the result their murderers intended.

Adding to the horror of the crime was the lack of prosecution of the men involved in the murder, as at the time Mississippi refused to prosecute the killers for murder. Eventually 16 were charged with civil rights violations, but only 7 were convicted, and they only served a few years. Finally in 2005, 80 year old Edgar Ray Killen was indicted on three counts of murder, but convicted of manslaughter on each count. He is currently (2011) serving three consecutive 20 year sentences.

The movie Mississippi Burning was loosely based on the Cheny, Schwerner, Goodman killings, and there are numerous articles available on the Internet. Among them is the Wikipedia article on James Cheney, the Wikipedia article on the murders, and a Steve Brody guest column in the Meridian Star, A Chance For Meridian. All were used as sources for this Waymark.

Civil Right Type: Race (U.S. Civil Rights movement)

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