Why no news?
by Charlie Leck
John Gibson, one of the organizers of the rally, memorial service and protest that I attended in Misissippi last week, writes to say the Neshoba Country Democrat, which purports to be a newspaper, gave the rally and protest no coverage. Its office is only two blocks down the street from where we (over 200 of us) gathered to remember Mickey Schwerner, James Chaney and Andrew Goodman and a host of other civil rights workers who were killed.
"Just got through checking the internet edition of the Neshoba Democrat. No mention of the 44th Annual Mississippi Civil Rights Martyrs Memorial Service, but I didn't expect any from them. The justice rally at the Neshoba County courthouse involved around 200 people and was only a block from the newspaper office. I suspect you remember many similar non-coverage of civil rights activities that occurred back in the day. I guess the memorial service and the justice rally was not consistent with the message that the editor of the Neshoba Democrat wanted to promote.
"Why only Edgar Ray Killen prosecuted in the Neshoba murders case?
"Why no coverage of the 44th Annual Mississippi Civil Rights Martyrs Memorial Service by the Neshoba Democrat?"
John, why not organize a letters to the editor campaign, telling the editor and the general public what fine speeches and music they missed?
Here's some contact information for the Neshoba Democrat and a copy of a letter I sent off today (Friday, 27 June 2008):
Associate Editor and Publisher
Editor & Publisher
I've enjoyed reading through your on-line archives. You feature many outstanding articles about the terrible civil rights murders in 1964 and a great deal of valuable subsequent information about the investigation and trials. Thanks for having that all posted.
I was disappointed, however, not to see any news coverage of the 44th annual memorial service and rally that took place last week end (21 and 22 June 2008).
I traveled down from Minnesota with my wife and one of my children to attend the events surrounding the memorial service. We gathered in front of the Neshoba County Courthouse on an absolutely spectacular, sun-shiny day in Mississippi. The music was grand and the speeches were eloquent and informative.
It appears that your paper did not have a representative at that gathering and I think it was a huge mistake not to. This is an important event to both many of the citizens of your community and veterans of the Mississippi civil rights movement all over America.
I urge you to give the event "close-up and personal" coverage next year and in ensuing years. The protestors at that event continue to wonder why it is that only Edgar Ray Killen was prosecuted and none of the others who were equally involved. "Justice for all" lies at the heart of the American-way and it doesn't appear to be happening in Neshoba County.
Charles H. Leck