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College honors Mississippi church’s Freedom Summer history

June 16, 2019

OXFORD, Ohio (AP) — An Ohio university is honoring a Mississippi church for its ties to the 1964 Freedom Summer push for civil rights.

Three youths who trained with hundreds of other volunteers in Oxford, Ohio, to register black voters in the South went to investigate the burning of Mt. Zion Methodist Church near Philadelphia, Mississippi. There, they were ambushed and killed by Klansmen. The slayings of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, dramatized in the 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning,” helped spur passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Representatives of Miami University in Oxford are attending Mt. Zion’s memorial this Sunday to present the church with the school’s annual award highlighting the spirit of Freedom Summer.

Veteran civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, was the inaugural honoree last year.

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