Stories from Civil Rights History, Then and Now: Meridian, MS


Saturday, June 23, 1:00-4:00

First Union Missionary Baptist Church
610 38th Avenue, Meridian, MS

Co-hosts:  Meridian natives Susan Follett and Eric Porter

Free and open to the public

To RSVP, Email Susan.


An afternoon of reflection and fellowship using the power of story to recall and revive
the history of Freedom Summer via these artistic forms:

* Storytelling by panelists:

Sadie Clark Martin: civil rights veteran; one of the Meridian 5 who desegregated
Meridian High School in 1965

Eric Porter: advocate for lifting up the Movement’s unsung heroes; son of the late
Rev. R.S. Porter, Pastor of 1st Union Missionary Baptist and NAACP President

Weston Lindemann: Meridian Councilman Ward 5; college student

Susan Follett: advocate for the power of story to break down divides; author

* Freedom songs: by Sweet Spirits Inspirational Choir and Richelle Putnam

* Interpretive dance: Unity Dancers, choreographed by Janet Moore

* Spoken word performance: Edward Lynch

* Slide show: photos courtesy 1964 Meridian Freedom School Principal Mark Levy

* Community dialogue with light refreshments


Trailer: Panelists Weston Lindemann and Eric
Porter preview storytelling you’ll hear at this event. 

Supertalk 103.3 “Looking Back:”
Richelle Putnam interviews Susan Follett

Meridian natives to headline
community storytelling event

Your Star, Your World

Freedom Songs were the soundtrack of Freedom Summer. We started the summer singing and never stopped until after the convention in Atlantic City.”
Gail Falk, 1964 Meridian Freedom School Teacher

Click a title to hear other artists performing these songs:
“Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”

“We Shall Not Be Moved”

“This Little Light of Mine”

“Wade in the Water”

“I’ll be Rested”
“We Shall Overcome”

Meridian Reads

Across Meridian, community members can brush up on history and current events and begin to think about what they’ll see and hear at “Stories from Civil Rights History, Then and Now: Meridian, MS” by reading two novels. Each is appropriate for 8th grade and beyond. Each is by a Mississippi author.

Readers can consider questions of community and citizenship, freedom, prejudice, and equality—as well as the universal theme of finding our voice and what we stand for. The two “Meridian Reads” selections explore all this in two different eras:

by Susan Follett

Discussion Guide

In the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement, a 12-year-old white Catholic girl, a young black Baptist woman who flees to Chicago, and a Jewish Freedom Summer volunteer from New York each question what freedom means and the price they’ll pay to have it.

The Hate U Give

by Angie Thomas

Discussion Guide

Half a century later, a 16-year-old black girl who witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend by police searches for her voice amid racism, police brutality, discrimination, and prejudice. 

Thank You

With immense gratitude to all those individuals who have envisioned, encouraged, planned, resourced, and supported “Stories from Civil Rights History, Then and Now: Meridian, MS” and “Meridian Reads.”





Hosting venue: First Union Missionary Baptist Church

Welcoming remarks by: Mayor Percy Bland and Rev. Melvin L. Hendricks

Slide Images: Mark Levy, Donna Garde, Alan Reich, and Gail Falk. Used by permission.  

Performing artists: Sweet Spirits Inspirational Choir, Richelle Putnam, and the Unity Dancers choreographed by Janet Moore

Panelists: Councilman Weston Lindemann, Sadie Clark Martin, Eric Porter, and Susan Follett


10 print copies and a single-use eBook license of The FOG MACHINE and The Hate U Give have been added to the Meridian-Lauderdale County Public Library collection courtesy of the Mississippi Library Commission and the Mississippi Center for the Book.


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