George Smith
( — 2013)

CORE, COFO, MFDP, Mississippi, 1964-67

Freedom is not Free: The Meridian MS Civil Rights Movement of the Mid-Sixties

I am a native of Meridian, Mississippi. I was on the staff of CORE and worked directly with James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner. James Chaney and I were friends and attended the same high school.

When I first became involved in the Civil Rights Movement, Chaney, Schwerner and I worked on voter registration and breaking down the barriers of public accomodations and other projects. After the murder of the three Civil Rights workers (Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner), the Klan thought that would kill the movement but we were more determined to carry on the work of the movement. I was very instrumental in setting up the Civil Rights headquarters in Philadelphia, Mississippi where the murders took place.

After I became project director of CORE in Meridian, Mississippi, I was placed in the position of project coordinator for the Eastern section of the 4th District in Mississippi. My duties for the seven counties were personnel, transportation and programming.

I retired from General Motors Corporation after 35 years of service. At this present time, I am a comunity organizer, on the Executive committee of the NAACP of Fort Wayne-Allen County, involved with the Martin Luther King Club of Fort Wayne, and a gospel music promoter.

Oftentimes, I traveled to Philadelphia, Mississippi to speak at the memorial services of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. I have also shared my experiences with the community of Fort Wayne and some have also traveled with me to share in this experience.

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