JACKSON, Miss. – A white-supremacist organization is seeking permission to have a booth at next month's state fair featuring a suspect in the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers (search).
The state Fair Commission rejected the Nationalist Movement's (search) application to operate a booth at the fair because of "typographical errors," but gave the group until Thursday to resubmit its request, said Richard Barrett, the organization's leader.
In the meantime, State Assistant Attorney General Bob Graves said the Fair Commission and state officials would meet to discuss whether Edgar Ray Killen (search) would be permitted to attend. Graves did not elaborate on what factors would be considered.
Killen was tried in 1967 on federal conspiracy charges related to the killings of three civil rights workers in the Neshoba County town of Philadelphia. He was freed after a hung jury verdict, but officials say he remains under investigation in the case.
Barrett said he wanted to hold a petition drive at the fair in support of Killen, and that Killen had agreed to participate.
Representatives of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (search) and other local leaders gathered at Mississippi's agriculture department Monday to protest the possibility of Killen's inclusion.
Shawna Davie, president of Jackson State University's Student Government Association, said students are organizing another march for Oct. 6, the day the fair opens its 12-day run.
"If the contents of the fair do offend you, don't go," she said.
In a campaign dubbed Freedom Summer, hundreds of volunteers came south in 1964 to help blacks register to vote. Volunteers Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, white men from New York, and James Chaney, a black man from Mississippi, were together in a car near Philadelphia when they were stopped by Klansmen, beaten and shot to death.
Hundreds of people, including Gov. Haley Barbour, gathered in June to mark the 40th anniversary of the slayings and call for the investigation to reopen. Though the state never brought murder charges, seven Klansmen were convicted on federal civil rights violations. None served more than six years.