The mother of a civil-rights worker killed in the 1964 “Mississippi Burning” case will be buried next to her son on Saturday, more than 40 years after she left the state because of death threats.
Fannie Lee Chaney, 84, died May 22 in New Jersey. She had lived to see a reputed Klan leader convicted two years earlier in the killings of her son and two other young men.
Her funeral will be held at the First Union Baptist Church, Clark’s Memorial Funeral Home confirmed Tuesday. It is the same sanctuary where she had mourned her son James Chaney.
James Chaney, a black man, was killed on June 21, 1964, in central Mississippi’s Neshoba County, along with fellow civil rights workers Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, two white men from New York. The three had been looking into the torching of a black church and helping to register black voters during what was known as Freedom Summer.
Their killings, and early efforts to prosecute the suspects, were portrayed in the 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning.”
Fannie Lee Chaney left the state in 1965, saying she had received death threats after her son was killed, including one from a man who said he would dynamite her house and another caller who told her she would “be put in a hole like James was.”
Mississippi prosecutors revived their investigation of the slayings a few years ago, and Fannie Lee Chaney testified in June 2005 at the trial of reputed Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen.
Killen, 82, was convicted on three counts of manslaughter on the anniversary of the men’s deaths. He is serving a 60-year prison sentence.