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Mississippi editor Stanley Dearman dies at 84

GULF BREEZE, Fla. (AP) — Mississippi editor Stanley Dearman, who pushed for justice in the murders of three civil rights workers, died on Saturday in Florida. The death of the 84-year-old was announced by the newspaper in Philadelphia, Mississippi, that he once published.

Dearman wrote articles and editorials in The Neshoba Democrat that helped lead to conviction of a former Klansman in the 1964 killings. His funeral and burial will be Tuesday in Philadelphia.

The civil rights workers — Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner — disappeared on June 21, 1964. A deputy sheriff in Philadelphia had arrested them on a traffic charge and released them, but not before alerting a mob. Their bodies were dug up 44 days later under a dam, after Mississippi’s then-governor claimed their disappearance was a hoax.

The murders inspired the 1988 film “Mississippi Burning.”

Dearman purchased the Democrat in 1966 and ran it for 34 years. After his retirement, he became a founding member of the Philadelphia Coalition, a multiracial citizens’ group that pushed for further prosecutions in the killings.

“Come hell or high water, it’s time for an accounting,” Dearman wrote in a 2000 editorial in the Democrat.