The blood, sweat and tears it took to pass the voting rights act and those on the front lines in Mississippi were remembered Thursday night at Tougaloo College.
Tougaloo was training ground and a haven for many who worked to register African American voters in Mississippi. Many of those who gathered Thursday night said it is a disgrace to the memory of those who gave their lives for the right to vote when citizens don't go to the polls.
The Mississippi Religious Leadership Conference brought together different denominations to work for civil rights in this state and to pass the voting rights act.
"It had to do with the number of bombings and burnings that were going on primarily of African American churches," said Rev. Duncan Gray.
"Individuals like Medgar, Mrs. Hamer, Winson Hudson, so many great individuals; the three men who were killed in Philadelphia, Vernon Dahmer, so many people gave their lives so that we could enjoy the right to vote," said Constance Slaughter-Harvey.
"We have more black elected officials here in Mississippi than any other state in the United States, so we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of that act," said Hollis Watkins.
Reminiscent of the movement to pass the civil rights act. participants left the celebration singing and marching on the Tougaloo campus.