- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 28, 2017

PHILADELPHIA, Miss. (AP) - Longtime Neshoba Democrat editor Stanley Dearman was remembered Tuesday as a man who pursued truth and justice during more than three decades at the newspaper’s helm.

Funeral services were held Tuesday in Philadelphia for Dearman, who died Saturday in Florida at age 84.

Dearman edited the Democrat for 34 years, longer than any of his predecessors, selling the newspaper in August 2000.

In a eulogy, James E. Prince III, the current editor and publisher, talked of Dearman’s fight for justice following the murders of three young civil rights workers registering blacks to vote in 1964.

In 1967, the federal government charged 18 people with depriving the workers of their civil rights. Only seven were convicted.

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.

Eventually, Klansman Edgar Ray Killen, who had been charged in the 1967 trial but went free after the jury couldn’t come to a verdict, was charged with murder. He was convicted of manslaughter in 2005 by a state court jury and is imprisoned at the state penitentiary in Parchman.

Prince on Tuesday compared Dearman to the biblical prophet Habakkuk, instructed by God to write plainly about the Lord’s goodness in the face of great evil, according to the Old Testament.

“His greatest gift was words,” Prince said. “He was stern and unbending, yet compassionate and kind.”

“If we all had a double portion of Stan Dearman’s justice and truth, the world would be a better place,” said the Rev. Dr. Dan Howard.

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Information from: Neshoba Democrat, https://www.neshobademocrat.com

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