The '60s at 50


Thursday, July 23, 1964: Civil Rights Act arrests

GREENWOOD, Miss., July 24 -- The FBI has made its first arrests under the public accommodations sections of the new Civil Rights Act yesterday.
     Agents of the bureau charged three Greenwood white men with a conspiracy designed to keep a Negro from going to a movie theater. ...
     The FBI charged the three with "unlawfully conspiring to injure, oppress, threaten, and intimidate" Silas McGhee, 21, of Greenwood, "in the free exercise of his right to full and equal enjoyment of a motion picture picture house, the Leflore Theatre."
     On July 16, Mr. McGhee staggered into the Greenwood FBI office, bleeding from head wounds and suffering from shock.
     Mr. McGhee, a staff worker with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committe, said the three, in a pickup truck, forced him at the point of a gun to accompany them.
     He said they asked him if he had been to the movie the previous night, When he replied yes, he said, he was beaten with a pipe and a board.
     -- Associated Press (full story: @)
     -- Photo of Leflore Theatre in the 1940s; from (link: @)

Note: The men were indicted, tried and found innocent.
     * "Federal Jury Indicts Three" (United Press International, January 1965): @
     * "Find Mississippians Innocent in Beating" (UPI, October 1966): @

More about the incident and the McGhee family
* "Freedom Summer Incident Summary by City or County" (Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive; scroll down to Greenwood): @
* "Miss. Woman Arrested After Punching Cop In Nose" (Jet magazine, September 1964): @
* "The McGhees: If You Don't Fight For It, You Don't Need It" (from "I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle," Charles M. Payne, 1995): @
* McGhee and his family are mentioned in several passages in "Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years" (Taylor Branch, 1997; search for "McGhee"): @
* Passage from "The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement," Bob Zellner, 2008): @
* "The Shooting of Silas McGhee" (Linda Wetmore Halpern, 2010): @
* Passage from "Student Activism and Civil Rights in Mississippi: Protest Politics and the Struggle for Racial Justice, 1960-1965," James P. Marshall, 2013): @
* "Freedom Summer, 1964: Did It Really Change Mississippi?" (Nikole Hannah-Jones, The Atlantic magazine, July 2014): @

Other resources
* "Saturday, July 6, 1963: Greenwood, Mississippi" (earlier blog post; I'm fairly sure, though not absolutely certain, that the event featuring Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan took place on the McGhee family farm): @
* "Greenwood Theatre Torn Down By City" (Jackson Daily News, January 1969): @ 


Thursday, July 16, 1964: 'Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice'

Accepting the Republican nomination for president, Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater tells delegates at the GOP national convention in San Francisco:

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice. And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.

The "extremism" issue had come largely from New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, whose pursuit of the GOP nomination failed as his party embraced more conservative views. Rockefeller (and in turn, the Democrats) warned that the Goldwater forces were a threat to peace and progress.

* Video of speech (C-SPAN via NBC): @
* Transcript of speech (Washington Post via Arizona Historical Foundation): @
* New York Times story, July 15: @
* Associated Press story, July 17 (note error in headline, which says "pursuit of happiness" instead of "pursuit of justice"): @
* United Press International story, July 17: @
* Life magazine, July 24: @
* "Goldwater Clarifies 'Extremism' " (Miami News, August 10): @
* Party platform (American Presidency Project): @
* Portion of Rockefeller speech to the convention (C-SPAN via NBC): @
* "Remarks on extremism at the 1964 Republican National Convention" (July 14; Rockefeller Archive Center; note: prepared remarks differ from speech): @
* Closing part of Rockefeller's speech ( @
* Rockefeller's "Call for a United Republican Party in the 1964 Election" (July 14, 1963; Facts on File History Database Center): @
* "The 1964 Republican Campaign" ("The Rockefellers," PBS): @
* "Margaret Chase Smith for President" (Maine History Online): @
* "1964: The Conventions" (U.S. Information Agency): @
* "The Delegate" (documentary, National Educational Television): @
* 1964 campaign commercials (The Living Room Candidate, Museum of the Modern Image): @
* "Election of 1964" (from "Presidential Campaigns: Documents Decoded," Daniel M. Shea and Brian M. Harward, 2013): @
* "Overviews & Chronologies: 1964" (Presidential Campaigns & Elections Reference): @
* "LBJ Fights the White Backlash: The Racial Politics of the 1964 Presidential Campaign" (Jeremy D. Mayer, Prologue magazine, National Archives): @
* "1964 Republican Convention: Revolution From The Right" (Rick Perlstein, Smithsonian magazine, August 2008): @
* "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus" (Perlstein, 2001): @
* "Turning Right in the Sixties: The Conservative Capture of the GOP" (Mary C. Brennan, 1995): @
* Review of "Turning Right" (Matthew Dallek, The Atlantic, 1995): @
* "The Rise of the Counter-Establishment: The Conservative Ascent to Political Power" (Sidney Blumenthal, 2008): @
* "Barry Goldwater and the Remaking of the American Political Landscape" (edited by Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, 2013): @ 


Thursday, July 2, 1964: Civil Rights Act of 1964

The civil rights bill, called America's commitment to justice and equality for all citizens, completed its Congressional journey Thursday and was signed by President Johnson into the law of the land.
     -- United Press International

     -- Associated Press story: @
     -- New York Times story: @
     -- UPI story, July 3: @

* Complete document (National Archives): @
* Text ( @
* President Johnson's remarks (transcript and video; from Miller Center): @
* "Teaching With Documents: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission" (National Archives): @
* "The Civil Rights Act of 1964: What's in it ... How you can use it to obtain the Rights it guarantees" (Leadership Conference on Civil Rights): @
* "July 2, 1964" (The Civil Rights Documentation Project 1964, The Dirksen Congressional Center): @
* "The Civil Rights Act of 1964" (Google Cultural Institute): @
* Summary (U.S. Commission on Civil Rights)@ 
* Summary (from "Encyclopedia of the United States Congress," 2007): @
* "A Deeper Look at the Politicians Who Passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964" (Smithsonian magazine, 2014): @
* Newsreel: @
* "Major Features of the Civil Rights Act of 1964" (; includes overview): @
* Chronology (; includes links to overview): @
* "Title VII: A Legislative History" (Francis J. Vaas, Boston College Law Review, 1966): @
* "The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Passage of the Law That Ended Racial Segregation" (Robert D. Loevy, 1997): @
* "When Freedom Would Triumph: The Civil Rights Struggle in Congress, 1954-1968" (Robert Mann, 2007): @
* "An Idea Whose Time Has Come" (Todd S. Purdum, 2014): @
* "The Bill of the Century" (Clay Risen, 2014): @
* "How LBJ Saved the Civil Rights Act" (Michael O'Donnell, The Atlantic, 2014): @ 


Monday, June 22, 1964: 'I know it when I see it'

As part of his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio -- ruling that the French film "Les Amants" ("The Lovers") was not obscene and thus the state of Ohio could not ban its showing or prosecute a theater owner for having done so -- U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart wrote what would become a well-known phrase, if not a strict legal definition.

I have reached the conclusion ... that under the First and Fourteenth Amendments, criminal laws in this area are constitutionally limited to hard-core pornography. I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that.

* Summary (from ACLU of Ohio): @
* Transcript of ruling (from Legal Information Institute, Cornell University): @
* Oral arguments (from @
* "Fifty Years of "I know it when I see it' " (from @
* "On 'I Know It When I See It' " (Paul Gewirtz, Yale Law Journal, 1996): @
* "Movie Day at the Supreme Court or 'I Know It When I See It': A History of the Definition of Pornography" (from @ 


Sunday, June 21, 1964: Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner

-- Quote from an equipment operator hired by the FBI to dig for the bodies. The man was interviewed by The Meridian Star for a story published September 20, 1964; he was not identified, saying he feared for his life. The story was distributed by United Press International; this image was taken from the front page of The Delta Democrat Times in Greenville. (Story available through

-- Photo from the FBI, made public in 2005 during the trial of Edgar Ray Killen (see entry below). 


"Good evening, three young civil rights workers disappeared in Mississippi on Sunday night near the central Mississippi town of Philadelphia, about 50 miles northeast of Jackson. The last report on the trio came from Philadelphia police, who said they were picked up for speeding on Sunday, fined $20, then released."
-- Lead story from "CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite," June 22, 1964 (audio, National Public Radio: @)



-- Neshoba County map from "Three Lives for Mississippi" (William Bradford Huie, 1965): @

May 31: Meeting at Mt. Zion UMC
     Michael Henry Schwerner (24, New York) and James Earl Chaney (21, Meridian, Mississippi) speak at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church in the Longdale community, just west of Philadelphia in Neshoba County. They and church members were making plans for the church to house a Freedom School.
* Earlier post on Freedom Summer: @

Tuesday, June 16: Mt. Zion burns

-- Photo taken June 17 by Associated Press

     "Night riders struck Neshoba County in north-central Mississippi Tuesday when a Negro church was surrounded by armed white men, most of them masked. Three Negroes attending a church board meeting were beaten and were chased away. A short time later the church went up in flames." -- New York Times, June 21: @
* Account from Junior Roosevelt Cole, lay leader of church: @
* "Churches and Buildings Burned and Bombed Since June 16, 1964" (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, August 1): @
* Church website: @

Saturday, June 20: Arrival in Mississippi

-- Postcard written by Andrew Goodman, postmarked June 21. Image from The Andrew Goodman Foundation (link below).

     Goodman (20, New York), Chaney and Schwerner reach Meridian after driving from Freedom Summer training in Oxford, Ohio.

Sunday, June 21: Disappearance 
     "The Neshoba County Sheriff's Office said today three civil rights workers were arrested on a charge of speeding Sunday and released after paying a $20 fine. The Council of Federated Organizations said the trio has been unaccounted for since Sunday afternoon." -- Associated Press, June 22 (story: @)
* "3 in Rights Drive Reported Missing" (New York Times, June 23): @
* Memo, probably from Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (June 22): @

Sunday, June 21: Death
   Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner drive to Longdale, site of the burned church. En route back to Meridian in mid-afternoon, they are arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price (Cheney on a speeding charge, Goodman and Schwerner on suspicion of arson in the church fire) and taken to the county jail in Philadelphia. Price releases the three around 10:30 p.m. Leaving Philadelphia, their station wagon is overtaken on a rural road by Price and other members of the Ku Klux Klan. The three are driven to another area where they are shot dead. Their bodies are then moved to the site of an earthen dam, where they are buried nearly 20 feet down.
* "Post Mortem Examination Report of the Body of James Chaney" (David M. Spain, M.D., August 7): @

Tuesday, June 23: Car found

-- Photo by Associated Press via FBI

     "The car driven by three integrationists who disappeared after being arrested last Sunday night here has been found by Federal Bureau of Investigation officers about 13 miles from Philadelphia, in the northeast corner of Neshoba County. The car, a 1963 or 1964 Ford station wagon, was located in heavy sweetgum growth on Highway 21, about 100 feet from the Bogue Chitto creek and about 100 feet off the highway. The station wagon had been burned." -- Neshoba Democrat, June 25: @
* Rights Workers Still Missing" (The Student Voice, publication of SNCC, June 30): @

Monday, June 29: FBI poster

-- Image from Mississippi Department of Archives and History: @

* "The Limpid Shambles of Violence" (Life magazine, July 3): @

Tuesday, August 4: Bodies found

-- Photo by Bill Eppridge for Life magazine, August 14 issue (story: @). Caption: "FBI agents stand under an awning at the excavated dam to search for clues. Arrow marks the actual grave, covered with a white sheet."

DeLoach: Mr. President?
Johnson: Yeah.
DeLoach: Mr. Hoover wanted me to call you, sir, immediately and tell you that the FBI has found three bodies six miles southwest of Philadelphia, Mississippi, the six miles west of where the civil rights workers were last seen on the night of June 21st. A search party of agents turned up the bodies just about 15 minutes ago while they were digging in the woods and underbrush several hundred yards off Route 21 in that area. We're going to get a coroner there right away, sir, and we're going to move those bodies into Jackson, Mississippi, where we hope they can be identified. We have not identified them as yet as the three missing men. But we have every reason to believe that they are the three missing men. They were under a -- they were at the site of a dam that had been constructed near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Wanted to let you know right away, sir.
 -- Telephone conversation between the FBI's Cartha "Deke" DeLoach and President Johnson, just after 8 p.m.

* Transcript (from, page 217): @
* Audio (from LBJ Library): @
* Oral history with DeLoach (from LBJ Library; remarks on the Mississippi case begin on page 45): @
* "Rights Trio Bodies Found?" (Associated Press, August 5): @
* "Bodies of 3 Missing Rights Workers Found" (UPI, August 5): @
* "Three Murdered Workers Found" (The Student Voice, August 12): @

Friday, August 7: Funeral for James Chaney in Meridian

-- Photo of funeral procession by Bill Eppridge

* "Tragedy in Mississippi: Deep-Seated Feelings of Negroes are Reflected in Funeral for Slain Civil Rights Worker" (New York Times, August 8): @
* "Emotional Appeal Marks Rights Worker's Funeral" (UPI, August 8): @
* "Triple Lynching" (Baltimore Afro-American, August 8): @
* Funeral announcement (Tougaloo College Archives): @
* Funeral program (Queens College Civil Rights Archives): @
* Eulogies by Dave Dennis and the Rev. Edwin King (begins on page 55; from "A Righteous Anger in Mississippi: Genre Constraints and Breaking Precedence," William H. Lawson, Florida State University, 2004): @

Sunday, August 9: Funerals for Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in New York

-- Photo by Associated Press. Caption: "The mothers of the three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi leave the meeting hall of the Society for Ethical Culture, where funeral services were held for 20-year-old Andrew Goodman." From left: Fannie Lee Chaney, Carolyn Goodman and Anne Schwerner.

     "Joined hand to hand and chanting 'we shall overcome,' thousands of white and Negro mourners paid tribute Sunday night to two white civil rights workers slain in Mississippi." -- Associated Press, August 10 (story: @)
* "Andrew Goodman 1943-1964" (a collection of eulogies, Carolyn Goodman Papers, Wisconsin Historical Society): @
* "Nation Mourns Slain Workers" (The Student Voice, August 19): @
* Excerpt from "To Serve the Living" (Suzanne E. Smith, 2010): @

Monday, August 10: Neshoba County Fair opens
     "The white people of Neshoba County put aside today talk of the murder of three civil rights workers and flocked to their fairgrounds for a week or reunion, fun and politics. But the 'nigra issue' was present, nevertheless, just as it has been since the turn of the century ... J.B. Hillman, the 86-year-old chairman, who is as much an institution as the fair itself, said the people were determined not to let the scandal dampen the festivities." -- New York Times, published August 9: @
* The Klan-Ledger, Special Neshoba County Fair Edition (White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi): @

Friday, December 18: 'Day of Accusation in Mississippi'

-- Photo by Bill Reed, showing Neshoba County deputy sheriff Cecil Price and Sheriff Lawrence Rainey during their arraignment in Meridian, as it appeared across two pages in the December 18 edition of Life magazine (story begins on page 34: @).  Image from Iconic Photos

Friday, October 20, 1967: Convictions

-- Photo by Jack Thornell, Associated Press. Caption: "Neshoba County Sheriff Deputy Cecil Price holds a copy of the Meridian Star newspaper as he awaits the verdict in the murder trial of three civil rights workers ... Price was convicted on conspiracy charges along with six other defendants. At left is Edgar Ray Killen ... whose case ended in mistrial."

* "News of Mississippi 'Justice' Silences Band, Shopkeepers" (UPI, November 4): @
* Trial summary (Douglas Linder, University of Missouri-Kansas City): @
* "Trial transcripts in the case United States v. Price, et al. (also known as the Mississippi Burning' incident)" 1967 (U.S. Department of Justice): @ 

Sunday, August 3, 1980: Ronald Reagan speech

-- Photo by Ron Edmonds. Caption: "Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan and wife, Nancy, share a chuckle as they try rocking chair presented them during their visit to the Neshoba County Fair. The visit to the fair billed as 'Mississippi's Giant Houseparty' marked the first time a major party nominee had ever addressed the fair."

     Reagan's speech took place a little more than two weeks after he won his party's nomination. He was criticized for his choice of venues and for saying, "I believe in states' rights," that term having been used through the years as an argument against enforced integration. Reagan went on to carry Mississippi, narrowly, in the November election against Democrat Jimmy Carter. He won 56.5% of the vote in Neshoba County.
* Transcript (The Neshoba Democrat): @
* Recording (Reagan's speech begins just before the 18:00 mark; from @
* Mississippi results of 1980 election, by county (Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections): @
* "Red, White and Blue-Gray" (Walker Percy, The Commonweal, December 1961): @

Wednesday, June 21, 1989: Mississippi apologizes
     Mississippi Secretary of State Dick Molpus, a native of Philadelphia, addresses a memorial service at Mt. Zion UMC. Speaking to the victims' families, he says: "We deeply regret what happened here 25 years ago. We wish we could undo it. We are profoundly sorry that they are gone. We wish we could bring them back."
* Text (The Philadelphia Coalition): @
* "The '64 Civil Rights Murders: The Struggle Continues" (Jesse Kornbluth, New York  Times Magazine, July 1989): @
* "Q&A with Dick Molpus" (Washington Monthly, June 2014): @

Wednesday, June 21, 1989: Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner Day
     The U.S. Congress passes a resolution that states, in part: "Whereas the lifework of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner remains unfinished until all barriers are removed that bar the full participation of every citizen of this Nation in the democratic process of this Nation, especially in the election process."
* Text (U.S. Government Printing Office): @

Tuesday, June 21, 2005: Edgar Ray Killen convicted

     Killen, 80, whose trial in 1967 ended in a hung jury, is found guilty on three counts of manslaughter. He is sentenced to 60 years in prison.
* "Former Klansman Guilty of Manslaughter in 1964 Deaths" (New York Times, June 22): @
* "Ex-Klansman gets 60 years for 1964 slayings" (Story and video, NBC News): @
* "Racial Healing in Mississippi" (John F. Sugg, Creative Loafing Atlanta, June 29): @
* "Justice in Mississippi: The Murder Trial of Edgar Ray Killen" (Howard Ball, 2006): @
* "Out of the Past" (American Journalism Review, April/May 2005): @
* "Barry Bradford and the Reopening of Mississippi Burning Case" (from @
* Killen record, Mississippi Department of Corrections: @

Other resources

Related links can also be found in the earlier Freedom Summer post.

* FBI summary and files: @ and @
* Summary (Mississippi Civil Rights Project): @
* Summary ("Freedom Summer," Stanley Nelson): @
* Chronology (Arkansas Delta Truth and Justice Center): @
* "Mississippi Burning Murders (1964)," from "Encyclopedia of the Sixties": @

* "Student Activism and Civil Rights in Mississippi" (James P. Marshall, 2013): @
* "Transformed: A White Mississippi Pastor's Journey into Civil Rights and Beyond" (William G. McAtee, 2011): @
* "Devil's Sanctuary: An Eyewitness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes" (Alex A. Alston Jr. and James L. Dickerson, 2009): @
* "We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi" (Seth Cagin and Phillip Dray, 2006): @
* "Where Rebels Roost: Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited" (M. Susan Orr Klopfer, 2005): @
* "Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws That Changed America" (Nick Kotz, 2005): @ 
* Murder in Mississippi: United States v. Price and the Struggle for Civil Rights" (Howard Ball, 2004): @
* "The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission: Civil Rights and States' Rights" (Yasuhiro Katagiri, 2001): @
* "In a Madhouse's Din: Civil Rights Coverage by Mississippi's Daily Press" (Susan Weill, 2002): @
* "Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi" (John Dittmer, 1994): @
* "The Courting of Marcus Dupree" (Willie Morris, 1983): @
* "Witness in Philadelphia" (Florence Mars, 1977): @
* "Attack on Terror" (Don Whitehead, 1970): @
* "Mississippi: The Closed Society" (James W. Silver, 1964): @

Audio / video
* Conversations between President Johnson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (June-August 1964, C-SPAN): @
* "Mississippi Burning & the LBJ Tapes" (Presidential Recordings Program, Miller Center, University of Virginia): @
* NBC News special (June 27): @
* Hoover at opening of field office in Jackson (video, July 10): @
* Civil Rights Documentation Project (University of Southern Mississippi): @

* Matt Herron and George Ballis (Take Stock): @
* Bill Eppridge (near bottom of page): @
* From CBS News: @

Newspapers / magazines
* "Mississippi Eyewitness" (special issue of Ramparts magazine, 1964): @
* "The Lasting Impact of a Civil Rights Icon's Murder" (Hank Klibanoff, Smithsonian magazine, December 2008): @
* New York newspaper clippings (Carolyn Goodman Papers, Wisconsin Historical Society): @
* Various news reports (Wisconsin Historical Society): @

* The Andrew Goodman Foundation: @
* James Earl Chaney Foundation: @
* William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation: @
* Mississippi Truth Project: @
* Mississippi Center for Justice: @
* "Freedom Mosaic" (National Center for Civil & Human Rights): @

* Mississippi Sovereignty Commission archives (Mississippi Department of Archives and History): @
* Information Resources (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee): @ 
* "Neshoba County African-American Driving Tour" (brochure from The Philadelphia Coalition and the Philadelphia Community Development Partnership): @
* "Partial List of Racial Murders in the South in the Last 2 Years" (April 1963-March 1965, Poor People's Corporation): @
* "Civil Rights Martyrs" (Southern Poverty Law Center): @
* Account by Freedom Summer volunteer Jonathan Steele: @
* Rita Schwerner deposition in COFO v. Rainey (signed July 29, 1964): @ 

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