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 www.newspapers.com.)

-- 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: @
* "Mississippi Bombings Since June 16, 1964" (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, October 5): @
* 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: @
* "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 teacherweb.com, 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): @
* "President's Daily Diary, August 4, 1964" (LBJ Library): @

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: @
* "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 Digital Library): @
* 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" (The Hechinger Report, 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 barrybradford.com): @
* Killen record, Mississippi Department of Corrections: @

November 24, 2014
     Goodman, Cheney and Schwerner are awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
* White House announcement: @

June 20, 2016
* "Mississippi Ends Inquiry Into 1964 Killing of 3 Civil Rights Workers" (New York Times): @
* Department of Justice report: @

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, 1964" (Miller Center, University of Virginia): @
* CBS News special (June 25): @
* NBC News special (June 27): @
* Hoover at opening of field office in Jackson (video, July 10): @
* Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive (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): @

* 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): @
* Freedom Summer Collection (Wisconsin Historical Society): @
* 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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