1964 – The bodies of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner are discovered

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner became martyrs to the Civil Rights Movement when they were lynched in Philedelphia, Mississippi. The three had traveled to the town to investigate the burning of a church which had hosted civil rights events, but they were arrested on trumped up charges, and then released only when they could be ambushed and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Their bodies were buried and their car hidden and burned.

A few weeks later, after a massive FBI manhunt (that only happened because Lyndon Johnson forced Bureau director J. Edgar Hoover, who hated civil rights activists, to do it), the bodies of the three were discovered, all shot dead – although while Schwerner and Goodman (who were white) were each killed by a single shot to the heart, Chaney (who was black) had been shot three times, and beaten severely before that.

The disappearance of the three led to a national outcry, and public sentiment swung dramatically towards favouring civil rights, allowing President Lyndon Johnson to push through landmark bills like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (signed into law less than a month later on July 2), and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Referenced in:
He Was My Brother – Simon & Garfunkel
Those Three are On My Mind – Pete Seeger

1964 – Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner are murdered by the Ku Klux Klan

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner became martyrs to the Civil Rights Movement when they were lynched in Philedelphia, Mississippi. The three had travelled to the town to investigate the burning of a church which had hosted civil rights events, a few days earlier.

Upon their arrival, they were arrested on trumped-up charges by Neshoba County deputee, Cecil Price. Price was himself a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and detained the three young men – Schwerner was 24, Chaney 21 and Goodman 20 – in the county police station for several hours, during which time they were not given their legally entitled phone calls, and callers to the station in search of them were told they were not there.

Once the Klan’s ambush was in place, Price freed the three men, then led them into it. All three were shot repeatedly, and Chaney, who was also black, was beaten severely. Their bodies were buried and their car hidden and burned.

The disappearance of the three led to a national outcry, and public sentiment swung dramatically towards favouring civil rights, allowing President Lyndon Johnson to push through landmark bills like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (signed into law less than a month later on July 2), and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Referenced in:
He Was My Brother – Simon & Garfunkel
Those Three are On My Mind – Pete Seeger