Quantcast
Connect with us

Today in History: the KKK murder of three Civil Rights workers and the targeting of Black Churches

Published

on

Sunday’s anniversary of the disappearance and murder of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman in Philadelphia, Mississippi, has been made that much more relevant by the murders Wednesday of  Cynthia Hurd, Suzy Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson in Charleston, South Carolina.

ADVERTISEMENT

I learned about Schwerner, 24,  Chaney, 21, and Goodman, 20, when I was eleven and attended Camp Kinderland for the first time. Not only is there a bunk named after the three slain Civil Rights workers, but the late Carolyn Goodman, Andrew Goodman’s mother, visited the camp and spoke to campers and counselors. I remember her explaining that the two young Jewish men from New York City, Goodman and Schwerner, and the young Black man from Meridian, Mississippi, Chaney, had been beaten and killed by the KKK for participating in Freedom Summer, the 1964 campaign that engaged 700 young people from around the nation to join with local students and organizers to register Black voters.

It wasn’t until this week, though, when a white supremacist fatally shot nine Black members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, that I realized that Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were killed while trying to investigate an attack on another Black church. On June 16, approximately 30 KKK members waited until all but ten people had left the Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Neshoba County, Mississippi, beat them, and doused the church with ten gallons of gasoline, burning it to the ground.

At the time of the attack, Schwerner and Chaney, both organizers for CORE (Council on Racial Equality), were attending a training in Ohio, which was preparing volunteers for Freedom Summer.  One of the people being trained there was Andrew Goodman.  Learning of the attack, the three returned to Mississippi and, on June 21, inspected the charred remains of the church and spoke to the witnesses.

Schwerner had told Meridian CORE worker Sue Brown that if they weren’t back at the Meridian CORE office by 4:30, she should start making phone calls inquiring after their whereabouts.  Schwerner’s fears were realized as they drove from Shenoba County back to Meridian. Their car was pulled over, and County Deputy Sheriff  Cecil Price, also a Klan member, arrested Chaney for speeding and Schwerner and Goodman on suspicion of burning the Mt. Zion Church. Price contacted Klan members before releasing the three young men around 10:30 that night. As they attempted to make their way back to the CORE offices, Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were overrun by three cars of Klansmen, including Price, forced out of their car, taken to an abandoned road and shot. Chaney’s body was mutilated beyond recognition.

Forty four days after the disappearance, their bodies were found buried 15 feet beneath an earthen dam on a private farm. During the search for the bodies, Schwerner’s wife Rita, who also worked for CORE, told reporters, “The slaying of a Negro in Mississippi is not news. It is only because my husband and Andrew Goodman were white that the national alarm has been sounded.” Indeed, during the search, the discovery of the bodies of eight Black men, only three of whom were identified,  received little attention. David Goodman, Andrew’s younger brother, also noted, “It took two white kids to legitimize the tragedy of being murdered if you wanted to vote.” David Goodman said. Many attribute the passing of the Voting Rights Act to that very tragedy as played out through the murders Mississippi. (Though the Supreme Court gutted the Act in 2013.)

ADVERTISEMENT

The events June, 1964 and June, 2015, are part of the same legacy of racist violence which targets Black churches and human being for organizing against white Supremacy or for merely being Black. What will come of this latest act of racist terrorism, all of whose victims were Black?

For more about the the case and its legacy, watch this DemocracyNow! special. 

ADVERTISEMENT


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump just lost another effort to try and block Manhattan DA from from getting his financial documents

Published

on

President Donald Trump has lost another case against Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, who is seeking the president's financial documents as part of a grand jury case looking into possible bank and tax fraud.

https://twitter.com/neal_katyal/status/1296448357821566976

Trump had fought the subpoenas in court but the judge threw out his complaint Thursday morning, meaning that the case can move forward and that Trump must turn over the financial documents requested.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Trump is not immune from criminal prosecution and that he must comply with subpoenas. Vance had sought records from the accounting firm that Trump uses as well as Deutsche Bank, which has loaned Trump millions over the years.

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump aides scrambling to hide his ‘dumpster fire’ poll numbers to keep him from ‘flying into a rage’: report

Published

on

According to a report from the Daily Beast, aides to Donald Trump are doing their best to keep him in the dark about his terrible poll numbers prior to November's election out of fear of his wrath.

With the president's poll numbers plummeting in a match-up with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, White House staffers and campaign officials are trying to keep the president calm while at the same time working to turn around a re-election campaign that is floundering.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

‘I have a son and I want you to meet him’: Anderson Cooper chokes up welcoming his baby to the world

Published

on

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper announced on Thursday that he is now a father.

"It has been a difficult time in all of our lives and there are certainly many hard days ahead. It is, I think, especially important in these times of trouble to try to hold on to moments of joy and moments of happiness," Cooper said. "As we mourn the loss of loved ones, we're also blessed with new life and new love."

"On Monday, I became a father," Cooper revealed. "I am a dad, I have a son, and I want you to meet him.

He introduced Wyatt Morgan Cooper to CNN's viewers.

"He is sweet and soft and healthy and I am beyond happy. As a gay kid, I never thought it would be possible to have a child, and I am so grateful for all those who paved the way and for the doctors and nurses and all those involved in my son's birth."

Continue Reading
 
 
You need honest news coverage.  Help us deliver it.  Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free. LEARN MORE