Labor and people’s history: Goodman, Chaney, Schwerner murdered in Mississippi
Photos of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner

Editor’s note: Today marks 54 years since the murders of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, also known as the Freedom Summer murders. All three were with the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The men had been working with the Freedom Summer campaign registering African Americans in Mississippi to vote. 

This is a repost of a People’s World article that originally ran on June 21, 2012.

On June 21st, 1964 in Mississippi civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner went missing. The three were kidnapped and murdered by the local police and the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia Mississippi. Chaney, an African American was from Mississippi and worked with the the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Goodman and Schwerner were from New York.

The three were working on voter registration at the time of the kidnapping and murder. They were lynched after investigating the burning of a church. The film “Mississippi Burning” chronicles the tragedy.

Mississippi officials refused to prosecute those involved for murder. As a result several were charged with depriving the murdered activists of their civil rights and served brief jail terms. For 40 years the case lay dormant until Edgar Ray Killen was charged with murder in 2005. Killen, 80 at the time was convicted and sentenced to 3 consecutive life terms.


Special to People’s World
Special to People’s World

People’s World is a voice for progressive change and socialism in the United States. It provides news and analysis of, by, and for the labor and democratic movements to our readers across the country and around the world. People’s World traces its lineage to the Daily Worker newspaper, founded by communists, socialists, union members, and other activists in Chicago in 1924.