The Freedom Summer Murders

The Freedom Summer Murders

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 1338115898

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In June of 1964, three idealistic young men (one black and two white) were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. They were trying to register African Americans to vote as part of the Freedom Summer effort to bring democracy to the South. Their disappearance and murder caused a national uproar and was one of the most significant incidents of the Civil Rights Movement, and contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The Freedom Summer Murders is the first book for young people to take a comprehensive look at the brutal murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, through to the conviction in 2005 of mastermind Edgar Ray Killen.

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parents ever having an overt conversation with her and her siblings about surviving in a segregated society. “We never had [a conversation] because parenting in the South was about preparation, and our parents parented us in a way to prepare us to move outside of our insular communities and to go across town to school, because that’s exactly where the Catholic school was.” The Chaney children were taught to respect all adults, both black and white. They knew that white people were to be respected

of the organization, like so many other branches throughout the South, did little more than collect membership fees. James and several of his friends decided that the NAACP should do something more meaningful than collect membership fees. So they made and wore NAACP “buttons” made out of yellow paper. Dozens of others at the school followed suit. The school’s principal was not sympathetic. The principal undoubtedly saw what James did not see, and that was the threat of retaliation from the

my husband’s life? Please don’t let them kill my husband.” Beatrice later recalled that her prayer “struck the hearts of those men. The Lord was there, because then the man said, ‘Let her alone,’ and he looked kind of sick about it.” With that, the white men threw Bud Cole into the weeds. The white man told the other vigilantes, “Load up.” And they left. Bud Cole was still alive. Beatrice went to her battered husband and helped him to their car as the attackers got in their vehicles and drove

bothered anymore that evening. Shortly before 1:00 a.m. that same night, nearby residents noticed a glow in the sky as the sixty-five-year-old Mount Zion Methodist Church burned to the ground. All that was left was the church’s bell. Beatrice had supported the church being used as a freedom school for that summer, but Bud had opposed it, fearing it would only bring trouble to their community. Nevertheless, his wife never regretted it. Beatrice would later say that “[i]f they’re going to kill

Carmichael, Stokely, 133 Carter, Esther, 137, 137–138 Carter, Jimmy, 153 Central Intelligence Agency, 107 Chaney, Barbara (Barbara Chaney-Dailey), 62, 63, 66, 150, 166, 172 Chaney, Ben, Jr. birth, 62 civil rights involvement, 74–75, 149 education, 149 James, relationship with, 74–75 after James’ disappearance, 110–111 at Killen’s retrial, 172 Killen trial verdict, attitude concerning, 177–178 move to New York, 148 photos, 67, 150 on race relations, 66–67 reaction to James’ death,

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