Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner

Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner

Three civil rights volunteers participating in Freedom Summer efforts to register African-Americans to vote — two white and one black — are stopped and arrested in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price, a Ku Klux Klan member who had followed their car. Hours later, they are released and then re-arrested by Price, who turns them over to fellow Klansmen. The bodies of James E. Chaney, who had been savagely beaten, and Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, who had been shot, are not found by the FBI until Aug. 4. The FBI arrests 18 men, but state prosecutors say there is not enough evidence to charge them. Three years later, the suspects are tried on federal charges of “conspiring to violate the civil rights” of the victims; seven are convicted, and none serves more than six years. Decades later, through the efforts of Illinois high school teacher Barry Bradford, his students and reporter Jerry Mitchell of The (Jackson) Clarion Ledger, new information about the slayings is uncovered. In June 2005, Edgar Ray Killen, who was considered the ringleader and who by then was 80 years old, is convicted of three counts of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison.11 12

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