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Episode 130 The 1964 Freedom Summer Murders

In June 1964, the Ku Klux Klan conspired with law enforcement in Neshoba County, Mississippi to kidnap and murder three young civil rights workers. James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were murdered in an effort to preserve segregation in the state and deter further civil rights activism. Despite dozens of indictments and a few trials, was justice served? What role did the state of Mississippi play in their murders?

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Recommended Documentary

Mississippi Sovereignty Commission Records

Read commission records that are publically accessible thanks to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History


Episode Resources

Mississippi Department of Archives and History. “Sovereignty Commission Online website”. (Viewed on July 29, 2023). <www.mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/>

Mississippi Encyclopedia. “Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission”. (Viewed on July 29, 2023). <https://mississippiencyclopedia.org/entries/mississippi-state-sovereignty-commission/&gt;

African American History. Cozzens, Lisa. “Brown v. Board of Education.” (Viewed on July 29, 2023). <http://fledge.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/early-civilrights/brown.html&gt;

Wisconsin Historical Society Freedom Summer Digital Collection. “Edward Hollander recordings [sound recording], 1963-1964; Audio 369A; WIHVH2870-A.” (Viewed on July 28, 2023)<https://content.wisconsinhistory.org/digital/collection/p15932coll2/id/11990&gt;

Jackson Free Press. “FBI Celebrates Civil-Rights Heroes”. (Viewed on July 30,2023) <https://www.jacksonfreepress.com/news/2011/jun/21/fbi-celebrates-civil-rights-heroes/&gt;

Famous Trials. “Mississippi Burning Trial Chronology.” (Viewed on August 1, 2023) <https://famous-trials.com/mississippi-burningtrial/1959-chronology&gt;

King Encyclopedia.”Freedom Summer.” (Viewed on August 1, 2023) <https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/encyclopedia/freedom-summer&gt;

Jewish Women’s Archive. “Rita Schwerner.” (Viewed on August 2, 2023) <https://jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/bender-rita&gt;.

Neshoba Democrat. “Mt. Zion to hold annual memorial”. (Viewed on July 31, 2023)<https://neshobademocrat.com/stories/mt-zion-to-hold-annual-memorial,87244&gt;

Pacifica Radio Archives, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. “Memorial service for James Chaney.” 1964-08-28. (Viewed July 28, 2023). <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-28-m901z42919&gt;.

History.com. “Freeom Summer.” (Viewed July 27, 2023). <https://www.history.com/topics/black-history/freedom-summer&gt;

Porter, Dawn. “Spies of Mississippi.” (Viewed July 29, 2023). <https://www.pbs.org/independentlens/documentaries/spies-of-mississippi/&gt;

Episode Music

Spirit of Fire by Jesse Gallager. Licensed under Creative Commons; Theme Song “Dark & Troubled” by Pantherburn. Special thanks to Phillip St Ours for permission for use