During "Freedom Summer," 1964, three brave young men, James E. Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman volunteered through the Congress Of Racial Equality ("CORE") to help African Americans in Mississippi gain the right to vote. The Ku Klux Klan, aided by local police, kidnapped and brutally murdered J.E., Mickey, and Andy. An intense FBI investigation known as "Miburn" (which is short for "Mississippi Burning") led to the discoveries of the bodies and the identities of the killers. Despite overwhelming evidence and two confessions, the State refused to prosecute the killers. While some brave whites in Mississippi, such as the heroic editor Stanley Dearman and future Governor William Winter, called for justice, many more merely turned away.
The U. S. Department of Justice appointed one of the true legal heroes of the twentieth century, John Doar, to bring Federal charges (of Civil Rights Violations) against the killers. Against tremendous odds, Mr. Doar's successful prosecution led to convictions against many of the conspirators.
However, after 40 years, the killers had never been charged with murder.
Three high school students, Allison Nichols, Brittany Saltiel, and Sarah Siegel, worked with the Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman families, to bring about murder charges. They collaborated with citizens throughout Mississippi, law enforcement officials, the news media, and Civil Rights Movement Veterans to try and get the case opened. They produced an award winning ten minute documentary for the National History Day contest and have done countless interviews on the case. Their teacher even interviewed Edgar Ray Killen, the man convicted as the organizer of the murders of Chaney, Schwerner, and Goodman and helped discover the long secret identity of the secret informer! If you'd like a copy of the documentary, please e-mail him. Tapes are free, but we do request that you make a donation to the Andrew Goodman Foundation. Mark it for "Film Project." This supports the making of a feature length documentary about the case. Please enclose a note and tell them why you decided to donate!
We have been fortunate to have coverage from many national and international news media broadcasts, including NBC "Today Show" (Alexis Glick), the CBS Evening News (Cynthia Bowers), ABC National News (Nancy Wiener), Righttalk Radio, the Central China Television Network, and the BBC (British Broadcasting System.)' Locally, CBS -TV (Mike Parker) ABC-TV, WGN- TV and NBC-TV covered our efforts, as have over a hundred newspapers on four continents! For a sample of the newspaper accounts, click here. We are also grateful to our friends at "Parade" Magazine, The United Methodist Reporter, The Times Of London, and The Chronicle Of Higher Education for their coverage. (Any of the active links in this paragraph will allow you to view the original broadcast or article!)
"Preacher" Killen has been convicted. Seven other conspirators were not even charged. And many other unresolved murder cases from the Civil Rights Era need to be reopened. The FBI has announced that it will look into reopening more!!!!