Civil Right Acts Murders of 1964 Essay

509 WordsAug 3, 20143 Pages
Marie Mullins GOVT 2305 Civil Rights Act Murders of 1964 Summer of 1964 has been labeled as “Freedom Summer” and changed the lives of many. African Americans had one goal in mind: change their voting rights by registering as many African Americans to vote as possible. Many of the volunteers descended unto Mississippi die to its low percentage of African American voters that were registered in that state. On the night of June 21-22, three workers were shot as close range. Their names were James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. It took 44 days for the FBI to find their bodies and in the process, sparked a national outrage. However, the state government did not prosecute. The federal government tried to charge 18 individuals but, they were only able to get convictions for seven of them. Those 7 received only minor convictions. There were many more involved in the lynching including the Neshoba County Sherriff. In 1989, Jerry Mitchell saw the film Mississippi Burning, which peaked his curiosity with old civil rights cases that had turned cold. Mitchell began working with a high school teacher, Barry Bradford, to help develop the case a bit more in order to convince officials to reopen the case. Bradford was able to obtain an interview that he taped with Edgar Ray Killen and helped Mitchell identify Mr. X. Mr. X was the mystery informant that helped the FBI discover the bodies in 1964. Bradford, along with three of his students, also helped develop new evidence and find new witnesses. The pair created a documentary for National History Day Contest with the new information and findings included in the film. This, combined with national media attention and the high school students work in creating congressional pressure called for action. In 2004, several groups of people banned together including civil rights leaders and the Governor of

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