Premiere: Mississippi JusticeHistorians in the News
tags: civil rights, Mississippi, political violence, video, Ku Klux Klan, Mississippi Sovereignty Commission
The Bitter Southerner is pleased to partner with the acclaimed PBS history series American Experience to present the premiere of a new short film called “Mississippi Justice.” The film tells the story of the murder plot that led to the brutal execution of three civil rights workers — James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman — in Neshoba County, Mississippi, on June 21, 1964.
“Do you trust the police? Do you trust courts? Do you trust your state government? Do you trust your federal government? If you have watched people commit murder and get away with it, imagine what the answers are.” Harvard Law professor Randall Kennedy asks these questions in the new short film, “Mississippi Justice.”
James Chaney, 21, Michael Schwerner, 24, and Andrew Goodman, 20, were part of the Mississippi Summer Project, a project that brought hundreds of volunteers from colleges across the country to help local Black citizens register to vote. James Chaney was from Meridian, Mississippi, and had been engaged in activism since high school. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were both from New York City and were working with Chaney under the leadership of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to investigate the burning of a church near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Jerry Mitchell, whose latest book, Race Against Time: A Reporter Reopens the Unsolved Murder Cases of the Civil Rights Era, has spent decades of his journalistic career investigating murders of the civil rights movement. In “Mississippi Justice,” Mitchell explains how a state intelligence agency, known as the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, enabled local police and the Ku Klux Klan to plan the abduction and execution of the young activists.
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