August 04, 2021
It was on this day in 1964 that the bodies of three murdered civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, were found in an earthen dam outside Philadelphia, Mississippi. The activists, all in their 20s, had disappeared June 21. It was “Freedom Summer,” an effort to raise the dismal voter registration rate of southern Black Mississippians amid rampant violence and repression by the Ku Klux Klan. Although state officials didn’t pursue murder charges until decades later, the killings helped galvanize support for the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.