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The Mississippi Burning Case And Trial

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The Mississippi Burning Case and Trial
Freedom Summer
The Mississippi Summer Project also known as the Freedom Summer, took place in the summer of 1964. It was organized with the help of the NAACP, SNCC, CORE and Robert Moses. The purpose of the Freedom Summer was to increase African American voting registration in the state of Mississippi. One of their main goals was to organize the Freedom Democratic Party. They hoped to challenge the white-only Mississippi Democratic Party, and set up Freedom Schools, with the intent to open community centers to African Americans seeking medical and legal assistance.
Over 800 volunteers moved to Mississippi to work on the Summer projects. There was a great loss that the members of the project faced. Three members and were found dead six weeks later. And so began the case of Mississippi Burning.
Mississippi Burning
The case of Mississippi Burning dealt with the incident of three Mississippi Summer Project Volunteers disappearance: Andrew Goodman, 20, Michael Schwerner, 24, also called “Goatee” or “Jew-Boy “by the KKK, , and James Chaney, 21. These young men were shot and killed on a road in Neshoba County because of their active involvement in fighting for African American civil rights and their voting rights. Neshoba County of Longdale had a reputation for “being hard on the blacks” (www.core-online.org). Lawrence Rainey, Neshoba County Sheriff, and his deputy, Cecil Price, were both members of the KKK. They initiated Plan 4 to do away with Michael Schwerner on Memorial Day and any other activists, so along with thirty men armed with shotguns they showed up to Mount Zion Church to kill him. They were unsuccessful as they did ...

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...ineteen men were arrested for “conspiring to deprive Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman of their civil rights under color of state law” (www.core-online.org). A jury of seven white men and five white women, ranging in ages from 34 to 67were selected as jurors. One man during jury selection even said he was a former member of the KKK, and was allowed as a juror. This biased jury was challenged. But the challenge was denied.
In the end, On December 29, Judge Cox imposed sentences. Roberts and Bowers received ten years, Posey and Price got six years, and the other three convicted defendants got four years. Cox said of his sentences, "They killed one nigger, one Jew, and a white man-- I gave them all what I thought they deserved"(www.core-online.org). Price only served four years and returned home to his family saying he was changed after watching the TV show, “Roots.”
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