This Day in Black History: June 21, 1964

Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are killed by a Ku Klux Klan mob in Mississippi.

Posted: 06/21/2014 12:00 AM EDT
This Day in Black History: June 21, 1964

It was one of the most brutal tragedies of the civil rights movement, one that drew international attention to the inhumaneness of the American South. Three young civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, were killed on June 21, 1964, by members of the Ku Klux Klan while working to register Black voters in Mississippi.

Schwerner and Goodman, who were both white, traveled with Chaney, who was African-American, on a trip passing through Philadelphia, Miss. They were pulled over by a local sheriff, who was a member of the Klan. Although they eventually were released and again set out on their trip, the three men were later stopped and taken to a secluded area where they were shot and buried.

Since their killings, the three civil rights workers have been widely viewed as prominent martyrs of the movement. Their deaths continue to serve as a vivid symbol of the intolerance toward granting voting and human rights to African-Americans in the South. The incident has been the subject of several films as well as a number of songs by popular American artists.

Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan

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(Photo: AP Photo/FBI, File)

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