Today in History: the KKK murder of three Civil Rights workers and the targeting of Black Churches

image via fbi
image via FBI

Sunday’s anniversary of the disappearance and murder of Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman in Philadelphia, Mississippi, has been made that much more relevant by the murders Wednesday of  Cynthia Hurd, Suzy Jackson, Ethel Lance, Rev. Depayne Middleton-Doctor, Hon. Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Tywanza Sanders, Rev. Daniel Simmons Sr., Rev. Sharonda Singleton, and Myra Thompson in Charleston, South Carolina.

I learned about Schwerner, 24,  Chaney, 21, and Goodman, 20, when I was eleven and attended Camp Kinderland for the first time. Not only is there a bunk named after the three slain Civil Rights workers, but the late Carolyn Goodman, Andrew Goodman’s mother, visited the camp and spoke to campers and counselors. I remember her explaining that the two young Jewish men from New York City, Goodman and Schwerner, and the young Black man from Meridian, Mississippi, Chaney, had been beaten and killed by the KKK for participating in Freedom Summer, the 1964 campaign that engaged 700 young people from around the nation to join with local students and organizers to register Black voters.

It wasn’t until this week, though, when a white supremacist fatally shot nine Black members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, that I realized that Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney were killed while trying to investigate an attack on another Black church. On June 16, approximately 30 KKK members waited until all but ten people had left the Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Neshoba County, Mississippi, beat them, and doused the church with ten gallons of gasoline, burning it to the ground.

At the time of the attack, Schwerner and Chaney, both organizers for CORE (Council on Racial Equality), were attending a training in Ohio, which was preparing volunteers for Freedom Summer.  One of the people being trained there was Andrew Goodman.  Learning of the attack, the three returned to Mississippi and, on June 21, inspected the charred remains of the church and spoke to the witnesses.

Continue Reading…

The sound of 310,000 people holding a moment of silence for climate change victims

Photo by Matthew Weinstein
Photo by Matthew Weinstein

Though you would have no idea by watching the Sunday “News” shows, an estimated 310,000 people gathered on Sunday in New York City for the People’s Climate March. The event, which was one of the over 150 protests held around the world, was the largest mobilization against climate change ever held. I attended the event, which was inspiring in its energy and diversity. But by far the most moving moment was when, at 12:58, people held a moment of silence which was followed by a wave of sound. I captured it, rather crappily, on my camera phone. Photographer, Brooklyn For Peace organizer, and fellow Camp Kinderland alum Matthew Weinstein described the auditory experience as,

a very powerful moment of silence for those who have fallen victim to climate change in poor communities around the world. An amazing hush came over the hundreds of thousands assembled. Then a minute or so later — a huge roar of the crowd traveled like a wave up the very many streets of assembled marchers – a noise to help wake and shake up the political leaders meeting at the UN next week.

I got chills when the noise started and I couldn’t tell what it was at first because I had never heard anything like it. But this is what democracy, and 310,000 people making noise, sounds like.

Originally posted on RawStory