Freedom Summer was a voter registration campaign organized by civil rights organizations. 1000’s of volunteers, black and white, joined the effort to increase black voter registration. The volunteers were terrorized by the KKK, police and state and local authorities. They were victims of arson, beatings, false arrests and even murder.
James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were investigating a church burning in Philidelphia, MS when they were arrested by deputy sheriff and KKK member, Cecil Pricede. They were released from jail later that night, never to be seen again.
A few volunteers left after their disappearance but most stood their ground. Freedom Summer organizers made sure volunteers understood the risks and an important part of their training was how to stay safe. James Chaney and Michael Schwerner were seasoned activists.
These young men knew what they were signing up for. They sacrificed their live standing up for what is right.