Today in 1964 — The bodies of three missing civil rights workers in Mississippi are found.
In the summer of 1964, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner set out for the Mississippi Freedom Summer. They were among almost 1000 students who had signed up to further civil rights in Mississippi through community programs and voter registration.
In anticipation of hostile working conditions, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for the Freedom Summer project had requested federal assistance in early June to protect the civil rights workers and enforce their rights. A June 10 letter to LBJ stated:
"The record is full of intimidations, arrests, beatings, shootings, and even murder, inflicted upon Negro and white citizens. It is clear beyond doubt that they cannot depend upon the State of Mississippi for protection."
Less than two weeks later, Lee White, LBJ’s aide, received a phone call informing him of the disappearance of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. The next day he wrote the memo shown above.
The remains of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were found on August 4, 1964. LBJ was at the White House, working on the passage of the poverty bill. His day was first interrupted by reports of a new attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.
During a Security Council meeting, the President received a call from Assistant FBI Director, Cartha “Deke” Deloach, informing him that the bodies, missing since June, had been found.
-from the LBJ Library
Memo to the Record, Lee White, 6/23/64, “Mississippi Summer Project Voter Registration,” Office Files of Lee White, Box 6, LBJ Library.
Memo, Alexander to White, 6/10/64, “Mississippi Summer Project Voter Registration,” Office Files of Lee White, Box 6, LBJ Library.
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