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The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell
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The Freedom Summer Murders

by Don Mitchell

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My review on this book is possibly influenced by my love of the movie Mississippi Burning which I saw when I was in college. The movie left a lasting impression and the book filled in a lot of details that I hadn't garnered from the movie 20 years ago. I enjoyed reading this for a number of reasons: 1) The story is well told in terms of a biographical portrait of the three victims and what led them to Mississippi that summer. 2) It is well researched and includes materials from multiple sources including trial footage and original interviews. 3) Mitchell does an excellent job of taking what I believe to be an extremely important era history that should not be forgotten and making it accessible to young adults.

Curricular connection : this would be a great addition to a reading list about civil right , I also think it would be excellent to use in the classroom to discuss racial tension then vs. now and compare and contrast. ( )
  ECrowwwley | Apr 12, 2016 |
"When historians weigh the sixth decade of the twentieth century in the United States, they will call this murder one of the revealing acts of this decade. It was a planned, deliberate murder to try to prevent racial change; and it was committed by men who called themselves Christians and thought they were doing right. - William Bradford Huie

This particular quote stood out to me about the events that took place in this book from the dreams of what the Freedom Summer of '64 would accomplish by getting blacks registered to vote in Mississippi, the murder of the three civil rights workers by the Ku Klux Klan, the attempted cover up by the local authorities, and the amount of time it took to finally prosecute one of the men involved.

The families can take heart that as a result of the mens death a national spotlight was shown on the situation in Mississippi and the need for Civil Rights and Voter Rights Legislation was propelled forward.

The book is a young adult non-fiction which I did not realize when I picked the book up from the New Release shelf. With that said adults and young adults alike should take the time to read and learn about this part of our history. Plus it had some recommendations for further reading more adult oriented along with one movie and a documentary film.

This is one that should be on school reading lists not only for African Americans but for all to show that their were white Americans who embraced the fact they could not stand idle and even if it might be dangerous they needed to stand with their fellow man and help them attain the rights they already enjoyed. ( )
  yvonne.sevignykaiser | Apr 2, 2016 |
In 1964, two young white men (civil rights workers), headed down to Mississippi from New York to help register black people to vote. Andy Goodwin and Mickey Schwerner, along with a 21-year old black man, James Chaney, were murdered by local KKK (including local law enforcement). It made headlines throughout the U.S.

It's scary to read about the kinds of things that were happening in the South at the time; apparently Mississippi was the worst place to be. At the same time, it's heartwarming to read about the civil rights workers who went there, knowing what it might be like and that they were putting their lives at risk, to do the right thing. If they were all black men, it would never have made headlines like it did. It took years to bring some of the men who committed the murders to justice. This book also looked at little bit at the lives of the three men, in general, and what brought them to where they were. As this book is apparently marketed toward young adults, it was a quick read and it was populated with many photos of the people involved, their families, and the events. ( )
  LibraryCin | Dec 12, 2015 |
An excellent account of the brutal murders of Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi. I particularly like how Mitchell emphasizes the selfless devotion of these young men to the cause they passionately believed in and their incredible courage to work for it under extremely dangerous conditions. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
ARC provided by NetGalley

In June 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, one of the most horrific events occurred when three young men (one black and two white) were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi for trying to register African Americans to vote. The horror though did not end with their murder, but the failure of the courts to convict the guilty parties of their murder, some of whom were members of local law enforcement. This book, published on the 50th anniversary of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner’s murders, is the first comprehensive book for a young adult audience to understand the racial hatred and prejudices that led to these murders and the guilty being free for so long.

Writing about the murders and miscarriages of justices during the Civil Rights movement is never an easy task, particularly with these three murders, as many people want to forget the blind eye that turned to these types of events. Don Mitchell though shines the biggest light possible unto the event and leaves no stone unturned. Working with court records, printed sources, and original interviews with surviving family members, Mitchell sets the scene for readers. Mitchell doesn’t just recite facts...he tells us about the lives of the three young men, why they did what they did, who their families are, and those that were left behind with their murders. In a few short pages these three men become more than names on a page, but people that we know and care for. And then...they’re gone. Cruelly and violently murdered. Mitchell walks us through the scene, describes the murders, and recounts the efforts to bring the killers to justice...and the travesties that occurred while doing so. But Mitchell doesn’t just describe those that helped these men escape justice, he also describes the people that never stopped telling the truth, the ones that lived their lives in fear, but did what was right.

This is a timely and honest look at the Civil Rights era and how the government ignored lynchings and brutal murders, until two white men were killed. Mitchell lays out the facts that are clear for all to see and to make connections to what continues to be a problem to this day. This book should be required reading for all students, in the hopes that we can learn from the past to change the present. I give the book 5 out of 5 stars. ( )
  zzshupinga | Jul 12, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0545477255, Hardcover)

To coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Summer murders, this will be the first book for young adults to explore the harrowing true story of three civil rights workers slain by the KKK.

In June of 1964, three idealistic young men (one black and two white) were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi. They were trying to register African Americans to vote as part of the Freedom Summer effort to bring democracy to the South. Their disappearance and murder caused a national uproar and was one of the most significant incidents of the Civil Rights Movement, and contributed to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
THE FREEDOM SUMMER MURDERS will be the first book for young people to take a comprehensive look at the brutal murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, through to the conviction in 2005 of mastermind Edgar Ray Killen.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:06 -0400)

Coinciding with the fiftieth anniversary of the Freedom Summer murders, traces the events surrounding the KKK lynching of three young civil rights activists who were trying to register African Americans for the vote.

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