The only complete on-thescene account of the heinous Freedom Summer murders in Mississippi
In the civil rights movement, 1964
was the year of Freedom Summer. On
June 21, Mississippi, one of the last
bastions of segregation in America and
a bloody battleground in the fight for
civil rights, reached the low point in
its history. On that steamy night three
young activists were abducted and
murdered in Neshoba County near the
small town of Philadelphia.
Their names were James Chaney,
Andrew Goodman, and Michael
Schwerner. Two were from the North
and labeled locally as "outside
agitators." Chaney was a Mississippi
black. The murders not only shook the
nation and shamed the state of Mississippi but also forced loose
the iron grip of white supremacy in the South.
William Bradford Huie was sent to this seething community
by the New York Herald Tribune to cover the breaking story.
Probing for answers and conducting interviews, he wrote this
documentary account in the heat of the dangerous and dramatic
moment, not in the safe zone of retrospection.
This is not a political or sociological study, a collection of
articles or a diary, but a journalist's fact-filled story of people
that fate brought together in a tragic confrontation. Huie tells the
history of each young man and studies the personalities of the
killers. He reveals not only the harrowing events in this heinous
case but also the prejudice of ordinary citizens who allowed
murder to serve as their defense of prejudice. He helps us know
the young martyrs closely and introduces us to their killers and to
the hatred and suspicion that led inexorably to murder. This edition
includes Huie's report on the trial three years later. Nineteen local
men were charged. Seven were found guilty of conspiracy but
none of murder.
William Bradford Huie (1910-1986), an Alabama journalist
and novelist who fought prejudice and hypocrisy throughout his
professional life, especially in his native South, wrote many books,
including The Americanization of Emily, The Execution of Private
Slovik, The Revolt of Mamie Stover, Mud on the Stars (all made into
films), and Wolf Whistle, the story of the Emmett Till lynching.
186 pages, 5 x 8 inches, introduction, afterword, index