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Andrew Goodman

Andrew Goodman

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Andrew Goodman was one of three American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 civil rights activists murdered near Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,303 at the 2000 census.- History :...

, during Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer was a campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi which had historically excluded most blacks from voting...

 in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan
Ku Klux Klan, often abbreviated KKK and informally known as the Klan, is the name of three distinct past and present far-right organizations in the United States, which have advocated extremist reactionary currents such as white supremacy, white nationalism, and anti-immigration, historically...


Early life and education

Andrew Goodman was born and raised on the Upper West Side
Upper West Side
The Upper West Side is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan, New York City, that lies between Central Park and the Hudson River and between West 59th Street and West 125th Street...

 of New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

, the middle of three sons of Robert and Carolyn Goodman, of Jewish heritage. His family and community were steeped in intellectual and socially progressive activism and were devoted to social justice. An activist from his early youth, Goodman graduated from the progressive Walden School
Walden School (New York City)
__notoc__Walden School was a private day school in Manhattan, New York City that operated from 1914 until 1988, when it merged with the New Lincoln School; the merged school closed in 1991. Walden was known as an innovator in progressive education. The Walden School was founded in 1914 by Margaret...

; Walden was said to have had a strongly formative influence on his outlook. He attended the Honors Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison
University of Wisconsin–Madison
The University of Wisconsin–Madison is a public research university located in Madison, Wisconsin, United States. Founded in 1848, UW–Madison is the flagship campus of the University of Wisconsin System. It became a land-grant institution in 1866...

 for a semester but withdrew after falling ill with pneumonia.

Goodman enrolled at Queens College, New York City, where he was a friend and classmate of Paul Simon
Paul Simon
Paul Frederic Simon is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist.Simon is best known for his success, beginning in 1965, as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the pair's songs, including three that reached number one on the US singles...

. With his brief experience as an off-Broadway actor, he originally planned to study drama, but switched to anthropology. Goodman's growing interest in anthropology seemed to parallel his increasing political seriousness.

Civil rights activism

In 1964, Goodman volunteered along with fellow activist Mickey Schwerner to work on the "Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer was a campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African American voters as possible in Mississippi which had historically excluded most blacks from voting...

" project of the Congress of Racial Equality
Congress of Racial Equality
The Congress of Racial Equality or CORE was a U.S. civil rights organization that originally played a pivotal role for African-Americans in the Civil Rights Movement...

 (CORE) to register blacks to vote in Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

. Having protested U.S. President Lyndon Johnson's presence at the opening of that year's World's Fair, Goodman left New York to train and develop civil rights strategies at Western College for Women (now part of Miami University
Miami University
Miami University is a coeducational public research university located in Oxford, Ohio, United States. Founded in 1809, it is the 10th oldest public university in the United States and the second oldest university in Ohio, founded four years after Ohio University. In its 2012 edition, U.S...

) in Oxford, Ohio
Oxford, Ohio
Oxford is a city in northwestern Butler County, Ohio, United States, in the southwestern portion of the state. It lies in Oxford Township, originally called the College Township. The population was 21,943 at the 2000 census. This college town was founded as a home for Miami University. Oxford...

. In mid-June, Goodman joined Schwerner in Meridian, Mississippi
Meridian, Mississippi
Meridian is the county seat of Lauderdale County, Mississippi. It is the sixth largest city in the state and the principal city of the Meridian, Mississippi Micropolitan Statistical Area...

, where the latter was designated head of the field office. They worked on registering blacks in rural areas to vote.

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was a state agency directed by the governor of Mississippi that existed from 1956 to 1977, also known as the Sov-Com...

 was strongly opposed to integration and civil rights. It paid spies to identify citizens suspected of activism, especially northerners who entered the state. The records opened by court order in 1998 also revealed the state's deep complicity in the murders of three civil rights workers at Philadelphia, Mississippi, because its investigator A.L. Hopkins passed on information about the workers, including the car license number of a new civil rights worker to the commission. Records showed the commission passed the information on to the Sheriff of Neshoba County, who was implicated in the murders.

Schwerner had been working closely with an assistant James Chaney
James Chaney
James Earl "J.E." Chaney , from Meridian, Mississippi, was one of three American civil rights workers who were murdered during Freedom Summer by members of the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia...

, also a civil rights activist in Meridian. On the morning of June 21, 1964, the three men set out for Philadelphia
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,303 at the 2000 census.- History :...

, Neshoba County
Neshoba County, Mississippi
-Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 28,684 people, 10,694 households, and 7,742 families residing in the county. The population density was 50 people per square mile . There were 11,980 housing units at an average density of 21 per square mile...

, where they were to investigate the recent burning of Mount Zion Methodist Church, a black church that had agreed to be a site for a Freedom School
Freedom School
The Freedom School was located in Colorado, United States, offering a series of lectures by libertarian theorist Robert LeFevre from 1957 to 1968. LeFevre extended this work to the related Rampart College, an unaccredited four-year school, in 1963. Both shared the same campus...

 for education and voter registration.

Arrest, release and murder

On their return to Meridian, the three men were stopped and arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price for allegedly driving 35 miles over the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit. The trio was taken to the jail in Neshoba County where Chaney was booked for speeding, while Schwerner and Goodman were booked "for investigation". After Chaney was fined $20, the three men were released and told to leave the county. Price followed them on state route 19 to the county line, then turned around at approximately 10:30 p.m. On their way back to Meridian, the three young men were stopped by two carloads of KKK members on a remote rural road. The men approached their car, then shot and killed Schwerner, then Goodman, and finally Chaney.

Investigation and trial

The FBI entered the case after the men disappeared. They helped find them buried in an earthen dam. The US government prosecuted the case under the 1870 Force Act. The Neshoba County deputy sheriff and six conspirators were convicted by Federal prosecutors of civil rights violations but were not convicted of murder. Two defendants were acquitted because of jury deadlock.


Journalist Jerry Mitchell, an award-winning investigative reporter for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, had written extensively about the case for many years. Mitchell, who had already earned fame for helping secure convictions in several other high-profile Civil Rights Era murder cases, including the assassination of Medgar Evers
Medgar Evers
Medgar Wiley Evers was an African American civil rights activist from Mississippi involved in efforts to overturn segregation at the University of Mississippi...

, the Birmingham Church Bombing, and the murder of Vernon Dahmer
Vernon Dahmer
Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer, Sr. was an American civil rights leader and president of the Forrest County chapter of the NAACP in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.-Early life:...

, developed new evidence, found new witnesses and pressured the State to take action. Barry Bradford, an Illinois high-school teacher later famous for helping clear the name of Civil Rights martyr Clyde Kennard
Clyde Kennard
Clyde Kennard was a Civil Rights pioneer and martyr, born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In the 1950s, he attempted several times to enroll at Mississippi Southern College to complete his undergraduate degree started at University of Chicago...

, and three students, Allison Nichols, Sarah Siegel, and Brittany Saltiel, joined Mitchell's efforts. Their documentary, produced for the National History Day contest, presented important new evidence and compelling reasons for reopening the case. They also obtained an interview with Edgar Ray Killen
Edgar Ray Killen
Edgar Ray "Preacher" Killen is a former Ku Klux Klan organizer who conspired in the murders of three civil rights activists—James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner—in 1964....

, which helped persuade the state to open the case for investigation. Mitchell was able to determine the identity of "Mr. X," the mystery informer who had helped the FBI discover the bodies and smash the conspiracy of the Klan in 1964, in part using evidence developed by Bradford and the students.

On September 14, 2004 Mississippi State Attorney General
Attorney General
In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general, or attorney-general, is the main legal advisor to the government, and in some jurisdictions he or she may also have executive responsibility for law enforcement or responsibility for public prosecutions.The term is used to refer to any person...

 Jim Hood announced that he was gathering evidence for a charge of murder and intended to take the case to a grand jury
Grand jury
A grand jury is a type of jury that determines whether a criminal indictment will issue. Currently, only the United States retains grand juries, although some other common law jurisdictions formerly employed them, and most other jurisdictions employ some other type of preliminary hearing...

. On January 7, 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was arrested. He was found guilty of three counts of manslaughter
Manslaughter is a legal term for the killing of a human being, in a manner considered by law as less culpable than murder. The distinction between murder and manslaughter is said to have first been made by the Ancient Athenian lawmaker Dracon in the 7th century BC.The law generally differentiates...

 — not murder — on June 21, 2005, exactly 41 years to the day after the murders. He was sentenced to sixty years in prison—twenty years for each count, served consecutively.


New York State named Goodman Mountain, a 2,176-foot peak in the Adirondack Mountain town of Tupper Lake
Tupper Lake
Tupper Lake is the name of several locations in the State of New York in the USA.* Tupper Lake, a lake in the Adirondack Park.* Village of Tupper Lake.* Town of Tupper Lake....

, NY, in Goodman's memory. Goodman and his family had spent summers there.

New York City named "Freedom Place," a four-block stretch in Manhattan's Upper West Side, in honor of Goodman. A plaque on 70th and West End Avenues tells his story.

Cedar Springs High School has a memorial to honor Goodman. The day of his murder is acknowledged each year on campus, and the clock tower of the campus library is dedicated to Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner.

The Walden School, at 88th Street and Central Park West, named its middle and upper school building in Goodman's memory. The Trevor Day School now occupies the building, and has maintained the building's name as the "Andrew Goodman Building".

His parents Robert and Carolyn Goodman set up the Andrew Goodman Foundation to support work for social justice.

An outdoor memorial theatre exists at Cedar Springs High School in Cedar Springs, MI, dedicated to the Freedom Summer alums. Miami University's now defunct Western Program also included historical lectures about Freedom Summer and the events of the massacre at this theater.

Portrayal in culture

  • "Southern Justice" by Norman Rockwell
  • "Those Three are On My Mind" (Pete Seeger
    Pete Seeger
    Peter "Pete" Seeger is an American folk singer and was an iconic figure in the mid-twentieth century American folk music revival. A fixture on nationwide radio in the 1940s, he also had a string of hit records during the early 1950s as a member of The Weavers, most notably their recording of Lead...

    ) was written to commemorate the three workers.
  • The song "He Was My Brother" from Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
    Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
    Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. is the debut album by folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, released October 19, 1964. It was produced by Tom Wilson and engineered by Roy Halee. On its cover sleeve the album bears the subtitle: "Exciting new sounds in the folk tradition".The album was initially unsuccessful,...

     by Simon & Garfunkel is dedicated to Andrew Goodman.
  • Meridian
    Meridian (novel)
    Meridian is a 1976 novel by American author Alice Walker.-Plot summary:Set in the 1960s and 70s, Meridian centers on Meridian Hill, a student at the fictitious Saxon College, who becomes active in the Civil Rights movement. She becomes romantically involved with another activist, Truman Held, and...

    (1976), a novel by Alice Walker
    Alice Walker
    Alice Malsenior Walker is an American author, poet, and activist. She has written both fiction and essays about race and gender...

    , dealt with issues of the civil rights era.
  • The case was the basis (loosely) of the feature film Mississippi Burning
    Mississippi Burning
    Mississippi Burning is a 1988 American crime drama film loosely based on the FBI investigation into the real-life murders of three civil rights workers in the U.S. state of Mississippi in 1964. The film focuses on two fictional FBI agents who investigate the murders...

    (1988). Goodman is portrayed in the film by actor Rick Zieff and simply identified as "Passenger" in the film credits.
  • It also inspired two made-for-TV movies: The 1975 two-part TV movie, Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan
    Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan
    Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan is a 1975 two-part television movie, which dramatised the events following the 1964 disappearance and murder of three Civil Rights workers in Mississippi...

    , which was based on Don Whitehead's book (Attack on Terror: The F.B.I. Against the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi) detailing the events a week before the assassinations and up to the conclusion of the Federal trial of the conspirators. Actor Andrew Parks
    Andrew Parks
    Andrew Lawrence Parks is an American film and television actor.Born in Los Angeles, California to actors Larry Parks and Betty Garrett, Andrew Parks made his film debut at the age of eleven but did not continue his acting career for another eight years, beginning with The Strawberry Statement in...

     portrayed "Steven Bronson," a fictionalized representation of Andrew Goodman. The second TV movie was Murder in Mississippi
    Murder in Mississippi
    Murder in Mississippi is a 1990 television movie which dramatized the last weeks of civil rights activists Michael "Mickey" Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney, and the events leading up to their disappearance and subsequent murder in the summer of 1964. It starred Tom Hulce as Schwerner,...

    (1990), in which Andrew Goodman was portrayed by the actor Josh Charles.
  • In the Season 13 episode of the series Law & Order
    Law & Order
    Law & Order is an American police procedural and legal drama television series, created by Dick Wolf and part of the Law & Order franchise. It aired on NBC, and in syndication on various cable networks. Law & Order premiered on September 13, 1990, and completed its 20th and final season on May 24,...

     entitled "Chosen," defense lawyer Randy Dworkin (played by Peter Jacobson
    Peter Jacobson
    Peter S. Jacobson is an American film and television actor.-Life and career:Jacobson was born to a Jewish family in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Chicago news anchor Walter Jacobson. He is a graduate of Brown University and Juilliard...

    ) prefaces a speech against affirmative action
    Affirmative action
    Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

     with the phrase, "Janeane Garofalo
    Janeane Garofalo
    Janeane Garofalo is an American stand-up comedian, actress, political activist and writer. She is the former co-host on the now defunct Air America Radio's The Majority Report. Garofalo continues to circulate regularly within New York City's local comedy and performance art scene.-Early...

     herself can storm into my office and tear down the framed photos of Goodman, Chaney
    James Chaney
    James Earl "J.E." Chaney , from Meridian, Mississippi, was one of three American civil rights workers who were murdered during Freedom Summer by members of the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia...

     and Schwerner
    Michael Schwerner
    Michael Henry Schwerner , was one of three Congress of Racial Equality field workers killed in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by the Ku Klux Klan in response to their civil rights work, which included promoting voting registration among Mississippi African Americans...

    , that I keep on the wall over my desk..."
  • Inspired Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Steven Stucky’s evening-long concert drama August 4, 1964, which was based on the tragic events of that date 44 years ago: the discovery in Mississippi of the bodies of three recently murdered young civil rights workers and a spurious “attack” on two American warships in the Gulf of Tonkin. Commissioned to commemorate the centennial of the birth of Lyndon B. Johnson, it premiered to excellent reviews.
  • In Episode 1 of Season 4 of the TV series Mad Men
    Mad Men
    Mad Men is an American dramatic television series created and produced by Matthew Weiner. The series premiered on Sunday evenings on the American cable network AMC and are produced by Lionsgate Television. It premiered on July 19, 2007, and completed its fourth season on October 17, 2010. Each...

     Don Draper
    Don Draper
    Donald "Don" Draper is a fictional character and the protagonist of AMC's television series Mad Men. He is portrayed by 2008 Golden Globe winner Jon Hamm. Until the third season finale, Draper was Creative Director of Manhattan advertising firm Sterling Cooper...

    's date Bethany talks about Andrew Goodman : "The world is so dark right now". And: "Is that what it takes to make things change?"

External links