Themes

The Archive

Digital Archive brought to you
by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Schwerner, Michael Henry

b. 1939 - d. 1964

Michael Schwerner, killed during the Mississippi Freedom Summer of 1964, grew up in New York City where he became a social worker and joined the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). He and his wife Rita volunteered to go to Meridian, Mississippi. Schwerner and CORE workers James Chaney and Andrew Goodman went to investigate the fire-bombing of Mt. Zion Methodist Church near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Driving home, they were arrested. Released that evening, they were killed by Ku Klux Klan members who described them as “two white Jews and a N…..r.” Attorney General Robert Kennedy ordered the FBI on the case. Buried in an earthen dam, their bodies were not found for two months. Eighteen white men were charged with civil rights violations but not with murder. Eleven were acquitted or their cases ended in mistrials and seven convicted on federal conspiracy charges and sentenced 3 to 10 years. Not until 2005, with the work of Rita Schwerner-Bender and investigative journalists, was Edgar Ray Killen found guilty of manslaughter.

Associated Archive Content : 11 results

Ben Shahn on Human Rights

The following brochure advertises the contents associated with the Frederick Douglass Institute of Negro Arts and History located in Washington, D.C. This particular exhibition sponsored by Ben Shahn highlights the subject of human rights. The brochure contains sketches of Gandhi and Dr. King.

CBS's Face the Nation Interview

This is an official transcript of an interview on CBS's Face the Nation that focused on the Vietnam War. Dr. King explains his vision for the Civil Rights Movement and Antiwar Movements. The Great Society, Dr. King believes, is being shot down over Vietnam, as the funding for the programs are diverted to the war.

Draft of a Speech Regarding the Chicago Freedom Movement

This is a draft copy of Dr. King's speech on the Chicago Freedom Movement. The intention of this movement is to end slums in Chicago. Dr. King calls upon the poverty-stricken Negro, the middle class Negro, and the white community for assistance with this movement. Dr. King also states that years after the March on Washington, he has seen his dream turn into a nightmare due to the murders of civil rights activists.

Letter From Harry A. Ploski to MLK

Harry A. Ploski writes Dr. King concerning a book he and Professor Roscoe Brown have written. Hoping to solicit endorsement, he encloses a copy of the table of contents and an outline of the topics addressed.

Letter from MLK to Joel Crittenden

Dr. King responds to Joel Crittenden's concern about white hatred toward Negroes by making two points: 1) some whites have given their lives in the freedom struggle, and 2) hatred and violence must be met with love and nonviolence.

Letter from Robert K. Hudnut to MLK about a Monument

In this letter Robert K. Hudnut of the St. Luke Presbyterian Church offers an idea to Dr. King, namely to build a monument for those that have given their life in the line of civil rights. Hudnut proposes to call the monument "A Martyrs' Monument."

Letter to President Johnson about the Murder of Jonathan Daniels

This letter from Keene, New Hampshire to President Johnson is in response to the murder of Rev. Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminary student from Boston. Daniels was born in Keene. The letter mentions other murdered civil rights workers, condemns Southern justice and calls upon the President to introduce legislation permitting federal investigation and prosecution of racial violence.

SCLC Newsletter: Of Riots and Wrongs Against Jews

This draft of an article for the July-August 1964 edition of the SCLC newsletter discusses recent riots in New York City and Rochester, New York. The riots are a disappointment not only because they deviate from the path of nonviolence, but also because the rioters looted many Jewish-owned businesses. The article closes by listing examples of Jews helping in the fight for racial equality in the United States.

SCLC Newsletter: Of Riots and Wrongs Against Jews

Presented here, is a draft of an article published in the July-August 1964 edition of the SCLC Newsletter. The article highlights the discontentment of the author in relation to acts of violence against Jewish citizens.

Statement Before the Credentials Committee by MLK

In this statement before the Credentials Committee of the Democratic National Committee, Dr. King urges that the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party be seated and recognized at the convention. Dr. King declares that the Democratic Party in Mississippi itself is unjust and vows to keep black Mississippians off of the voting rolls. Dr.King uses the analogy of how can we as Americans preach "freedom and democracy" in Africa and Asia, yet refuse to provide its own citizens with such rights.

Transcript of MLK's Rally Speech in Yazoo City, Mississippi

In this transcript of Dr. King's speech to the citizens of Yazoo City, he addresses the issues of poverty and racism within the state. He explains that while Mississippi is a in a "terrible state," it can be improved through the use of the principles of nonviolence to help bring about social change.