Wisconsin Historical Society Has Papers Of Slain Civil Rights Worker
The state’s Historical Society holds papers belonging to a one-time University of Wisconsin-Madison student from New York who was beaten and fatally shot 40 years ago for helping register Black voters.
Andrew Goodman, 20, was killed June 21, 1964, one day after he arrived in Mississippi to spend the summer helping register Black voters. Killed with him were two other civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, 24, and James Chaney, 21.
Earlier this month, Edgar Ray Killen, a 79-year-old former Ku Klux Klan leader, was arrested after being indicted on three murder charges by a grand jury.
The crime was dramatized in the 1988 movie “Mississippi Burning.”
Goodman’s mother, Carolyn, donated the postcards and other papers concerning her son to the Wisconsin Historical Society in 1971, reference archivist Harry Miller said.
The modest collection includes a map of the southwestern United States, on which young Goodman highlighted the cities in Mississippi where he planned to work: Meridian, Philadelphia, Brandon and Oxford.
Miller said Goodman attended UW-Madison for one year, then dropped out because of health problems.
The Goodman materials include the young man’s notebook, in which he jotted down almanac-type information about the places in Mississippi he was heading. He noted the population of Philadelphia and the number of people employed in Neshoba County, which is where Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner were pulled over for speeding and jailed for several hours. After their release, they disappeared.
Miller said the historical society is a center for study of the civil rights movement. It holds the archives of the Congress of Racial Equality, a group founded in the 1940s to battle segregation, and the papers of Daisy Bates, the force behind the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School in 1957.
— Associated Press
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