An update from Jazmin, a senior majoring in Spanish:
Today we went to Mount Zion Church, where two white men and one African American man – Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and James Chaney – worked during Freedom Summer just before their gruesome murders. The three activists were heavily involved in the civil rights movement, where equality was always a priority. Because Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were both white men who supported the movement, the Ku Klux Klan became intimidated by the kind of power and success the movement would obtain with white men on its side.
The three men had been working to register black voters in Mississippi during Freedom Summer. After investigating the burning of a church, the group was arrested by the police on non-legitimate charges. The men were imprisoned for several hours and released after dark into the hands of the KKK, who then beat and murdered them in the worst possible way. It was not until more than 40 years later that the murder case was tried. In addition, though there were many members involved in the killings, only one Klan member, Edgar Ray Killen, was convicted for them and sentenced to three terms of 20 years in jail.
My thoughts on this event were inspirational. Though the event occurred in 1964, the civil rights activists never stopped fighting for justice. The pain one can endure from the loss of a loved one is by far one of the worst that could exist. To know that a person you love was killed in such a horrendous way makes matters that much worse. I am proud that justice was served. I am glad that after all the wrong in the world, some good has come out of it. I was happy to know that the suffering of the people was heard.
It gives me much courage and hope that it was individuals that made a difference. We learn about the civil rights movement as a whole, and do not look at it in depth enough to realize that it was only about individuals.