Federal agents identified a local "klavern" of Ku Klux Klansmen as the killers who chased down the civil rights workers late at night, shot [Andrew Goodman] and [Michael Schwerner] in the chest and beat [James Chaney] to death. It was Schwerner, despised by the Klan for his effective organizing work, that the Klansmen were really after, according to investigators. Chaney and Goodman were apparently killed because they were witnesses.
Some people say such cases should be left alone, that we're better off trying to forget such episodes, turn the page and move on. I say we should never forget. We need to remember Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney as symbols of hope. Those two northern Jewish men and one southern black man offer us Americans a powerful vision of inter-group respect, cooperation and mutual sacrifice in our increasingly diverse nation.
AP Photo/FBI - Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman, in photos distributed by the FBI in June 1964