Freedom Summer 1964

Mississippi Burning & the LBJ Tapes

Mississippi Burning, 1964, by Kent Germany and David Carter

President Johnson and Mrs. Nathan Schwerner

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, Mrs. Nathan Schwerner                  
Introduction:

Earlier in the day, a car driven by the three missing civil rights workers--Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner--was found burned. Shortly before this phone call, President Johnson had received word that previous reports about the workers being inside of it were wrong. Here, he called Michael's Schwerner's mother to let her know. Three hours before the call, at 5:39 P.M., the President had met with Schwerner's father and Andrew Goodman's parents.

LBJ and Senator James Eastland on Mississippi Burning Murders

Transcript+Audio Clip
Date: 
Participants: Lyndon Johnson, James Eastland                  
Introduction:

On June 23, 1964, President Johnson was receiving news that three civil rights workers--Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner--were missing in Mississippi. Throughout this day and the next week, Johnson continued to follow the case closely, holding over 40 recorded conversations. In this call, Johnson reached out to Senator James O. Eastland, a staunch segregationist from the Mississippi Delta. Eastland declared the episode a publicity stunt, denied the existence of organized white supremacy groups in that part of Mississippi, and ridiculed Fannie Lou Hamer.

Unknown to Johnson, the three workers had been murdered by a group of white supremacists that included local law enforcement officials. A massive manhunt turned up bodies, but not of the three workers. Only after a tip from a paid informant were they discovered--over six weeks later--in an earthen dam southwest of Philadelphia.

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