Andrew Goodman

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Andrew Goodman (November 23, 1943, – June 21, 1964) was one of three American civil rights activists murdered near Philadelphia, Mississippi, during Freedom Summer in 1964 by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

Contents

Biography

Andrew Goodman was born and raised on the Upper West Side of New York City, the middle of three sons of Robert and Carolyn Goodman, of Jewish heritage. His family and community were steeped in intellectual and socially progressive activism and were devoted to social justice. An activist from his early youth, Goodman graduated from the progressive Walden School; Walden was said to have had a strongly formative influence on his outlook. He attended the Honors Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for a semester but withdrew after falling ill with pneumonia.

Goodman enrolled at Queens College, New York City, where he was a friend and classmate of Paul Simon. With his brief experience as an off-Broadway actor, he originally planned to study drama, but switched to anthropology. Goodman's growing interest in anthropology seemed to parallel his increasing political seriousness.

In 1964, Goodman volunteered along with fellow activist Mickey Schwerner to work on the "Freedom Summer" project of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) to register blacks to vote in Mississippi. Having protested U.S. President Lyndon Johnson's presence at the opening of that year's World's Fair, Goodman left New York to train and develop civil rights strategies at Western College for Women (now part of Miami University) in Oxford, Ohio. In mid-June, Goodman joined Schwerner in Meridian, Mississippi, where the latter was designated head of the field office. They worked on registering blacks in rural areas to vote.

The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission was strongly opposed to integration and civil rights. It paid spies to identify citizens suspected of activism, especially northerners who entered the state. The records opened by court order in 1998 also revealed the state's deep complicity in the murders of three civil rights workers at Philadelphia, Mississippi, because its investigator A.L. Hopkins passed on information about the workers, including the car license number of a new civil rights worker to the commission. Records showed the commission passed the information on to the Sheriff of Neshoba County, who was implicated in the murders.[1]

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