An incident that woke the sleeping conscience of a nation.
In 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, Andrew Goodman volunteered for Freedom Summer, a program that mobilized hundreds of young volunteers to the South to register African American citizens to vote. At that time, African Americans were not permitted to vote unless they paid an exorbitant poll tax and passed an unconstitutional literacy test. They were also faced with outright intimidation, physical violence and murder. These appalling tactics were used to prevent them from voting, one of the many acts of injustice and segregation that were occurring blatantly in the Jim Crow South. Freedom Summer volunteers were determined to turn that racist policy around by assisting with voter registration.
On his first day in Mississippi, June 21, 1964, Andy along with James Chaney and Michael
Schwerner, went to visit a church in Neshoba County that had been burned under suspicious
circumstances. They never returned. After being arrested on speeding
charges by the local police, the three young men were brutally murdered
and their bodies dumped in an earthen dam. Despite a widespread
investigation, the bodies were not found for 44 days. When they were
finally found, the only charges brought against the mob who murdered
the three young men were federal charges of conspiracy to violate their
constitutional rights, not murder. Forty-one years later, in 2005, the
Klansman who planned the murders was finally brought to justice.
Carrying on his spirit and purpose
The Andrew Goodman Foundation was created in 1966 by Robert and Carolyn Goodman to carry on the spirit and the purpose of their son Andy’s life. Carolyn Goodman ran the foundation until her death in 2007. Today, Andy’s brother, David, and other family members continue to bring the story of Andy’s life and death into public view and support programs that carry on the spirit and the love that inspired Andy to travel to Mississippi in 1964. Learn about the Foundation’s Programs >
The mission of the Andrew Goodman Foundation is to recognize, encourage and inspire creative and effective action in support of human dignity, social justice and civil rights.
Read more about the history of The Andrew Goodman Foundation >