The Crimes of the Century

In June 1964, the Klan in Mississippi responded, targeting New Yorker Michael Schwerner, a key figure in organizing local boycotts of biased businesses and voter registration.

On June 16, acting on a faulty tip, the Klan searched a local church meeting for him. When the discovered he wasn't there they burned the church and beat the churchgoers. Schwerner arrived on June 20 to investigate the fire.

He and two fellow activists were arrested by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price shortly after leaving the church, allegedly for speeding. KKK members followed Schwerner's car after their release, and the three were never heard from again.

On June 23, the FBI discovered the remains of Schwerner's blue station wagon and commenced a search for the bodies.

More than 15 suspects, including Price, were indicted and arrested.

Years of court battles led to only seven guilty convictions of the 18 defendants, but none for murder charges.

In 2005, the 41st anniversary of the murders, Edgar Ray Killen, one of the conspirators, was convicted of manslaughter.

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