Three Lives for Mississippi covers the murder of three young activists who were killed at the height of the civil rights movement. The book was written by William Bradford Huie, a journalist who covered the murders at the time they happened for the New York Herald Tribune.
The men who died and inspired this book were named James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. They were abducted and murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi. The men were targeted because they were labeled as "outside agitators" by racist groups in Mississippi. The murders took place in 1964 and received national attention because of their connection to the growing American civil rights movement.
Huie uses his experience as a journalist to great effect in Three Lives for Mississippi. The result is a fact-filled story that examines these murders in a variety of ways. The book includes an in-depth look at each activist who was killed. It also spends time analyzing the personalities and histories of the men's killers. Importantly, Huie also spends time examining how these murders relate to the civil rights movement as a whole. He asks us to consider how ordinary citizens and their prejudices allowed this terrible event to transpire.
Three Lives for Mississippi tells the haunting and brutal story of "Freedom Summer," which took place in 1964. With the civil rights movement finally winning out, sanctuaries for segregation sympathizers were becoming few and far between. One of the last of these bastions was the state of Mississippi, where some of mankind's most wretched impulses found refuge and gave way to a bloody struggle for equal rights.
In Neshoba County on June 21st, three civil rights activists were kidnapped and murdered outside a small town called Philadelphia. Two of these men were outsiders from the north, and the third was a Mississippi-native black man. Though their deaths were tragic, they gave energy to the movement to fight to stamp out the stain of white supremacy in the south.
Three Lives for Mississippi by William Bradford Huie focuses on the author’s assignment to Mississippi on June 21, 1964, for the New York Herald Tribune. During this time, Mississippi was characterized by deadly riots as African Americans fought for equality. On the night of June 21, 1964, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were killed. The murders tainted the image of Mississippi and sparked public outcry. Huie was sent to document the story. He wrote about the events that led to the murder of the three activists and the reactions from the locals. The author reveals that justice for the three activists was not served, as the suspects were charged with conspiracy. Moreover, Huie shares in-depth revelations about the victims of the crime.
William Huie's book Three Lives for Mississippi was designed to tell the complete and unadulterated story of the three civil rights activists who lost their lives during the Freedom Summer in 1964.
Huie had been sent to cover the murder of the three men by the New York Herald Tribune. Upon arriving in Mississippi, Huie began to interview and question people about the men and the crimes.
In the end, Huie provides a documentary which details the lives both of those murdered and those who murdered them. Huie's collection of documentary pieces goes into great detail about the activists, the murderers, and those who closed their eyes to the murders of the activists.
In the end, the murders of the activists forced the nation to look at the prejudices of the south and the white supremacist groups which kept the hatred alive.