Andrew Goodman was an American civil rights activist who was assassinated by members of the Ku Klux Klan when he was a child. He was an intelligent young student who possessed an inherent goodness and a strong commitment to social activism. His parents were ardent advocates for social justice and equality, which influenced him early on to become involved in social and political activism. As an activist, he volunteered for the Freedom Summer voter registration campaign in Mississippi, where he met fellow social activists Michael Schwerner and James Chaney. After being selected to investigate a fire attack on a Mississippi church, the three men traveled to Mississippi together and were later assassinated by members of the Ku Klux Klan, the organization that was also responsible for the church’s burning. Following the FBI’s discovery of the true story surrounding the trio’s disappearance, several criminals were convicted, but only on a charge of civil rights violation. Decades later, under constant media scrutiny and with new evidence emerging, the mastermind of their murders was sentenced to prison. Although Andrew lived a brief life, he was able to carve a very special and unique place in the hearts of people the world over. He was a selfless person, and his selfless sacrifice continues to inspire generations of social and political activists.
Childhood & Adolescence
He was born in New York City on November 23, 1943, to Robert and Carolyn Goodman. He was the middle son of three; Jonathan and David were the other two.
His family, as well as the neighborhood in which he grew up, were committed to intellectual and social progressivism.
He attended the progressive Walden School for his early education. He participated in the ‘Youth March for Integrated Schools’ in Washington, D.C., in 1958, while a Walden high school student.
He then enrolled in the University of Wisconsin–Honors Madison’s Program, but withdrew shortly after contracting pneumonia.
He then enrolled at Queens College in New York City, where he initially intended to study dramatics. Later in life, he was drawn to anthropology and decided to pursue it.
As a student at Queen’s College, he participated in the 1963 March on Washington and also protested at the 1964 World’s Fair.
Later Years of Andrew Goodman
He volunteered in the summer of 1964 for a special program assisting African Americans in Mississippi. He was accepted into the program and relocated to Ohio to complete his training.
He met fellow activists Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney in Ohio. He began his work with them on the ‘Freedom Summer’ project, the primary objective of which was to register African Americans to vote in Mississippi. Along with assisting the black population in voting, the campaign focused on providing educational opportunities for them.
Schwerner and Chaney were assigned to investigate an attack on Mount Zion Methodist Church, a black Mississippi church that had recently been burned by the Ku Klux Klan. He volunteered to assist them in their investigation, and the trio traveled to Mississippi.
On June 21, 1964, while on their way to the CORE office in Meridian, Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price arrested the three men for excessive speeding (a Klan member). Later that night, the trio was released from the Neshoba Jail.
According to FBI investigations, Price pursued the trio after their release and re-arrested them before they crossed the border into Lauderdale County. Price then drove them to an abandoned section of Rock Cut Road and surrendered them to other Klan members. The trio was then murdered and their bodies dumped in an earthen dam.
The trio’s disappearance made headlines, and President Lyndon B. Johnson eventually turned over the case to the FBI. The trio’s burned vehicle and fatally shot bodies were discovered in the earthen dam by FBI agents. Eighteen men were charged in connection with the case, but only seven were convicted, and that too for civil rights violations rather than murder.
The seven convicts were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to ten years based on a confession from James Jordon, a Klan member involved in the killings. Price was also sentenced to six years in prison.
Later, Jerry Mitchell, an award-winning journalist, located new witnesses and compelled the State to act, resulting in the case’s first murder prosecution. Edgar Ray Killen, the ringleader of this manslaughter, was convicted and sentenced to 60 years in prison for these killings in 2005. Killen is currently incarcerated.
Awards and Accomplishments
President Barack Obama posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner in 2014.
Personal History and Legacies
In 2002, he was officially named the ‘Goodman Mountain’, a 2,176-foot peak in the Adirondack Mountains town of Tupper Lake, New York.
His legacy and ideas are passed on to future generations through his brother David’s ‘Andrew Goodman Foundation.’
Estimated Net Worth
The estimated net worth of Andrew Goodman $5 million.