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Private collection of Marvin Rich.

Searching a Mississippi river

The complete title of this twelve page pamphlet is Searching a Mississippi river for bodies of three missing young civil rights workers. Their bodies were later discovered, savagely beaten and bullet-ridden, a black day in the Calendar of Coercion. ( circa September 1964)

The pamphlet reports on CORE workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, who were kidnapped and murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi, a few months before the pamphlet was written.

Marvin Rich had talked with Andrew Goodman before he left New York for the Freedom Rides earlier that summer, and he met with Schwerner and Chaney in Mississippi the week before they died. When he read in the New York Times of the burning of a black church in Philadelphia, Rich called the nearest CORE office, in Meridian, to urge them to investigate. He was told the three were already in Philadelphia. They never came back.

The Calendar of Coercion in the pamphlet vividly describes Mississippi churches that were burned or bombed that summer, and prints quotes from the reports of CORE workers in the South. In the words of the pamphlet, these reports

were not selected as "horror" stories. They are, unfortunately, typical of what goes on day after day, week after week, month after month, even now under our new Civil Rights Law. We ask you to remember, as you read them, that this is America, the "land of the free".