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Three lives for Mississippi

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Three lives for Mississippi

Category: Movie Review

Subcategory: History

Level: College

Pages: 2

Words: 550

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Three lives for Mississippi
Three Lives for Mississippi is a literary work by William Bradford Huie that vividly details the heinous murders of three Civil Rights activists in Mississippi. The book is set at the peak of the American Civil Rights Movement in 1964, when Mississippi came into the limelight in the United States as a hotbed of bloodshed and black segregation in the wake of the Black Civil Rights struggle. Huie highlights the air of atrocities that surrounded the period leading to the Freedom Summer murders, which cast Mississippi as a venue for arbitrary and wanton murders. As a journalist working for the New York Herald Tribune at the time, Huie was sent to Mississippi on a mission to investigate the three murders.
The three activists killed included Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney, and Michael Henry Schwerner. Goodman and Schwerner were white men commonly referred to as outside agitators since they came from the north, while Chaney, a black man considered a Negro, was from Mississippi. Huie tells of how the three men met their deaths while on a campaign to register black voters in the state of Mississippi. This unfortunate event occurred as they set out to investigate circumstances that resulted in the burning of a church in the black community. The police arrested the activists on trumped-up charges, put them under custody for hours, before setting them free after dark. Their freedoms led them directly into the trap of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and were subsequently lynched.
The disappearance and subsequent murder of the three activists caused a widespread protest across the United States that led to the involvement of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The investigation, which was referred to as “Mississippi Burning,” led to the recovery of mutilated bodies of the three men. Even though this investigation was a step in the right direction, a cloud of resentment still took root, which resulted in a clamor for justice as the state government remained adamant and unwilling to prosecute the perpetrators. The federal government, however, prosecuted eighteen individuals on the ground of civil rights violations. Of these, the seven individuals who were convicted only received minor sentences that angered many who felt that the government was reluctant to follow due process of law.
Three Lives for Mississippi provides a melancholic account of the dedication of the blacks to oppose the oppressions meted out by the white supremacists. The on-the-scene account characterized by bloodshed and public outcry for justice and racial equality. True to the to the liberation ideology of the Civil Rights Movement, Huie’s fact-filled exposé offers a window into a past tinctured with misery and lawlessness. The book takes the reader on an emotional journey into a time when intimidation, bombings, vandalism, and murders were a routine occurrence. These were the methods of choice employed by white supremacists in tormenting black people of Mississippi, as well as their sympathizers. African Americans responded to these events with hostility as a way of agitating for freedom and the ideology of racial equality.
The author helps the reader understand the ratification of the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act of 1964 and 1965 respectively, which were the outcomes of the courage and tenaciousness of the activists killed by the Ku Klux Klan. Three Lives for Mississippi is unique from other books written on the same topic in the sense that it was documented not from the comfort of retrospection, but in the midst of the Civil Rights turmoil.

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