Mississippi Civil Rights Workers' Murders - Investigation


For a while, the trail went cold. When the FBI offered a $25,000 reward for news of the workers' whereabouts, a break came in the case. After paying at least one participant in the crime for details, the FBI found the men's bodies on August 4. They were buried in an earthen dam on Olen Burrage's Old Jolly Farm, six miles southwest of Philadelphia, Mississippi. Schwerner and Goodman had each been shot once in the heart; Chaney, a black man, had been beaten and shot three times.

Unconvinced by the assurances of the Memphis-based agents, Sullivan elected to wait in Memphis ... for the start of the "invasion" of nothern students ... Sullivan's instinctive decision to stick around Memphis proved correct. Early Monday morning, June 22, he was informed of the disappearance ... he was ordered to Meridian. The town would be his home for the next nine months.

—-Cagin & Dray, We Are Not Afraid-The Story of Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi, 1988

Known as "Mr. X", the identity of the informant was a closely held secret by the government for 40 years. In the process of studying the case, journalist Jerry Mitchell and teacher Barry Bradford uncovered his identity: Maynard King, a highway patrolman who had been tipped off by Klansman Pete Jordan.

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