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The Freedom Summer Murders

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  607 ratings  ·  139 reviews
A gripping true story of murder and the fight for civil rights and social justice in 1960s Mississppi.
On June 21, 1964, three young men were killed by the Ku Klux Klan for trying to help black Americans vote as part of the 1964 Fredom Summer registration effort in Mississippi. The disappearance and brutal murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner cause
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by Scholastic Press
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Elena There is a picture of the 3 dead bodies in the dirt that concerns me, but it's not so graphic. The descriptions of how the men died is extremely graph…moreThere is a picture of the 3 dead bodies in the dirt that concerns me, but it's not so graphic. The descriptions of how the men died is extremely graphic. I have a fifth grade daughter and I am a bit concerned about her reading it, but... it's reality, and Lord knows she watches enough fictitious violence. I also teach middle schoolers about Social Justice, so I may have conversations with my colleagues about it. (less)

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Mackenzie H
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Freedom Summer Murders was a very deep and eye-opening book. It starts right off by informing you what happened to those three men during that summer. But trust me when I say that you will not expect what they tell you about those murders. I'm not going to go into details of what happened because it would ruin it for you. I will say that 97% of the time I was either mad or frustrated at the events and reasonings in the book. I couldn't, still can't, and won't ever be able to wrap my head aro ...more
Damien Goodwin
Really Really good book, especially for people who like history or other Crime/Murder books.
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Many people feel that this country is not yet at the place where the killing of a black mother’s son is as important as the killing of a white mother’s son. But the United States is closer to that goal than it was in 1964.” In the wake of tragic events across the country, from the Trayvon Martin case to that of the riots in Ferguson, MO, Mitchell’s biography could not come at a more important time. Thoroughly researched and organized in a fast-paced rea, interwoven with photos and other primary ...more
Anna Orsini
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
First of all, I am so glad that there is an account of these murders for young readers. We need our kids reading far more literature pertaining to race and civil rights. That said, there were a few things I didn't love about this book. The sentence structures were simple, as was the language. It read more like a biography/nonfiction book I'd expect to see a fourth grader reading rather than a middle schooler. Throughout the book, I felt like I was learning a lot of facts, but I was not moved emo ...more
Nevan Malwana
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
As famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “The time is always right, to do what is right.” These words of wisdom reflect the journey for a better world in the nonfiction thriller, The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell. In a time where people were judged on the color of their skin, it took courage to stand up to this age old system. James Earl Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were three men who saw the injustices in society and stood up to make a change. Th ...more
Adriana Osorio
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Pool
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
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Anaya Abtidon
Jan 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Freedom Summer Murders, by Don Mitchell, is about the murders of three young men in Neshoba County Mississippi. This novel is told during the civil rights and segregation times. Mitchell talks about three young men; James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Andrew Schwerner, during the summer of 1964. These men were civil rights workers, two of were white and one was black. These three men went to Neshoba County as civil rights workers to work at Freedom Summer. One night these men got pulled over ...more
Claire Almaraz
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
The book begins with the setting. The Freedom Summer Murders takes place in “Mississippi, like other southern states, operated under a policy of segregation, which meant keeping the white and black races separate” (Mitchell 3). The main characters in the piece, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael “Mickey” Schwerner, all want to be civil rights activists for the blacks. They formed a close bond and will soon come together for the first time.
In this book, there are three main characters. What
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
In the book “The Freedom Summer Murders” by Don Mitchell, the author writes about the famous “disappearance” of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. He explains how they were risking their lives in attempt to introduce change to the racist state of Mississippi even after being harassed on a daily basis and receiving several threats, that they constantly had to go through during their time living there in 1964. He also writes about the tension the case had brought to the whole nat ...more
Gaby Pfleger
Jan 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hannah Fattig
The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell is a nonfiction book that informs the reader about the murder of three civil rights activists in the summer of 1964. The story takes place in Neshoba County, Philadelphia. Three activists, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, left to work on a freedom school during the summer along with a few more activists. One night the three men drive to Meridian to talk to a few victims about an earlier attack from the Ku Klux Klan. At the end of the ...more
I found this to be a powerfully told story about the Civil Rights era. During the Freedom Summer of 1964 when several groups were working to obtain voting rights for blacks throughout the south, three young men disappeared. Mitchell explains the circumstances surrounding their disappearance before giving a brief biography of each of the three young men, two white and one black. Even in death there was great bigotry. The two white young men were shot, the black young man was severely beaten and p ...more
May 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The book I am doing this book review on is “The Freedom Summer Murders”. The author of this book is Don Mitchell. I think that you should read it because it talks a lot about slavery and what happened with slavery back in the 1960’s and up to the 1980’s. It talks about what most whites said to the blacks if they passed them on the street or the sidewalk and stuff. Whites yelled bad words, they were racist towards the blacks and more. At most times whites called the blacks the N word. And if a wh ...more
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lori Hoegler
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was ok
The Freedom Summer Murders briefly outlines the turbulent 1960's U.S. civil rights movement in the Deep South. s. This book highlights the horrific murder of 3 civil rights workers by the local Ku Klux Klan. The story of the three young men murdered in this story inspired the movie "Mississippi Burning" as well as other documentary films and book. Sadly, it was somewhat disjointed and the author failed to capture my complete attention and empathy for the victims. The first couple of chapters rea ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is wonderful and perfect for middle school children. The details helped to refresh my memory of individuals on both sides. Often time I find it challenging to keep up with the Civil Rights Movement because there are so many prominent people involved as well as the lesser known individuals whose stories are not often told. The book also puts in perspective what the civil rights story was in Mississippi because it is often clumped together with other southern states.
Edward Sullivan
An excellent account of the brutal murders of Civil Rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi. I particularly like how Mitchell emphasizes the selfless devotion of these young men to the cause they passionately believed in and their incredible courage to work for it under extremely dangerous conditions.
Alexandro Sanchez
Mar 01, 2016 rated it liked it
This book was good, not the greatest but it was good. The great big mistake that was made is that it was pretty much the same story just from different perspectives. This made every story predictable and I knew what would happen throughout the chapter. How ever it was still good and very descriptive on what was happening.
Feb 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was difficult to read; not because of the author's style of writing but because of the content. It is hard to read about such hatred and corruption. This is a good summary of what happened with the murders of Civil Rights workers in Mississippi and is an excellent choice if you're looking to read something this month in honor of Black History Month.
Sarah Rosenberger
Poignant, clearly-written, and important - hard to believe this was only fifty years ago.
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
This put a very human face on the three young men who were killed that summer of 1964. Very powerful.
Kim Bahr
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The movie Mississippi Burning had a huge impact on me. This book provided some background on what happened during a significant event in our nation's history.
Sondra LaPointe
Jun 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderfully writing book providing both primary images and first-hand accounts, made it a very hard book to put down.
Owen Norcross
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Its not you book its me.
Richie Partington
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Richie’s Picks: THE FREEDOM SUMMER MURDERS by Don Mitchell, Scholastic Press, April 2014, 256p., ISBN: 978-0-545-47725-3

“Here’s to the state of Mississippi,
For underneath her borders, the devil draws no lines.
If you drag her muddy river, nameless bodies you will find.
Oh, the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes.
The calendar is lying when it reads the present time.
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of,
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of”
-- Phil Ochs
Ally Lavy
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Freedom Summer Murders by Don Mitchell does an exquisite job of capturing the events that occurred in the summer of 1964. Not only does it focus on the murders themselves, but also how they affected the victims’ family and friends. The book starts out by stating the vial truth that Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were murdered, and that their deaths were no accident. They were killed because of their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement. Mitchell then gives a brief b ...more
Ben Eckdahl
Ben Eckdahl
Ms. DeLaura
Junior US Literature Chose
23 January 2019
The Freedom Summer Murders
The book The Freedom Summer Murders, was about the murders of three men, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner, during what is known as the Freedom Summer, which took place in 1964. The book was organized more or less in chronological order of the events that happened. First it told of the events leading up to the murders of the three men, and how they came to know each other, then it went int
Dani Shuping
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by NetGalley

In June 1964, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, one of the most horrific events occurred when three young men (one black and two white) were lynched by the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi for trying to register African Americans to vote. The horror though did not end with their murder, but the failure of the courts to convict the guilty parties of their murder, some of whom were members of local law enforcement. This book, published on the 50th anniversary of James
Natty T
Jan 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It was in the time around 1964, in the month of June. Three young men were murdered due to trying to help set things in tough times right, and to help one another be equal. But that soon lead to their tragic deaths that time in June, and there murders were none other than the KKK themselves. They were just boys, young men who still had a life ahead of them, a life in which that was tragical ended just so freedom in which they fought and ddi so much for to achieve it. Not only did the boys names ...more
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