On this day in 1964, the remains of three civil rights workers whose disappearance on June 21 garnered national attention are found buried in an earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman, both white New Yorkers, had traveled to heavily segregated Mississippi in 1964 to help organize civil rights efforts on behalf of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). The third man, James Chaney, was a local African American man who had joined CORE in 1963. The disappearance of the three young men led to a massive FBI investigation that was code-named MIBURN, for “Mississippi Burning.”
On Junr 20, Schwerner returned from a civil rights training session in Ohio with 21-year-old James Chaney and 20-year-old Andrew Goodman, a new recruit to CORE. The next day–June 21–the three went to investigate the burning of the church in Neshoba. While attempting to drive back to Meridian, they were stopped by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price just inside the city limits of Philadelphia, the county seat. Price, a member of the KKK who had been looking out for Schwerner or other civil rights workers, threw them in the Neshoba County jail, allegedly under suspicion for church arson.
After seven hours in jail, during which the men were not allowed to make a phone call, Price released them on bail. After escorting them out of town, the deputy returned to Philadelphia to drop off an accompanying Philadelphia police officer. As soon as he was alone, he raced down the highway in pursuit of the three civil rights workers. He caught the men just inside county limits and loaded them into his car. Two other cars pulled up filled with Klansmen who had been alerted by Price of the capture of the CORE workers, and the three cars drove down an unmarked dirt road called Rock Cut Road. Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney were shot to death and their bodies buried in an earthen dam a few miles from the Mt. Zion Methodist Church.
70 – The destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem by the Romans.
367 – Gratian, son of Roman Emperor Valentinian I, is named co-August by his father and associated to the throne aged eight
1265 – Second Barons’ War: Battle of Evesham – the army of Prince Edward (the future Edward I of England) defeats the forces of rebellious barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, killing de Montfort and many of his allies.
1532 – the Duchy of Brittany was annexed to the Kingdom of France.
1578 – Battle of Al Kasr al Kebir – the Moroccans defeat the Portuguese. King Sebastian of Portugal is defeated and killed in North Africa, leaving his elderly uncle, Cardinal Henry, as his heir. This initiates a succession crisis in Portugal.
1693 – Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention of Champagne.
1704 – War of the Spanish Succession: Gibraltar is captured by an English and Dutch fleet, commanded by Admiral Sir George Rooke and allied with Archduke Charles.
1789 – In France members of the National Constituent Assembly take an oath to end feudalism and abandon their privileges.
1790 – A newly passed tariff act creates the Revenue Cutter Service (the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard).
1791 – The Treaty of Sistova is signed, ending the Ottoman-Habsburg wars.
1821 – Atkinson & Alexander publish the Saturday Evening Post for the first time as a weekly newspaper.
1824 – Battle of Kos is fought between Turks and Greeks.
1854 – The Hinomaru is established as the official flag to be flown from Japanese ships.
1863 – Matica slovenska, Slovakia’s public-law cultural and scientific institution focusing on topics around the Slovak nation, was established in Martin.
1873 – Indian Wars: whilst protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, the United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, clashes for the first time with the Sioux (near the Tongue River; only one man on each side is killed).
1892 – The family of Lizzie Borden is found murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home.
1902 – The Greenwich foot tunnel under the River Thames opens.
1906 – Central Railway Station, Sydney opens.
1914 – World War I: Germany invades Belgium. In response, the United Kingdom declares war on Germany. The United States declares its neutrality.
1916 – World War I: Liberia declares war on Germany.
1924 – Diplomatic relations between Mexico and the Soviet Union are established.
1936 – Prime Minister of Greece Ioannis Metaxas suspends parliament and the Constitution and establishes the 4th of August Regime.
1944 – The Holocaust: a tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse where they find Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family.
1947 – The Supreme Court of Japan is established.
1954 – The Government of Pakistan approves Qaumi Tarana, written by Hafeez Jullundhry and composed by Ahmed G. Chagla, as the national anthem.
1958 – The Billboard Hot 100 is founded
1964 – American civil rights movement: civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are found dead in Mississippi after disappearing on June 21.
1964 – Gulf of Tonkin Incident: United States destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy report coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.
1965 – The Constitution of Cook Islands came into force, giving the Cook Islands self-governing status within New Zealand.
1969 – Vietnam War: at the apartment of French intermediary Jean Sainteny in Paris, U.S. representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese representative Xuan Thuy begin secret peace negotiations. The negotiations will eventually fail.
1974 – A bomb explodes in the Italicus Express train at San Benedetto Val di Sambro, Italy, killing 12 people and wounding 22.
1975 – The Japanese Red Army takes more than 50 hostages at the AIA Building housing several embassies in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The hostages include the U.S. consul and the Swedish chargé d’affaires. The gunmen win the release of five imprisoned comrades and fly with them to Libya.
1977 – US President Jimmy Carter signs legislation creating the United States Department of Energy.
1984 – The African republic Upper Volta changes its name to Burkina Faso.
1987 – The Federal Communications Commission rescinds the Fairness Doctrine which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly”.
1991 – The Greek cruise ship MTS Oceanos sinks off the Wild Coast of South Africa.
1993 – A federal judge sentences LAPD officers Stacey Koon and Laurence Powell to 30 months in prison for violating motorist Rodney King’s civil rights.
1995 – Operation Storm begins in Croatia.
2005 – Prime Minister Paul Martin announces that Michaëlle Jean will be Canada’s 27th – and first black – Governor General.
2006 – 2006 Trincomalee massacre of NGO workers, is carried out by Sri Lankan government forces, killing 17 employees of the French INGO Action Against Hunger (known internationally as Action Contre la Faim, or ACF).
2007 – NASA’s Phoenix spaceship is launched.