Southern Poverty Law Center
The Southern Poverty Law Center is an American nonprofit legal advocacy organization specializing in civil rights and public interest litigation. Based in Montgomery, Alabama, it is known for its successful legal cases against white supremacist groups, its classification of hate groups and other extremist organizations, for promoting tolerance education programs; the SPLC was founded by Morris Dees, Joseph J. Levin Jr. and Julian Bond in 1971 as a civil rights law firm in Montgomery, Alabama. Bond served as president of the board between 1971 and 1979. In 1979, the SPLC began a litigation strategy of filing civil suits for monetary damages on behalf of the victims of violence from the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups, with all damages recovered given to the victims or donated to other organizations; the SPLC became involved in other civil rights causes, including cases to challenge what it sees as institutional racial segregation and discrimination and unconstitutional conditions in prisons and detention centers, discrimination based on sexual orientation, mistreatment of illegal immigrants, the unconstitutional mixing of church and state.
The SPLC has provided information about hate groups to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement agencies. Since the 2000s, the SPLC's classification and listings of hate groups and extremists have been described as authoritative; the SPLC's listings have been the subject of criticism from others, who argue that some of the SPLC's listings are overbroad, politically motivated, or unwarranted. Despite such criticism, the SPLC's assessments are accepted and cited in academic and media coverage of such groups and related issues. In 2019, founder Morris Dees was dismissed, followed by the resignation of president Richard Cohen. An outside consultant, Tina Tchen, was brought in to review workplace practices relating to accusations of racial and sexual harassment; the Southern Poverty Law Center was founded by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph J. Levin Jr. in August 1971 as a law firm focused on issues such as fighting poverty, racial discrimination and the death penalty in the United States.
Dees asked civil rights leader Julian Bond to serve as president, a honorary position. In 1979, Dees and the SPLC began filing civil lawsuits against Ku Klux Klan chapters and similar organizations for monetary damages on behalf of their victims; the favorable verdicts from these suits served to bankrupt other targeted organizations. In 1981, the Center began its Klanwatch project to monitor the activities of the KKK; that project, now called Hatewatch, was expanded to include seven other types of hate organizations. In 1986, the entire legal staff of the SPLC, excluding Dees, resigned as the organization shifted from traditional civil rights work toward fighting right-wing extremism. In 1989, the Center unveiled its Civil Rights Memorial, designed by Maya Lin. In 1995, the Montgomery Advertiser won a Pulitzer Prize recognition for work that probed management self-interest, questionable practices, employee racial discrimination allegations in the SPLC; the Center's "Teaching Tolerance" project was initiated in 1991 and in 2013 was cited as "of the most read periodicals dedicated to diversity and social justice in education".
In 2008, the SPLC and Dees were featured on National Geographic's Inside American Terror explaining their litigation strategy against the Ku Klux Klan. In July 1983, the SPLC headquarters was firebombed, destroying records; as a result of the arson, Klansmen Joe M. Garner and Roy T. Downs Jr. along with Klan sympathizer Charles Bailey, pleaded guilty in February 1985 to conspiring to intimidate and threaten members of black organizations represented by SPLC. The SPLC built a new headquarters building from 1999 to 2001. In 1984, Dees became an assassination target of a revolutionary white supremacist group. By 2007, according to Dees, more than 30 people had been jailed in connection with plots to kill him or to blow up SPLC offices. In 1995, four men were indicted for planning to blow up the SPLC. In May 1998, three white supremacists were arrested for planning a nationwide campaign of assassinations and bombings targeting "Morris Dees, an undisclosed federal judge in Illinois, a black radio show host in Missouri, Dees's Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, the Anti-Defamation League in New York."
In March 2019, the SPLC fired founder Morris Dees for undisclosed reasons and removed his bio from its website. In a statement regarding the firing, the SPLC announced it would be bringing in an "outside organization to conduct a comprehensive assessment of our internal climate and workplace practices."Following the dismissal, a letter signed by two dozen SPLC employees was sent to management, expressing concern that "allegations of mistreatment, sexual harassment, gender discrimination, racism threaten the moral authority of this organization and our integrity along with it." One former employee wrote that the "unchecked power of lavishly compensated white men at the top" of the SPLC contributed to a culture which made black and female employees the targets of harassment. The SPLC appointed Tina Tchen, a former chief of staff for former first-lady Michelle Obama, to review and investigate any issues with the organization's workplace environment. A week President Richard Cohen and legal director Rhonda Brownstein announced their resignations amid the internal upheava
Freedom Summer, or the Mississippi Summer Project, was a volunteer campaign in the United States launched in June 1964 to attempt to register as many African-American voters as possible in Mississippi. Blacks had been cut off from voting since the turn of the century due to barriers to voter registration and other laws; the project set up dozens of Freedom Schools, Freedom Houses, community centers in small towns throughout Mississippi to aid the local black population. The project was organized by the Council of Federated Organizations, a coalition of the Mississippi branches of the four major civil rights organizations. Most of the impetus and financing for the Summer Project came from the SNCC. Robert Parris Moses, SNCC field secretary and co-director of COFO, directed the summer project. Freedom Summer was built on the years of earlier work by thousands of African Americans, connected through their churches, who lived in Mississippi. In 1963, SNCC organized a mock "Freedom Vote" designed to demonstrate the will of Black Mississippians to vote, if not impeded by terror and intimidation.
The Mississippi voting registration procedure at the time required Blacks to fill out a 21-question registration form and to answer, to the satisfaction of the white registrars, a question on interpretation of any one of 285 sections of the state constitution. The registrars ruled subjectively on the applicant's qualifications, decided against most blacks, not allowing them to register. In 1963, volunteers set up polling places in Black churches and business establishments across Mississippi. After registering on a simple registration form, voters would select candidates to run in the following year's election. Candidates included Rev. Edwin King of Tougaloo College and Aaron Henry, from Clarksdale, Mississippi. Local civil rights workers and volunteers, along with students from northern universities and implemented the mock election, in which tens of thousands voted. By 1964, students and others had begun the process of integrating public accommodations, registering adults to vote, above all strengthening a network of local leadership.
Building on the efforts of 1963, Moses prevailed over doubts among SNCC and COFO workers, planning for Freedom Summer began in February 1964. Speakers recruited for workers on college campuses across the country, drawing standing ovations for their dedication in braving the routine violence perpetrated by police and others in Mississippi. SNCC recruiters interviewed dozens of potential volunteers, weeding out those with a "John Brown complex" and informing others that their job that summer would not be to "save the Mississippi Negro" but to work with local leadership to develop the grassroots movement. More than 1,000 out-of-state volunteers participated in Freedom Summer alongside thousands of black Mississippians. Volunteers were the brightest of their generation, who came from the best universities from the biggest states from cities in the North and West were rich, 90 percent were white. Though SNCC's committee agreed to recruit only one hundred white students for the project in December 1963, white civil rights leaders such as Allard Lowenstein went on and recruited a much larger number of white volunteers, to bring more attention.
Two one-week orientation sessions for the volunteers were held at Western College for Women in Oxford, from June 14 to June 27, after Berea College backed out of hosting the sessions due to alumni pressure against it. Organizers focused on Mississippi because it had the lowest percentage of any state in the country of African Americans registered to vote, they constituted more than one-third of the population. In 1962 only 6.7% of eligible black voters were registered. Southern states had disenfranchised most African Americans and many poor whites in the period from 1890 to 1910 by passing state constitutions and other laws that imposed burdens on voter registration: charging poll taxes, requiring literacy tests administered subjectively by white registrars, making residency requirements more difficult, as well as elaborate record keeping to document required items, they maintained this exclusion of blacks from politics well into the 1960s, which extended to excluding them from juries and imposing Jim Crow segregation laws for public facilities.
Most of these methods survived US Supreme Court challenges and, if overruled, states had developed new ways to exclude blacks, such as use of grandfather clauses and white primaries. In some cases, would-be voters were harassed economically, as well as by physical assault. Lynchings had continued for years. During the ten weeks of Freedom Summer, a number of other organizations provided support for the COFO Summer Project. More than 100 volunteer doctors, psychologists, medical students and other medical professionals from the Medical Committee for Human Rights provided emergency care for volunteers and local activists, taught health education classes, advocated improvements in Mississippi's segregated health system. Volunteer lawyers from the NAACP Legal Defense Fund Inc, National Lawyers Guild, Lawyer's Constitutional Defense Committee an arm of the ACLU, the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law provided free legal services — handling arrests, freedom of speech, voter registration and other matters.
The Commission on Religion and Race, an endeavor of the National Council of Churches, brought Christian and Jewish cler
Johnny Cash was an American singer-songwriter, guitarist and author. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 90 million records worldwide. Although remembered as a country music icon, his genre-spanning songs and sound embraced rock and roll, blues and gospel; this crossover appeal won Cash the rare honor of being inducted into the Country Music and Roll, Gospel Music Halls of Fame. Cash was known for his deep, calm bass-baritone voice, the distinctive sound of his Tennessee Three backing band characterized by train-sound guitar rhythms, a rebelliousness coupled with an somber and humble demeanor, free prison concerts, a trademark, all-black stage wardrobe, which earned him the nickname "The Man in Black." He traditionally began his concerts by introducing himself, "Hello, I'm Johnny Cash," followed by his signature song "Folsom Prison Blues". Much of Cash's music contained themes of sorrow, moral tribulation, redemption in the stages of his career, his other signature songs include "I Walk the Line", "Ring of Fire", "Get Rhythm", "Man in Black".
He recorded humorous numbers like "One Piece at a Time" and "A Boy Named Sue". During the last stage of his career, Cash covered songs by several late 20th-century rock artists, notably "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails and "Rusty Cage" by Soundgarden. Johnny Cash was born on February 1932, in Kingsland, Arkansas, to Ray Cash and Carrie Cloveree, he was the fourth of seven children, who were in birth order: Roy, Margaret Louise, Jack, J. R. Reba and Tommy, he was of English and Scottish descent. As an adult he traced his surname to 11th-century Fife, after meeting with the then-laird of Falkland, Major Michael Crichton-Stuart. Cash Loch and other locations in Fife bear the name of his family. At birth, Cash was named J. R. Cash; when Cash enlisted in the United States Air Force, he was not permitted to use initials as a first name, so he changed his name to John R. Cash. In 1955, when signing with Sun Records, he started going by Johnny Cash. In March 1935, when Cash was three years old, the family settled in Dyess, Arkansas, a New Deal colony established to give poor families a chance to work land that they had a chance to own as a result.
J. R. started singing along with his family while working. The Cash farm flooded during the family's time in Dyess which led Cash to write the song "Five Feet High and Rising", his family's economic and personal struggles during the Great Depression inspired many of his songs those about other people facing similar difficulties. He had sympathy for the poor and working class. Cash was close to his older brother, Jack. On Saturday May 12, 1944, Jack was pulled into an unguarded table saw at his high school while cutting oak into fence posts as his job and was cut in two, he lingered until the following Saturday. Cash spoke of the horrible guilt he felt over this incident. According to Cash: The Autobiography, his father was away that morning, but Johnny and his mother, Jack himself, all had premonitions or a sense of foreboding about that day, his mother urged Jack to go fishing with his brother. Jack insisted on working. On his deathbed, Jack said he had visions of angels. Decades Cash spoke of looking forward to meeting his brother in Heaven.
Cash's early memories were dominated by gospel radio. Taught guitar by his mother and a childhood friend, Cash began playing and writing songs at the age of 12; when young, Cash had a high-tenor voice, before becoming a bass-baritone after his voice changed. In high school, he sang on a local radio station. Decades he released an album of traditional gospel songs, called My Mother's Hymn Book, he was significantly influenced by traditional Irish music, which he heard performed weekly by Dennis Day on the Jack Benny radio program. Cash enlisted in the United States Air Force on July 7, 1950. After basic training at Lackland Air Force Base and technical training at Brooks Air Force Base, both in San Antonio, Cash was assigned to the 12th Radio Squadron Mobile of the U. S. Air Force Security Service at Landsberg, Germany, as a Morse code operator intercepting Soviet Army transmissions, it was there he created his first band, named "The Landsberg Barbarians". He was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant on July 3, 1954, returned to Texas.
During his military service, he acquired a distinctive scar on the right side of his jaw as a result of surgery to remove a cyst. On July 18, 1951, while in Air Force training, Cash met 17-year-old Italian-American Vivian Liberto at a roller skating rink in her native San Antonio, they dated for three weeks. During that time, the couple exchanged hundreds of pages of love letters. On August 7, 1954, one month after his discharge, they were married at St. Ann's Roman Catholic Church in San Antonio; the ceremony was performed by Vincent Liberto. They had four daughters: Rosanne, Kathy and Tara. In 1961, Johnny moved his family to a hilltop home overlooking Casitas Springs, California, a small town south of Ojai on Highway 33, he had moved his parents to the area to run a small trailer park called the Johnny Cash Trailer Park. Johnny's drinking led to several run-ins with local law enforcement
Jeep is a brand of American automobiles, a division of FCA US LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Italian-American corporation Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Jeep has been a part of Chrysler since 1987, when Chrysler acquired the Jeep brand, along with remaining assets, from its previous owner: American Motors Corporation. Jeep's current product range consists of sport utility vehicles and off-road vehicles, but has included pickup trucks and roadsters in the past; some of Jeep's vehicles—such as the Grand Cherokee—reach into the luxury SUV segment, a market segment the Wagoneer is considered to have created. Jeep sold 1.4 million SUVs globally in 2016, up from 500,000 in 2008, two-thirds of which in North America, was Fiat-Chrysler's best selling brand in the U. S. during the first half of 2017. In the U. S. alone, over 2400 dealerships hold franchise rights to sell Jeep-branded vehicles, if Jeep were spun off into a separate company, it is estimated to be worth between $22 and $33.5 billion—slightly more than all of FCA.
Prior to 1940 the term "jeep" had been used as U. S. Army slang for new recruits or vehicles, but the World War II "jeep" that went into production in 1941 tied the name to this light military 4x4, arguably making them the oldest four-wheel drive mass-production vehicles now known as SUVs; the Jeep became the primary light 4-wheel-drive vehicle of the United States Army and the Allies during World War II, as well as the postwar period. The term became common worldwide in the wake of the war. Doug Stewart noted: "The spartan and unstintingly functional jeep became the ubiquitous World War II four-wheeled personification of Yankee ingenuity and cocky, can-do determination." The Jeep marque has been headquartered in Toledo, Ohio since Willys-Overland launched production of the first CJ or Civilian Jeep branded models there in 1945. Its replacement, the conceptually consistent Jeep Wrangler series, remains in production since 1986. With its solid axles and open top, the Wrangler has been called the Jeep model, as central to the brand’s identity as the rear-engined 911 is to Porsche.
At least two Jeep models enjoyed extraordinary three-decade production runs of a single body generation. Jeeps have since the war inspired a number such as the Land Rover. Many Jeep variants serving similar military and civilian roles have since been designed in other nations. In lowercase, the term "jeep" continues to be used as a generic term for vehicles inspired by the Jeep that are suitable for use on rough terrain; when it became clear that the United States would be involved in the European theater of World War II, the Army contacted 135 companies to create working prototypes of a four-wheel drive reconnaissance car. Only two companies responded: American Bantam Car Company and Willys-Overland; the Army set a impossible deadline of 49 days to supply a working prototype. Willys was refused; the Bantam Car Company had only a skeleton staff left on the payroll and solicited Karl Probst, a talented freelance designer from Detroit. After turning down Bantam's initial request, Probst responded to an Army request and began work on July 17, 1940 without salary.
Probst laid out full plans in just two days for the Bantam prototype known as the BRC or Bantam Reconnaissance Car, working up a cost estimate the next day. Bantam's bid was submitted on July 22, complete with blueprints. Much of the vehicle could be assembled from off-the-shelf automotive parts, custom four-wheel drivetrain components were to be supplied by Spicer; the hand-built prototype was completed in Butler and driven to Camp Holabird, Maryland on September 23 for Army testing. The vehicle met all the Army's criteria except engine torque; the Army thought that the Bantam company was too small to supply the required number of vehicles, so it supplied the Bantam design to Willys and Ford, encouraged them to modify the design. The resulting Ford "Pygmy" and Willys "Quad" prototypes looked similar to the Bantam BRC prototype, Spicer supplied similar four-wheel drivetrain components to all three manufacturers.1,500 of each model were built and extensively field-tested. After the weight specification was revised from 1,275 lb to a maximum of 2,450 lb including oil and water, Willys-Overland's chief engineer Delmar "Barney" Roos modified the design in order to use Willys's heavy but powerful "Go Devil" engine, won the initial production contract.
The Willys version became the standard Jeep design, designated the model MB and was built at their plant in Toledo, Ohio. The familiar pressed-metal Jeep grille was a Ford design feature and incorporated in the final design by the Army; because the US War Department required a large number of vehicles in a short time, Willys-Overland granted the US Government a non-exclusive license to allow another company to manufacture vehicles using Willys' specifications. The Army chose Ford as a second supplier. Willys supplied Ford with a complete set of specifications. American Bantam, the creators of the first Jeep, built 2,700 of them to the BRC-40 design, but spent the rest of the war building heavy-duty trailers for the Army. Final production version Jeeps built by Willys-Overland were the Model MB, while those built by Ford were the Model GPW. There were subtle differences between the two; the versions produced by Ford had every component marked with an "F". Willys al
James Earl Chaney, from Meridian, was one of three American civil rights workers, murdered during Freedom Summer by members of the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia, Mississippi. The others were Andrew Michael Schwerner from New York City. Chaney was born in Meridian, the elder son of Fannie Lee and Ben Chaney, Sr, his brother Ben was nine years younger, born in 1952, he had three sisters, Barbara and Julia. His parents separated for a time. James attended Catholic school for the first nine grades. At the age of 15 in high school, he and other students began wearing paper patches reading "NAACP", to mark their support for the national civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, founded in 1910, they were suspended for a week from the segregated high school, because the principal feared the reaction of the all-white school board. After high school, Chaney started as an apprentice in a trade union with his father. In 1962, Chaney participated in a Freedom Ride from Tennessee to Greenville, in another from Greenville to Meridian.
He and his younger brother participated in other non-violent demonstrations, as well. James Chaney started volunteering in late 1963, joined the Congress of Racial Equality in Meridian, he organized voter education classes, introduced CORE workers to local church leaders, helped CORE workers get around the counties. In 1964, he met with leaders of the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church to gain their support for letting Michael Schwerner, CORE's local leader, come to address the church members, to encourage them to use the church for voter education and registration. Chaney acted as a liaison with other CORE members. Chaney and fellow civil rights workers Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman were killed near the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi, they were investigating the burning of Mt. Zion Methodist Church, a site for a CORE Freedom School. In the wake of Schwerner and Chaney's voter registration rallies, parishioners had been beaten by whites, they accused the Sheriff's Deputy, Cecil Price, of stopping their caravan and forcing the deacons to kneel in the headlights of their own cars, while white men beat them with rifle butts.
The same whites who beat them were identified as having burned the church. Price arrested Chaney and Schwerner for an alleged traffic violation and took them to the Neshoba County jail, they were released that evening, without being allowed to telephone anyone. On the way back to Meridian, they were stopped by patrol lights and two carloads of KKK members on Highway 19 taken in Price's car to another remote rural road; the men approached shot and killed Schwerner Goodman, after chain-whipping him, Chaney. They buried the young men in an earthen dam nearby; the men's bodies remained undiscovered for 44 days. The FBI was brought into the case by John Doar, the Department of Justice representative in Mississippi monitoring the situation during Freedom Summer; the missing civil rights workers became a major national story coming on top of other events as civil rights workers were active across Mississippi in a voter registration drive. Schwerner's widow Rita, who worked for CORE in Meridian, expressed indignation that the press had ignored previous murders and disappearances of blacks in the area, but had highlighted this case because two white men from New York had gone missing.
She said she believed that if only Chaney were missing, the case would not have received nearly as much attention. After the funeral of their older son, the Chaneys left Mississippi because of death threats. Helped by the Goodman and Schwerner families, other supporters, they moved to New York City, where Chaney's younger brother Ben attended a private, majority-white high school. In 1969, Ben joined Black Liberation Army. In 1970, he went to Florida with two friends to buy guns. Chaney served 13 years and, after gaining parole, founded the James Earl Chaney Foundation in his brother's honor. Since 1985, he has worked "as a legal clerk for the former U. S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the lawyer who secured his parole". § In 1967, the US government went to trial, charging ten men with conspiracy to deprive the three murdered men of their civil rights under the Enforcement Act of 1870, the only federal law applying to the case. The jury convicted seven men, including Deputy Sheriff Price, three were acquitted, including Edgar Ray Killen, the former Ku Klux Klan organizer who had planned and directed the murders.
Over the years, activists had called for the state to prosecute the murders. The journalist Jerry Mitchell, an award-winning investigative reporter for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, had discovered new evidence and written extensively about the case for six years. Mitchell had earned renown for helping secure convictions in several other high-profile Civil Rights Era murder cases, including the assassination of Medgar Evers, the Birmingham church bombing, the murder of Vernon Dahmer, he developed new evidence about the civil rights murders, found new witnesses, pressured the State to prosecute. It began an investigation in the early years of the 2000s. In 2004, Barry Bradford, an Illinois high school teacher, his three students, Allison Nichols, Sarah Siegel, Brittany Saltiel, joined Mitchell's efforts in a special project, they created a documentary about their work. Their documentary, produced for the National History Day contest, presented important new evidence and compelling reasons for reopening the
Michael Henry "Mickey" Schwerner, was one of three Congress of Racial Equality field/social workers killed in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Schwerner and two others were killed in response to their civil rights work, which included promoting voting registration among African Americans, most of whom had been disenfranchised in the state since 1890. Born and raised in a family of Jewish heritage, Schwerner attended Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, New York, he was called Mickey by his friends. His mother was a science teacher at nearby New Rochelle High School, his father was a businessman. Schwerner attended Michigan State University intending to become a veterinarian, he switched his major to rural sociology. While an undergraduate at Cornell, he was initiated into the school's chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity, he entered graduate school at the School of Social Work at Columbia University. As a boy, Schwerner befriended Robert Reich, who became U. S. Secretary of Labor.
Schwerner helped protect Reich, smaller, from bullies. In the early 1960s Schwerner became active in working for civil rights for African Americans, he participated in a 1963 effort to desegregate Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Maryland. As activism increased in the South and his wife Rita Schwerner Bender volunteered to work for National CORE in Mississippi, under the tutelage of Dave Dennis, the CORE state director. Bob Moses assigned the Schwerners to organize the activities in Meridian. James Chaney was a local youth; the Schwerners were the first whites to be assigned by CORE permanently outside the state capital of Jackson. In the summer of 1964 CORE intended to hold classes and drives to register African Americans to vote in the state, what they called "Freedom Summer". Numerous volunteers college students and young adults, had been recruited from local communities and northern states to work on this project. Civil rights activists were resented and held under suspicion in Mississippi those from the North.
Spies paid by the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a taxpayer-funded agency, kept track of all northerners and suspected activists. The Commission conducted economic boycotts and intimidation against activists. In 1998 its records were opened by court order, revealing the state's deep complicity in the 1964 murders of three civil right workers because its investigator, A. L. Hopkins, passed on information about the workers, including their car license number, to the Commission. Records showed the Commission passed the information on to the Sheriff of Neshoba County, implicated in the murders; the Ku Klux Klan targeted Schwerner after he and his wife, had taken over the Meridian CORE field office, where they established a community center for blacks as part of grassroots organizing. Schwerner tried to establish contact with white working-class citizens of Meridian and went door-to-door to speak with them, he organized a black boycott of a popular variety store until it hired its first African American, under the principle of "don't shop where you can't work".
James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner were murdered near the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi. They were investigating the burning of Mt. Zion Methodist Church, a site of a CORE Freedom School, in a nearby community. Parishioners had been beaten in the wake of Schwerner and Chaney's voter registration rallies for CORE; the Sheriff's Deputy, Cecil Price, had been accused by parishioners of stopping their caravan and forcing the deacons to kneel in the headlights of their own cars, while they were beaten with rifle butts. That same group of white men was identified as having burned the church. Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price arrested Chaney and Schwerner for an alleged traffic violation and took them to the jail in Neshoba County, they were released that evening, without being allowed to telephone anyone. On the way back to Meridian, they were stopped by patrol lights and two carloads of KKK members on Highway 19 taken in Price's car to another remote rural road; the KKK men shot and killed Schwerner Goodman, Chaney, after chain-whipping him.
The men's bodies remained undiscovered for 44 days. In the meantime, the case of the missing civil-rights workers became a major national story coming on top of other events during Freedom Summer; the federal government assigned the FBI to a full investigation, called in Navy sailors and other forces to aid in the search. Schwerner's widow Rita, who worked for CORE in Meridian, expressed indignation publicly at the way the story was handled, she said she believed that if only Chaney was missing and the two older white men from New York had not been killed along with him, the case would not have received nearly as much national attention, as other black civil rights workers had earlier been killed in the South. The US government prosecuted the case under the Enforcement Act of 1870. Seven men, including Deputy Sheriff Price, were convicted. Three implicated defendants were acquitted because of a jury deadlock. Journalist Jerry Mitchell, an award-winning investigative reporter for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger had written extensively about the case for many years in the late 20th century.
Mitchell had earned renown for helping secure convictions by his investigation of several other high-profile Civil Rights Era murder cases, including the assassination of Medgar Evers, the 1963 Birmingham church bombing, the murder of Vernon Dahmer. Mitchell dev
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band
The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is a three-piece American country blues band from Brown County, living in a rural area north of Nashville, Ind. and south of Bean Blossom. They play more than 250 dates per year at venues ranging from bars to festivals. To date, they have released nine albums and one EP. On October 5, 2018 they released their new record Poor Until Payday on their Family Owned label. Reverend J. Peyton – guitar, lead vocals, principal songwriterOn stage he plays a rusty 1930 steel-bodied National guitar, a 1934 wood-bodied National Trojan Resonator guitar and a 1994 reproduction of a 1929 Gibson acoustic, he has added a three-string cigar box guitar to his stage collection. Peyton uses no outboard gear other than a three input switch box between his guitars and the amplifier, he is a noted proponent of fingerstyle guitar, playing the bass line of songs with his thumb while playing the melody, the melody of a different song or a round with his fingers."Washboard" Breezy "The Miss Elizabeth of Country Blues" Peyton – washboardShe plays the washboard using work gloves to which thimbles have been attached.
Her aggressive playing style results in the band selling fragments of broken and burnt washboard at the merchandise table at their concerts. Max Senteney – drumsHe plays a small drum kit, augmented with a five-gallon plastic bucket fitted with drum hardware; the band claims. Josh "The Reverend" Peyton was born April 1981, in Eagletown, Indiana. In 1999 he was voted homecoming king in Westfield, Indiana. Original member and Rev's brother, was born in 1983, their father was a concrete man who performed odd jobs during the winter months for extra money, from plowing snow and chopping wood to fur trapping. Rev Peyton's first introduction to music was via his father's record collection of blues-oriented rock, including Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young and Bob Dylan. At age 12, Rev Peyton's father gave him a red Kay "State of the Art" model guitar purchasing a Gorilla amplifier once he learned to play. Shortly after, younger brother Jayme Peyton started playing the drums and, with a bass player, formed a band called "Drive-Thru" and played parties.
A friend pointed out the blues sound of Rev Peyton's guitar playing, sending Peyton off on an exploration of the blues of BB King, Muddy Waters and B. B. King's cousin Bukka White. Further exploration led to pre-World War II "country blues", a desire to learn the finger-picking style of artists like Charlie Patton. At the time Peyton was unable to master it. Peyton played a party following his high school graduation, the next morning suffered excruciating pain in his hands. Doctors told Peyton. At that point, he spent a year working as the desk clerk in a hotel. During the period when he couldn't physically play guitar, he spent hours imagining playing guitar. Peyton sought other medical advice; the Indiana Hand Center operated on his left hand removing a mass of scar tissue which gave him a new flexibility and greater control in his fretting hand that enabled him to play in the "finger" style that had long eluded him. While recovering from surgery, Rev Peyton met Breezy, he played her the music of Charley Patton, she played him Jimbo Mathus' album Plays Songs For Rosetta, a benefit for his childhood caretaker - Patton's daughter, Rosetta.
Their first date was at the Indiana State Fair, where Peyton won a stuffed animal they named the "Big Damn Bear", which gave them a name for their band. Breezy took up the washboard, the pair started writing songs. A trip to Clarksdale, Mississippi inspired them to resume playing music, their first gigs were at Melody Inn Tavern in Indianapolis, Indiana; the band played blues festivals, headlined two nights at actor Morgan Freeman's Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, toured as the opening act for Mary Prankster. A 40-hour drive from Indiana to El Centro, California to open for the Derek Trucks Band and Susan Tedeschi convinced the band to devote themselves to music and touring full-time, they received an offer from a blues record label, but discovered that they had sold more copies of their independently pressed CD "The Pork'n'Beans Collection" at their concerts than the label had managed to sell of any of their other artists. They married on June 14, 2003; the Big Damn Band has toured in the United States and Europe building popularity and sales of their albums.
In September 2007, drummer Jayme Peyton was unable to enter Canada to play a concert due to a "youthful indiscretion". His brother and sister-in-law had to leave him at a Greyhound bus station to play the date with local substitute drummer Josh Contant; the band survived the departure of founding member Jayme Peyton in December 2009, replaced by Aaron'Cuz' Persinger, who debuted at their annual homecoming show in Indianapolis at the Vogue Theatre. Persinger was replaced with Ben'Bird Dog' Bussell. Rev Peyton is a Kentucky Colonel. In June 2008, they signed with Los Angeles-based SideOneDummy Records, a label they shared with Flogging Molly, they released The Whole Fam Damily on August 5, 2008 through the label, it entered the Billboard Blues Chart at #4. They released three additional albums with SideOneDummy - The Wages, Payton on Patton and Between The Ditches. September 18, 2014 the band announced that they signed with Shanachie Entertainment's revived Yazoo Records label, which had specialized in reissues.
The label announced that "The release of this album marks the first tim