Bowers, Samuel Holloway, 1924-2006


"On June 21, 1964, three young civil rights workers-a 21-year-old black Mississippian, James Chaney, and two white New Yorkers, Andrew Goodman, 20, and Michael Schwerner, 24-were murdered near Philadelphia, in Nashoba County, Mississippi. They had been working to register black voters in Mississippi during Freedom Summer and had gone to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on trumped-up charges, imprisoned for several hours, and then released after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who beat and murdered them. It was later proven in court that a conspiracy existed between members of Neshoba County's law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan to kill them...A major reason the case was reopened was a 1999 interview with Sam Bowers, a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard convicted in 1967 of giving the order to have Michael Schwerner killed. Bowers remarked in the interview that took place more than 30 years after the crime, "I was quite delighted to be convicted and have the main instigator of the entire affair walk out of the courtroom a free man. Everybody, including the trial judge and the prosecutors and everybody else, knows that that happened." Bowers claims that Killen was a central figure in the murders and organized the KKK mob that carried them out." Taken from

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