After visiting the museum, I learned that James Earl Chaney who were born and raised in Mississippi participated in multiple of Freedom Rides in 1962. These rides consisted of protesting the challenge to practice the racial segregation for bus rides. Because of Chaney and other great people, this effort was organized by the Congress for Racial Equality in 1963. In 1964, James who was just 16 at the time wanted to join the NAACP but didn’t have the dues. Therefore, he made a limitation of the NAACP button out of paper and wore it to school. Of course, Chaney got sent home by the principal that day, but because he was so determined to become a member he wore it again the next day. Dropping out of school in the 10th grade, his speech became a little rough. He walked with his head down because he was embarrassed of his poor act of choices he chose, but when James saw two people by the name of Michael and Rita Schwenker showed up to start a civil rights center that’s when James decided that he would become the main man. He knew that if he became the main man then he could recruit in black areas without getting attack and could get up and speak in front of a group of people about the Civil Rights.
If I had to imagine a journal entry from James Chaney June 20, 1964 I believe it would have started off like this: Michael Schwenker, Andrew Goodman, and I were the best of friends. All three of us believed in attempting to challenge segregation, disregard Southern standards of appearance, and the racial segregation for bus rides. I remember working with Michael that day, we both have been spending months and months meeting with different types of leaders at Mount Zion before we decided to meet our goal to attempt to hold the meetings at the selected church. Not only did we hope that these meetings would help bring all disregards to southern standards, but also hope to bring racial segregation for bus rides to an end. We both were a member of the CORE since earlier January, but since Michael were threatened and hated for his friendship with blacks, I became more involved in the CORE than he did and started working with them by the end of February early March. Sitting at work, I began to get happy because I never would have thought that my dreams were starting to come true. Because I was so inevitable to the CORE, I knew better than to broadcast my views about the civil rights and to discuss my activities even with my closest friends. I felt like I knew everything that I needed to know about the Congress Rights of Equality because of my involvement with them. I really didn’t think that being dedicated to the CORE, I would have known every back road and every farmhouse it was to know but I did. Therefore, I decided to take Schwenker, Goodman, and I on a joy ride.
I remember us leaving after investigating the burning of the church racing down the back roads with the lights out trying to outrun whoever it was following us that day. Moments after we hit the town limit headed towards Mississippi, we were stopped by a deputy sheriff named Cecil Price. All three of us were arrested and taken into custody. Of course, I was arrested for speeding and Michael and Andrew were arrested for arson at the church earlier that day. Moments after we were released and ordered back to Meridian, we were stopped again. This time we were acquainted by an officer ; the KKK. We all were turned over to the Klan, shot three times, and buried.
I imagine that if Chaney would have known that his life was going to be taken away so soon then he would have done things different. He could have taken a different route and wouldn’t have risked his life to scout for civil right activists. Chaney more than likely felt scared because of he never got harassed until that day. If I were Mr. Chaney, then I would have felt the same way. I wouldn’t have known to act being locked up with any phone privileges, not being able to talk to my family, and then being stopped again by the same policeman and then turned over to the KKK’s while they shot and buried me. I’m sure that if Chaney would have known that he would have been abducted and killed then he would have thought about speeding and taking those back roads headed towards Philadelphia Mississippi.


I'm James!

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