On June 21st, 1964 in Mississippi civil rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner went missing. The three were kidnapped and murdered by the local police and the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia Mississippi. Chaney, an African American was from Mississippi and worked with the the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Goodman and Schwerner were from New York.
The three were working on voter registration at the time of the kidnapping and murder. They were lynched after investigating the burning of a church. The film "Mississippi Burning" chronicles the tragedy.
Mississippi officials refused to prosecute those involved for murder. As a result several were charged with depriving the murdered activists of their civil rights and served brief jail terms. For 40 years the case lay dormant until Edgar Ray Killen was charged with murder in 2005. Killen, 80 at the time was convicted and sentenced to 3 consecutive life terms.