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Hope Fades for Three Missing Rights Workers

June 24, 1964 - Virtually all hope faded today for the lives of three civil rights workers missing since Sunday night in the red hills of east-central Mississippi.

Sixty law enforcement officers — agents of the FBI, state troopers, and sheriff’s deputies — stepped up their hunt for the two whites and one Negro.

Meanwhile, Allen W. Dulles, former Director of the CIA, arrived in Jackson, the state capital, under instructions from President Johnson and went into conference with Governor Paul Johnson Jr. and other officials at the Governor’s mansion.

The law officers, working in pairs, made a house-to-house canvass of the rural area north and east of Philadelphia, Miss., in a search for clues.

FBI crime-laboratory experts studied the burned wreckage of the Ford station wagon in which the men were riding and sifted through the ashes where the vehicle was found yesterday, 15 miles northeast of Philadelphia off State Highway 21 in Bogue Chitto Swamp.

The comments of civil rights leaders and private remarks by investigators indicated all felt that the three men were dead.

James Farmer, national director of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), said: “I think there’s almost no hope that they’re alive.”

One source quoted an FBI man in Philadelphia as having said: “We’re now looking for the bodies.”

Two of the three missing men are members of a CORE task force that is conducting a civil rights campaign in the Fourth Congressional District. They are Michael Schwerner, 24, from Brooklyn, and James Chaney, 21, from Meridian, Miss.

The third missing man is Andrew Goodman, 20, of New York, a Queens college student. He was among 175 student volunteers who completed a one-week orientation course for the Mississippi project last week at Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio, and arrived in Mississippi last weekend.


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