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Parents of Missing Rights Workers Speak Out

June 25, 1964 - The parents of two young civil rights workers missing near Philadelphia, Miss., appealed today to Mississippi parents to help them hunt for their sons.

They said they also spoke for the mother of a Negro youth who is missing with their boys. They said they were hopeful that the three missing youths would be found alive.

The missing are Michael Schwerner, 24 years old, from Brooklyn; Andrew Goodman, a 20-year-old Queens College junior, and James Chaney, 21, a Negro plasterer from Meridian, Miss.

The parents, holding a news conference to broadcast their appeal by press, radio, and television, are Mr. and Mrs. Robert Goodman (right) and Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Schwerner (left). The conference was held in the Goodmans’ apartment at 161 West 86th Street. The Schwerners live in Pelham, N.Y.

Mrs. Goodman sat in front of seven television cameras, still reporters, and photographers as she opened the conference by reading a statement that began:

“As a mother and as a parent of one of the three boys who are missing, I am making this plea to all parents everywhere — particularly the parents of Mississippi who, like myself, have experienced the softness, the warmth, and the beauty of a child whom they cherish and love and want to protect.

“I want to beg them to cooperate in every way possible in the search for these three boys and to come forward with any information of any kind which will help in the search. I want them to do everything in their power as parents, as people, as human beings to protect all the young people in their state.”

The three disappeared Sunday near Philadelphia, Miss., after having been arrested for speeding and fined.

The Schwerners’ statement, read by Mr. Schwerner, also called for public assistance. Both statements paid tribute to the help being extended by President Johnson. Both included the telephone number of the FBI in Meridian, Miss. It is Code 601 and the number is 482-2258.

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