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Civil Rights, Mississippi, and the Novelist's Craft

Freedom Summer 1964
James D. Forman & Shepard Rifkin

The novel Freedom's Blood by James D. Forman
During the first weekend of Freedom Summer 1964, three civil rights workers - Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman - disappeared. Authorities ultimately discovered their bodies outside of Philadelphia, Mississippi.

In Freedom's Blood (1979), James D. Forman has written a novel for young people reconstructing the events of that weekend, using details provided by verified reports of the actual event.

The Murderer Vine (1970), by Shepard Rifkin is much more loosely based upon the three murders. In this tale, the wealthy father of one of the victims offers a New York detective one hundred thousand dollars to execute each of the five suspected killers, including the local sheriff. The novel the Murder Vine by Shepard Rifkin