Who Knew What Before Freedom Summer

Months before the murders of Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney Mississippi Sovereignty Commission officials were talking about “doing something about the outsiders.” Here’s a fascinating memo sent to the head of the Commission by Vicksburg detective John D. Sullivan who did investigative work for the state-funded spy organization. Interestingly, a year before this memo was written, Sullivan, a former FBI agent in Chicago, had been working for Buy Banister in New Orleans.

The three young men, volunteers for Freedom Summer, were killed shortly after coming into the state. outside of Philadelphia, a small town northeast of Meridian.


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Meanwhile — while I was looking at old Sullivan reports, I found this one rather fascinating. Back from working with Banister, old John D. got busy coming up with new ideas for the Saovereignty Commission. Here he names names of a helpful newsreporter (Jimmy Ward), talks about the dangers of church collectivism (those darned Methodists) and tells of a mother who’s concerned about her kid becoming a Communist at Millsaps College.

Sullivan is still trying to get the Sovereignty Commission to go after Tougaloo’s accreditation and has some really keen ideas about how to do this.  Great reading.

March 1964