Drawn Into Hell


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Mississippi, 1964. A state torn apart by bigotry, hate and distrust. In June 1964 “Freedom Summer” sent Civil Rights volunteers into the state to help African Americans register to vote. Three of those workers, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Cheney met a violent end to their lives. This is a story about that tragedy.

As the car with the three civil rights workers approached Meridian, a Ku Klux Klan meeting was being held in the woods of Neshoba County with all members present. They all had their hoods on, a sign that secret plans were on the agenda. One of the men stepped forward and removed his hood. He spoke with authority.
“His kind always come back for more, and when he does, we’ll be ready for him. We’re organized, and we’ll get him, and he’ll be sorry he ever heard of the great state of Mississippi!” A rebel cheer went up with fists in the air.

Told from the viewpoint of Ben Hawkins, a young white man who wanted to make a difference, the story vividly describes the investigation Ben was pressed into and the Mississippi Burning trial. One KKK member, believing he was upholding tradition, was unwittingly pulled deeper and deeper into the Klan’s evil plans but became a key component in bringing an end to the Klan’s dominance.

Join Don VanLandingham as he describes how one town was Drawn Into Hell.


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