Public Papers - 1989
Statement on the 25th Anniversary of the Slaying of Civil Rights Activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner
James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner gave their lives in the struggle to guarantee one of democracy's most basic civil rights -- the right to vote -- for all Americans. The savage execution of these three brave men rightfully shocked our national conscience. The public outcry galvanized this country's progress on civil rights.
Today, 25 years later, we have not forgotten these three brave young men and their sacrifice. When they saw the promise of democracy unfulfilled in their homeland, they risked all so that others might know the joy of true freedom. We have come far because of James and Andrew and Michael. We can erect no greater monument to their memory than to ensure that the arrogance and bigotry that took their lives never again exists in America. The courageous family members whom I met this morning have embarked on a symbolic journey to commemorate the sacrifice of these American heroes, and I wish them Godspeed.