Many people today know that the 1964 murder in Mississippi of two Jewish men–Mickey Schwerner and Andrew Goodman–and their Black colleague, James Chaney, marked one of the most wrenching episodes of the civil rights movement. Yet very few realize that Andrew Goodman had been in Mississippi for one day when he was killed; Rita Schwerner, Mickey’s wife, had been organizing in Mississippi for six difficult months.
Organized around a rich blend of oral histories, Going South followsa group of Jewish women–come of age in the shadow of the Holocaust and deeply committed to social justice–who put their bodies and lives on the line to fight racism. Actively rejecting the post-war idyll of suburban, Jewish, middle-class life, these women were deeply influenced by Jewish notions of morality and social justice. Many thus perceived the call of the movement as positively irresistible.
Representing a link between the sensibilities of the early civil rights era and contemporary efforts to move beyond the limits of identity politics, the book provides a resource for all who are interested in anti-racism, the civil rights movement, social justice, Jewish activism and radical women’s traditions.