Mississippi, 1964: The Unexpected Co-op Connection to the Murder of Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner

Sometimes when we do interviews for Radical Roots we run into stories that make unexpected connections. One of the best of these was told to us by Dean Zimmerman, after some prodding by his wife, Jenny Heiser, about his participation in the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964. It seems that if things had gone a little differently, we might have been talking about the murders of Chaney, Zimmerman and Schwerner and the Twin Cities would have lost an influential co-op activist and future city council member.

This story also makes clear the connection between the civil rights and cooperative movements. The movement for African-American Civil Rights radicalized and inspired many young people who went on to be involved in activism against the Vietnam War and in the creation of the food co-ops. And this background also caused many activists to be discontent when the co-ops began to form along racial lines. This was one of the main points of tension involved in the Co-op Wars, which will be covered in our upcoming documentary. Please help us tell this important story by donating at Seed & Spark, following us on Facebook, and Twitter.

More on the murder of the civil rights workers.