Missippi


Artist
Milton Derr (American, b. 1932)
Date
1965
Medium
Ink on paper
Dimensions
Sheet : 14 1/4 x 11 in. (36.2 x 27.94 cm)
Mat : 20 x 16 in. (50.8 x 40.64 cm)
Credit Line
Hope College Collection
Object Number
2018.20.2

Label
Desegregation, criminal justice reform and the restoration of voting rights to African Americans were all major focal points of the Civil Rights movement during the 1950s and 60s. This dark, emotive drawing portrays the bodies of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, three Civil Rights workers who were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi while campaigning to register African American voters during the so-called Freedom Summer of 1964. The bodies of the three activists were buried in an earthen dam and remained hidden for two months before their remains were finally discovered. Public outrage over the murders fueled support for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. When Mississippi state officials refused to prosecute the killers, they were tried in federal court for Civil Rights violations and seven defendants were found guilty. However, because the federal Civil Rights charges carried lighter sentences than state murder charges, none of the convicted killers served more than six years for their crime. The title of the drawing is deliberately misspelled to approximate the vernacular pronunciation of Mississippi in that state.

Object Type
Print