1964: Paul B. Johnson, Jr. becomes Mississippi’s fifty-fourth governor

Governor Paul B. Johnson, Jr. (MDAH Collection)
Governor Paul B. Johnson, Jr.

Johnson served from 1964 to 1968.

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1964: Surgeon James Hardy leads world’s first heart transplant at University of Mississippi Medical Center

In a controversial procedure, the team transplanted a chimpanzee heart into a human being.

1964: Choctaw Central High School built

1964: Jefferson Military College closes

Historic Jefferson College.
Historic Jefferson College.

The college was incorporated by an act of the territorial assembly in 1802, making it the first institution of higher learning in the state. It is now a historic site administered by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

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January 23, 1964: 24th Amendment to U. S. Constitution adopted

The 24th Amendment abolished the poll tax.

January 31, 1964: Louis Allen found dead, riddled with buckshot in his driveway

Report on the Lee murder, naming Allen as witness (MDAH Collection)
Report on the Lee murder, naming Allen as witness

He was a witness to the slaying of voter-registration worker Herbert Lee.

Image:  From the files of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission.

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February 7, 1964: Mistrial declared in Byron De La Beckwith’s murder trial

The all-white jury deadlocked in the trial for the murder of Medgar Evers.

April 17, 1964: Second mistrial declared in Byron De La Beckwith’s murder trial

Another all-white jury deadlocked.

April 26, 1964: Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party formed

Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Button
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party Button

May 1964: Journalist Hazel Brannon Smith wins Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing

Smith was the editor and publisher of the Lexington Advertiser.

May 2, 1964: Henry Dee and Charles Moore abducted and killed by Ku Klux Klan

James Ford Seale and Charles Marcus Edwards, members of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, were arrested. Edwards gave the FBI a signed confession, but after the FBI turned the information over to local authorities, a justice of the peace dismissed the charges.

June 1964: Freedom Summer begins

Thousands of civil rights volunteers, mostly college students from other states, poured into Mississippi to help African American residents register to vote.

June 21, 1964: James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner killed by Ku Klux Klan outside Philadelphia

FBI "Missing" poster for Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner (MDAH Collection)
FBI "Missing" poster for Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were kidnapped after going to investigate the burning of Mount Zion Methodist Church. The church was destroyed and members beaten because it was scheduled to host a freedom school.

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June 29, 1964: U.S. Congress passes Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin and abolished southern “Jim Crow” laws by prohibiting discrimination in public facilities, government, and employment.

July 10, 1964: FBI opens office in Jackson

July 12, 1964: Bodies of Henry Dee and Charles Moore found

July 17, 1964: Zion Hill Baptist Church burned in McComb

August 4, 1964: FBI finds bodies of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner

Report on finding remains of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner (MDAH Collection)
Report on finding remains of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

They were found 44 days after their murder buried 15 feet beneath an earthen dam in Neshoba County.

Image:  From the files of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission.

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August 24, 1964: MFDP seeks Democratic Convention credentials

The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenged the all-white state delegation to the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. The delegation was led by Aaron Henry and Fannie Lou Hamer, some of Mississippi’s most prominent civil rights leaders.

October 22, 1964: U.S. government detonates underground nuclear device at Tatum Salt Dome in Lamar County

Seismograph machine at official observation point
Seismograph machine at official observation point

The test was conducted so that the federal government could learn how to detect underground nuclear detonations.

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December 4, 1964: 19 men charged in Philadelphia murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner

December 10, 1964: Martin Luther King, Jr. awarded Nobel Peace Prize

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