Statement about Edgar Ray Killen’s Death

Edgar Ray Killen, one of the men who orchestrated the murder of my brother Andrew Goodman, and two other civil rights workers James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, died in a Mississippi state prison yesterday. He was the only man, out of the 18 accused Ku Klux Klan members, who was ever tried for murder or manslaughter in connection with the Mississippi Burning killings. The remaining men responsible got off scot-free and lived the rest of their natural lives having committed murder with impunity, a story we hear repeated over and over again throughout history.

Although Edgar Ray Killen’s 2005 conviction led to a moment of healing for the Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner families, as well as our country, it is justice unresolved. The fundamental problem of systemic racism that led to their deaths continues to resurface in America today, most recently in Charlottesville, VA, and Charleston, SC.

We must do better.

One thing I am certain of is that my brother Andrew’s story will not die with Edgar Ray Killen. It will continue to serve as a painful reminder of how far we have come and how far we still have to go. It will inspire the next generation of young leaders like The Andrew Goodman Foundation’s Vote Everywhere Ambassadors who will continue Andy’s legacy and advocate for equality and justice for all regardless of race, color, or creed. Only then will we finally deliver on the promise that “all men are created equal” and celebrate, not fear, the diversity that makes our country great.

About the Author

David Goodman is the brother of Andrew Goodman and the President of The Andrew Goodman Foundation and its Board of Trustees.