The Ku Klux Klan, a group of “Anglo Saxon Christians,” claimed that they are supreme over people of color and the Jews. As in the movie Burning Mississippi, the clan torched a “Negro church”. The White Knights of the KKK oppressed blacks through lynchings, harassment, and brutal killings. Freedom Summer, a civil rights movement which convinced African-Americans to vote, threatened the dominance of the whites in Mississippi. Allowing the blacks to have a voice in government and be counted, (so as to enjoy the same rights the whites have long enjoyed), would pave the way for Martin Luther King’s dream of a nation where people will not be judged by the color of their skin. The KKK at Mississippi would not allow this.
After slavery against the blacks was abolished, laws were enacted to give more opportunities to African-Americans. They were given access to education, healthcare, and civil rights, albeit a segregation system was still used. In the movie, blacks and whites had separate water fountains (albeit the white’s water fountain looked newer and more expensive) which exemplified “the separate but equal” system of segregation between races. While other states have abolished racism, a laidback town in Mississippi continued to discriminate against African-Americans.
When three civil rights activities tried to tilt the scale, the White Knights at Mississippi threatened them and asked them to leave. The three activists a black, a Jew, and a white (a confessed “nigger lover”), all in their teens or early twenties, persisted, and so they were murdered by 8 members of the KKK. This has been the tactic used by the group – they kill people who opposed their beliefs.
The murder of the three activists was not simply a crime, but an act of terrorism. A crime is defined as an illegal or immoral act, while terrorism involves a crime which is planned and performed by a group, primarily with political motives. Had a bully robbed stolen lunch money from a nerd at the end of summer camp, it would have been a crime. The three activists, who were promoting the welfare of African-Americans, met the same fate blacks have suffered for decades. It wasn’t the first time that the KKK had committed murdered; they kill blacks and burn their houses on many occasions. Agent Rupert Anderson, one of the two F.B.I. agents tasked to solve the case, in fact, admitted that having three people murdered in Mississippi is not news. The KKK was doing terrorist-like activities – they have banded together for decades, discriminating and murdering African-Americans, using the political motive that they are supreme against people of other color. Hence, all members of the KKK should have been held liable for the murder against the three activists.
The initial strategy of the F.B.I. in the film led to fears that there might be a whitewash. In Mississippi and other southern states, whites are usually not jailed or persecuted for any crimes committed against the blacks. Juries rarely convict whites for fear of reprisals from KKK members. Things appear to go that way, especially when Agent Anderson and Alan Ward, who performs his investigation in a “by the book manner” couldn’t get along together. The two were discouraged by the town’s sheriff and mayor themselves. The sheriff and the mayor suggested that coercive activities performed by the “white culture” were normal and that they should just both go home.
However, after Agent Anderson was told, “You tell your queer-loving nigger bosses that they ain’t never gonna find those civil rightsers!”, the F.B.I. exhibited a firm stance and brutal approach in their investigation. Despite apprehensions by Agent to this form of witch hunting, Mr. Anderson succeeded in digging the truth on the murders, despite initial efforts by townsmen to speak up. Among many brutal scenes, he grabbed the crotch of one of the suspects, who asked him to go him, in order to show the latter that he wasn’t afraid of the KKK. At a barbershop, he threatened another suspect with a blade, and pushed him all over, in order to force him to let the truth come out.
Albeit the method used by the F.B.I was somewhat illegal, it was appropriate under the circumstances. The African-Americans have been victims of violence and oppression for decades. If the country was serious in stopping racism, apartheid, and discrimination, they should let the truth come out at all costs, even at the expense of having some of the suspects being pushed around in order to tell the truth. For the common good, the perpetrators of the murder of the three activists had to be jailed. Otherwise, racists like the KKK would have continued acting like terrorists. Because of teaching the murderers a lesson, equal opportunities and rights have been given to people, regardless of their color. Today, we have a 50/50 chance that an African-American will be the next president of the United States of America.