In “Neshoba,” Micki Dickoff paints a vivid picture of the 1964 murders of three civil rights workers, and justice still unserved.
Special to the Jewish Week
In 1964 when she was only 17, Micki Dickoff asked her father if she could go to Mississippi to work with the volunteers of Freedom Summer, registering black voters. Her father, a Mississippi native, refused to allow her to go. His was the only Jewish family in a small Mississippi town, and he feared what she would find there. Not long after, his worst fears were confirmed when three of the volunteers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were murdered by local Klansmen, all of them deputy sheriffs of Neshoba County.
The ongoing debate over police brutality, which has gripped the city like few issues in recent memory, should be a matter of serious concern to the Jewish community, says a key Jewish councilman.
"We want a city that runs well, that people feel is operating in the interests of everybody," says Sheldon Leffler (D-Northern Queens). "Otherwise we have the potential for unrest, for explosion, for striking out."
It was one widow calling to console another. An ocean separated them, but history had linked them.
After the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin in 1995, Coretta Scott King, widow of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., wrote a letter to Rabinís widow, Leah, in which she expressed her condolences and pointed out that both of their husbands had fought for peace and had been killed by their own people: King by an American and Rabin by an Israeli.
If you ever loved and crashed with a broken heart, you understand: Long after the story is over, you go back to those places where something special happened. What is Zionism, after all, but after 2,000 years, going back to that place where Godís love wasnít hidden, a place before exile? For others, that place is a New England town meeting, a Civil War letter, a minor league field. For liberal Jews, too, there was a time, when black-Jewish relations made beautiful sense, when the impulse was biblical and the names were Goodman, Schwerner and Chaney, not Cato and Rosenbaum.