“On June 21, three project members, James Chaney, an African American from Meridian, Mississippi, Andrew Goodman, a white student from New York City, and Michael Schwerner, another white New Yorker […] on their way back from investigating a church burning, were arrested by a deputy sheriff in Philadelphia, Mississippi, and then released on the deserted road into a Ku Klux Klan ambush. Klan members killed all three and hid their bodies.”
I think that Freeman mentions that to show the importance and the scale of segregation and racism in the Southern states. He wants to show that with the first signs of emergence of civil rights in the South, especially Mississippi state, a lot of people became very resilient to it, not wanting to change or desegregate any part of their lives. The importance of this murders that took place on June 21 shows how the members of Ku Klux Klan were angry about any attempt of implementation any civil rights in the state. If before the victims of Ku Klux Klan were African Americans, so now there were white victims, which proves that it is not only the issue of racism but the issue of not giving up the old way of living in any case by any matter. In addition, the fact that the young civil rights workers were arrested by a deputy sheriff and then thrown into Ku Klux Klan den shows that the violence and terror was deeply integrated into state’s official structures.