Civil Rights : [Dr. Robert Spike]

Wednesday, August 05, 1964

This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.

Introduced by Barrett McGurn. Opens with reference the the murder of three Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) field workers: Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner in Mississippi by members of the Ku Klux Klan. The young men, all in their early twenties, had just finished a week-long training trained course run by the National Council of Churches in Oxford, Ohio and were in Mississippi to help register African Americans to vote. Though the men had been missing since June 21, 1964, their bodies were not discovered until August 4, 1964 - the day before this recording. The bodies were found in a grave near Philadelphia, Miss.

Dr. Robert Spike, Executive Director of the National Council of Churches’ Commission on Religion and Race, discusses the Civil Rights training school in Oxford, Ohio (the same that Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner attended) and their work in Mississippi. He says that it is difficult to quantify the successes of the program, but he mentions some particular successes in the number of white voters, he also notes that the work is far from over and that the work of the Summer Project must continue past September.

Question and answer session follows - in particular are questions related to the role of local churches in the movement. Spike specifically notes the hostility of the Southern Baptist church. Questions also made related to the political climate, intimidation of the press, church burnings, and the attitude of the Federal Government in Mississippi.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection

WNYC archives id: 70389
Municipal archives id: T200


Barrett McGurn and Robert W. Spike


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Comprised of both speeches and question-answer sessions, this news program brings together foreign correspondents and public figures from culture and politics.

The Overseas Press Club (1940-1967) contains voices from the past that help us understand their time and place in history. What sets these talks apart from others like them is the presence of a live audience of foreign correspondents — reporters with international perspectives and questions. The resulting sessions have a distinctly different dynamic than would those with an audience of American journalists of the period.

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