Early life and education
Andrew Goodman was born and raised in the Upper West Side of New York City, at 161 West 86 Street. He was the second of three boys born of Robert and Carolyn Goodman, and, like fellow murdered activist Michael Schwerner, was Jewish. His family and community were steeped in intellectual and socially progressive activism and were devoted to social justice. An activist at an early age, Goodman graduated from the progressive Walden School, which was said to have had a strongly formative influence on his outlook. He attended the Honors Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison for a semester but withdrew after falling ill with pneumonia.
Goodman then enrolled at Queens College, New York City, where he was a friend and classmate of Paul Simon. With Goodman's brief experience as an Off-Broadway actor, he originally planned to study drama but switched to anthropology. Goodman's growing interest in anthropology seemed to parallel his increasing political seriousness.