Michael Schwerner

Michael Schwerner
Michael Henry Schwerner

(1939-11-06)November 6, 1939
DiedJune 21, 1964(1964-06-21) (aged 24)
Cause of deathMurder
Spouse(s)Rita Bender
AwardsPresidential Medal of Freedom (posthumous)

Michael Henry "Mickey" Schwerner (November 6, 1939 – June 21, 1964), was one of three Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) field/social workers killed in Philadelphia, Mississippi, by members of the Ku Klux Klan. Schwerner and two others were killed in response to their civil rights work, which included promoting voting registration among African Americans, most of whom had been disenfranchised in the state since 1890.

Early life and education

Born and raised in a family of Jewish heritage, Schwerner attended Pelham Memorial High School in Pelham, New York. He was called Mickey by his friends. His mother was a science teacher at nearby New Rochelle High School, and his father was a businessman. Schwerner attended Michigan State University, originally intending to become a veterinarian. He transferred to Cornell University and switched his major to rural sociology.[1] While an undergraduate at Cornell, he was initiated into the school's chapter of Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity. He entered graduate school at the School of Social Work at Columbia University.

As a boy, Schwerner befriended Robert Reich, who later became U.S. Secretary of Labor. Schwerner helped protect Reich, who was smaller, from bullies.[2]

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