Official Ceremony June 21 FBI building named for Moore, Chaney, Schwerner, Goodman
By Earnest McBride
JA Contributing Editor
Jackson’s new FBI headquarters at 1220 Echelon Parkway in North Jackson will bear the name of four men who were associated with one of the most nefarious cases in the agency’s history. All are now deceased, but their names and related stories will be remembered throughout the coming years, thanks in part to the building named in their honor.The Naming Ceremony for the James Chaney-Andrew Goodman-Michael Schwerner-and-Roy K. Moore Building is scheduled for June 21. The ceremonies will include speeches by 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson and Ben Chaney, the younger brother of James E. Chaney, the Meridian Civil Rights worker who was reputed to be one of the most dedicated native Mississippians involved with the civil rights movement of that time.The Opening Ceremony for the still-to-be-named building took place on June 9, 2010. The 110,000 square feet of space in the new facility is 250 percent larger than the three floors of offices in the McCoy Federal Building. The structure sits on 10 acres along Echelon Parkway.“I am pleased to have sponsored the legislation that will bestow a most befitting honor upon the contributions and great sacrifices of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner and FBI Agent Roy K. Moore,” Thompson said Wednesday. “These men committed their lives to fighting for justice and equality. This building is a statement to the effect that they are neither gone nor forgotten. And I sincerely hope that the memory of their great work will continue to inspire Mississippians for many years to come.”Andre Chaney, the 32-year-old son of Ben Chaney and nephew of James Chaney, said his family considers this to be a great honor to have the building dedicated to his uncle and his associates.“My uncle tried to make a big difference here in this state to allow people to vote. He sacrificed his life for that It took over thirty years to bring justice, what measure we have gotten in his name. And now the dedication of this FBI headquarters building is a huge step toward allowing my uncle to have the relief of knowing that what he did back in the ‘sixties has brought about these results. Your ability to go out and give your life to allow African Americans the right to vote brought about the chance for us to elect our first African American President. I think we are honored and it is heart-warming to the Chaney family to know that this building is being dedicated to him.”Philadelphia, MS, Mayor James Young, who will host the First National Conference on Civil Rights June 19-21, likewise says it is a good thing to have the new FBI building named for the three Civil Rights martyrs and for the agent who cracked the case. Philadelphia was the location of the burial site of Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney after they were beaten and shot to death by Klansmen and law enforcement officers from Neshoba County.“It is a great act of recognition of the price these three men paid in sacrificing their lives in the cause of freedom,” Young said from his office at Philadelphia City Hall Wednesday. “And we give praise to Agent Moore for his dedication to his duty to uphold the law. As the federal, state and local governments recognize all four of them, this gives even more critical attention to just how costly freedom is in our country.“Their death was the shot heard around the world for the Civil Rights Movement and shows how important their great work has been in bringing about necessary changes for the state of Mississippi and all its citizens.”The Neshoba County murders played a major role in getting an FBI office assigned to Jackson in 1964. After the assassination of Medgar Evers in June 1963 and of Schwerner, Goodman, and Chaney in 1964, Washington gave strong emphasis to cracking open and putting an end to a growing defiance of federal law and the rights of black people all over Mississippi. It was Roy Moore who was assigned the task of solving the murders by any means necessary. Director J. Edgar Hoover attended the opening of the Jackson headquarters on July 10, 1964.The FBI had closed down in its operations in Jackson in 1946, because of a lack of activity requiring the agency’s skills. All Mississippi investigatory business was transferred to either the Memphis or New Orleans FBI operations and the Jackson office was closed permanently.