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“Our Powerless Government”

Summer 1964
Salynn McCollum Papers
Vanderbilt University Special Collections

This petition, “Our Powerless Government,” appeared on the heels of the kidnapping (and later confirmed murder) of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, three activists involved in the Freedom Summer initiatives of 1964. The petition scathingly criticizes President Johnson and Attorney General Kennedy’s limited federal response to the violence in Mississippi. Three crimes are directly enumerated with accompanying legal calls to action directed at the President and Attorney General.