"Everyone in Oxford is very upset about the three missing workers from the Philadelphia area."
Thanks to the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, we have a brief glimpse of daily life for the Freedom Summer volunteers still in training in Oxford, Ohio, after the disappearance of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Mickey Schwerner on June 21, 1964.
The memo, dated June 24, 1964, was written by Agent X, a black man from Mississippi who had joined the movement to spy for the Sovereignty Commission and traveled to Oxford.
The ostensible purpose of the document is to report on the comments by movement leader James Lawson that morning regarding a recent conversation with Martin Luther King, and King's plans "to clean things up" in Jackson -- just the kind of fear fantasy the Sovereignty Commission loved to traffic in.
More pertinent today are Lawson's comments on the importance that the students remain non-violent once in Mississippi.
"He told [the students] that they were not going to Mississippi to make war, although it would be worse than a war, as they would be beaten by the police and local people." And worse.
And more poignant is the students' resolve in spite of the clear and present danger they faced in Mississippi.
"They are very hurt [by the news about the three who disappeared] but say they will not stop their plans," Agent X reports.
"Floods of telegrams and telephone calls came into Oxford from the parents of their students and the students would not answer them until urged to do so by the officials."