Thursday, June 19, 2014

Trail To Honor Civil Rights Worker Andrew Goodman

Goodman Mountain TrailThe Adirondack Park Agency has approved the adoption and rerouting of a trail up Goodman Mountain (2,176 feet) in the Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest (part of the Bog River Complex) in honor of Andrew Goodman, a civil rights worker murdered on June 21, 1964.

Local historian William Frenette of Tupper Lake led a successful effort to have the peak named Goodman Mountain in 2002. The Goodman family built and lived in a stone house near the outlet of the Bog River at the south end of Tupper Lake that still stands today.

Goodman was helping register African Americans to vote near Philadelphia, Mississippi, as part of the Freedom Summer project of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) when he was abducted by members of the Ku Klux Klan along with Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney.

View of Coney Mtn from Goodman Mountain (APA Photo)Court records opened in 1998 show that Mississippi’s paid spy A.L. Hopkins provided information about Goodman, Chaney, and Schwerner’s license plate number to the state’s Sovereignty Commission who forwarded the information to the Neshoba County Sheriff.  After arresting the men on trumped-up charges, Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price, a member of the Klan, followed them in his patrol car, pulling them over again and turning them over to local Klansmen. The three civil rights workers were beaten, shot, and killed, and buried in a nearby earthen dam. Price and six co-conspirators were later convicted of federal civil rights violations but acquitted of murder. In 2005, Edgar Ray Killen was found guilty of the the lesser charge of manslaughter and was sentenced to sixty years in prison.

The Goodman Trail will start at Lumberjack Spring on Route 30 between Tupper Lake and Long Lake where an informal trail currently follows an old road for about a mile to a herd path marked with flagging and paint blazes that leads north-west to Goodman Mountain.

The new trail plan includes the construction of a bridge over Cold Brook and development of a six-car parking lot at the Lumberjack Spring trailhead.

Photo of the view of Coney Mountain from Goodman Mountain (courtesy DEC).

John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for more than 45 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John’s Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on North Country Public Radio and on WSLP Lake Placid.

He is also on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute and edits The New York History Blog. He is the author of two books of regional history.

12 Responses

  1. Jim Bullard says:

    Last year I questioned the presence of a large cross on Coney Mt. as a non-conforming structure. I was informed by DEC that it was a memorial to Andrew Goodman. At the time I responded that while he was deserving of a memorial I felt a cross on a state owned mountaintop with no plaque or explanation of its purpose did not seem to me to be a suitable memorial to Mr. Goodman. The naming of this trail (hopefully with explanatory signs) is a much more appropriate remembrance.

  2. Outlier says:

    How long until the ACLU sues because a religious symbol was erected on pubic property or the ADL complains a cross is inappropriate because Goodman was Jewish?

  3. Stu Nichols says:

    It is my understanding that the cross on Coney Mtn. is a memorial to a Tupper Lake resident (the family is Catholic I believe), put there by his family. I think it is pretty common knowledge among Tupper Lakers. Also, I have read that a kiosk at the trail head to Goodman Mtn. will tell his story.

    • Jim Bullard says:

      So, were there two people from the Tupper Lake area who were murdered while supporting civil rights in the 1960s? I’d only heard of one.

      • Jim Bullard says:

        Answering my own question: According to Wikipedia none of the 3 were ‘from’ Tupper Lake. James Meriden was from Mississippi. Andrew Goodman was born and raised in NYC. Michael Schwerner was from Pelham, NY (Westchester County). And yes, both goodman and Schwerner were Jewish. Chaney was a Catholic.

        • Andrew Goodman was from New York but summered with his family in the Adironadacks, in a stone house they built near Bog River Falls. As Mr. Warren relates, the house still stands. Andrew, who I believe was only 20 years old when he was murdered, is honored at the Beth Joseph Synagogue in Tupper Lake, where his photograph is displayed along with a text telling his story. I’ve read that Andrew’s sacrifice, and that of his friends Shwerner and Chaney, helped awaken the nation and provided the impetus for the Voting Rights Act of 1965. How appropriate that the trail and the mountain be named in Andrew’s memory. Thanks for the great article!

      • Stu Nichols says:

        The family who reportedly put the cross up on Coney Mtn. is a long time local family. It has nothing to do with murder or civil rights, just a memorial to a family member.

  4. Mary-Nell says:

    Thank you, John, for writing this. Fifty years after these three young men were murdered, we can honor their memory and sacrifice by remembering them and the thousands of others who joined Freedom Summer in 1964 to stand for justice. It’s a trail we still have a long way to travel on.

  5. Sally says:

    What a great tribute. I am familiar with that area and visit it often. What is the target for the completion of the trail?

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      I’ve heard that it will be done by the end of this summer, though I haven’t confirmed that.

  6. Sally Smith says:

    Has the trail up Goodman Mountain been created, marked and ready for hikers?