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Jimmy Snowden

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Jimmy Snowden
Jimmy Snowden's mugshot, taken in late 1964
James Snowden

(1933-09-21)September 21, 1933
DiedJuly 7, 2008(2008-07-07) (aged 74)
OccupationTruck driver
Criminal statusDeceased
SpouseMary Green
MotiveWhite supremacy
Conviction(s)Conspiracy to deprive rights (18 U.S.C. § 241)
Criminal penalty3 years imprisonment
VictimsJames Chaney, 21
Andrew Goodman, 20
Michael Schwerner, 24
CountryUnited States

James Snowden[1][2] (September 21, 1933[3] – July 7, 2008[4]) was an American truck driver and white supremacist. He was arrested as a co-conspirator in the 1964 murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner in Philadelphia, Mississippi, for transporting the kidnapped activists to a remote location to be killed. He was a member of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. He was sentenced in 1967 by federal district judge William Cox to three years for depriving the murdered men of their civil rights.[5]


Snowden was born in Lauderdale County, Mississippi, as the second youngest child to William D. Snowden and Essie A. Snowden. He had two sisters, Myrtle E. Snowden and Mary H. Snowden and two brothers William E. Snowden and John C. Snowden. At the time of the murders, aged 31, Snowden lived in Meridian, where he worked for Meridian Laundry.[2]


Klansman James Jordan testified Snowden was among the men who gathered at Akin’s Mobile Homes in Meridian, Mississippi to meet Edgar Ray Killen, who had instructed them about the three civil rights workers in jail in Philadelphia and needed to hurry before they were released. Klansman Horace Doyle Barnette said Snowden traveled with him to Philadelphia, where Killen showed the jail where the trio were being held and instructed them on where they should wait behind an old warehouse. After the three civil rights workers were released from jail at 10 p.m., the Klansmen pursued them in a high-speed chase. The trio pulled the station wagon over, and Sheriff's Deputy Cecil Price ordered them into his patrol car. Barnette identified Snowden as the one who then drove the station wagon to a remote road, where the trio were executed. Jordan identified Snowden as one of those present at the murder scene. Barnette said Snowden rode with him in his car to the dam, where the bodies were buried. Snowden was still with them at about 2 a.m. when fellow Klansman and alleged co-conspirator Lawrence A. Rainey, who was Sheriff of Neshoba County at the time, warned the others not to talk. Barnette said he drove back to Meridian and dropped Snowden off at Akin’s Mobile Homes.[3]


Snowden was indicted on February 28, 1967. He was later convicted of violating the civil rights of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner on October 20, 1967.[6] On December 29, 1967, Judge William Harold Cox sentenced Snowden to three years in federal prison.[7][8][9][10] However, only two of the three years were spent with Snowden behind bars: he was at FCI Texarkana until December 1971[11] and then transferred to FCI Lompoc until his release on 29 August, 1972.[12] Snowden was reportedly "roughed up" in prison by black inmates.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Snowden was a truck driver.[8][9][10] In fact, when he was released from prison, Snowden returned to trucking jobs in Meridian.[10] Snowden resided in Hickory, Mississippi, during the last years of his life.[3][8][9] Snowden was married to Mary Joyce Green (1936-2013).[13] They had one son, Davie Snowden (b. 1963) and two daughters, Vicky L Snowden and Brenda Faye Snowden.[14] Davie Snowden was arrested for shoplifting in July 2013.[15] Snowden's grandson, Thomas Davie Snowden (b. 1991) was arrested October 2012 in Mobile, Alabama, as a fugitive.[16]

While reporting about the death of fellow trial defendant Olen Lovell Burrage on March 18, 2013, New York Times journalist Douglas Martin claimed that James T. Harris was the only surviving defendant who was tried for the murders,[17] thus implying that Snowden had died by this point in time.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Murder in Mississippi | American Experience | PBS". www.pbs.org. Retrieved 2023-04-07.
  2. ^ a b Bradford Huie, William (2000). Three Lives for Mississippi. University Press of Mississippi. p. 151. ISBN 978-1578062478.
  3. ^ a b c Mitchell, Jerry (1 December 2007). "Six living suspects from 1964 civil rights murders". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  4. ^ Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2011.
  5. ^ "The Mississippi Burning Trial (U. S. vs. Price et al.) by Douglas O. Linder". Archived from the original on 2008-10-14. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
  6. ^ Putnam, Richelle (2011). Lauderdale County, Mississippi: A Brief History. The History Press. ISBN 9781609490218.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ Dickerson, James (1998). Dixie's Dirty Secret: The True Story of how the Government, the Media, and the Mob Conspired to Combat Integration and the Vietnam Antiwar Movement. M.E. Sharpe. p. 151. ISBN 9780765603401. jimmy snowden.
  8. ^ a b c Faulkner, Leesha (12 June 2005). "Cast of characters from 37 years ago has changed". Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal. Archived from the original on 11 March 2015. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b c Faulkner, Leesha (12 June 2005). "CAST OF CHARACTERS FROM 37 YEARS AGO HAS CHANGED". Free Republic. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d McWhorter, Diane (9 January 1989). "Since Mississippi Burned". People. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  11. ^ "Cox Considers Motion by Neshoba Prisoners". The Delta Democrat-Times. December 3, 1971.
  12. ^ "Three Civil Rights Slayers Are Released from Prison". Northwest Arkansas Times. August 29, 1972.
  13. ^ Social Security Administration. Social Security Death Index, Master File. Social Security Administration.
  14. ^ Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012
  15. ^ http://www.wtok.com/news/arrestreports/headlines/City-of-Meridian-Police-Report----July-2[permanent dead link] 4-2013-216822011.html
  16. ^ "SNOWDEN, THOMAS DAVIE Inmate BCSO12JBN006482: Baldwin County Jail in Daphne, AL". Archived from the original on 2016-08-20. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  17. ^ Martin, Douglas (18 March 2013). "Olen Burrage Dies at 82; Linked to Killings in 1964". The New York Times.