TUPPER LAKE — The late Andrew Goodman, whose family has a home here, will receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously.
Andrew was killed in June of 1964 while working to register black voters during Summer of Freedom outreach in the South.
Last summer, the Goodman Trail on Goodman Mountain here was officially dedicated in honor of Andrew, 50 years after his murder by white supremacists.
Goodman’s family has long kept a summer residence in Tupper Lake, and they frequented the summit of what is now known as Goodman Mountain.
Andrew’s brother, David Goodman, is president of the the Andrew Goodman Foundation, a group that remains dedicated to voting rights.
He has a summer home near the mountain, and celebrated the trail designation with Tupper Lakers last August.
DEATHS SHOCKED NATION
President Barack Obama announced the Medal of Freedom honorees this week.
There are 19 in all, including Andrew and two fellow Summer of Freedom workers, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, who were also killed June 21, 1964, as they traveled into Mississippi.
“As African Americans were systematically being blocked from voter rolls, Mr. Chaney, Mr. Goodman and Mr. Schwerner joined hundreds of others working to register black voters in Mississippi. Their deaths shocked the nation, and their efforts helped to inspire many of the landmark civil rights advancements that followed,” the White House said in a news release.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) sponsored legislation supporting the award for the three men.
“James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner were unsung heroes who sacrificed their lives in the fight for freedom, justice and equality for all,” she said in a news release.
Gillibrand has also requested the trio be commended with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“Voting is one of the most sacred rights we have as Americans, and it is important for us to reflect on our past and honor those who have fought to ensure every citizen has access to that basic freedom,” she said.
Both Goodman and Schwerner hail from New York state; Cheney lived in Mississippi.
“This recognition is long overdue, and I will push to make sure that the Gold Medal can stand as a memorial to commemorate their lives and fearlessness.”
On May 29, Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson and members of the Congressional Black Caucus requested Medals of Freedom for Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner.
“Fifty years ago, (their) lives were taken away from us at a far too early age,” Thompson said in a press announcement.
“These three young men, and countless others, paid the ultimate sacrifice in an effort to help bring equality to the state of Mississippi. Bestowing the nation’s highest civilian honor to these three men is a fitting tribute for their contribution toward making this country a more perfect Union.
“I commend President Obama for honoring these men and look forward to carrying on the spirit of their effort.”
Andrew's award will be presented to the Goodman family on Nov. 24 at the White House.
Among other honorees that day will be actress Meryl Streep; musician Stevie Wonder; newsman Tom Brokaw; Ethel Kennedy; American Indian activist Suzan Harjo; composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim; and choreographer Alvin Ailey.
“I look forward to presenting these 19 bold, inspiring Americans with our nation’s highest civilian honor,” Pres. Obama said in a news release.
“From activists who fought for change to artists who explored the furthest reaches of our imagination; from scientists who kept America on the cutting edge to public servants who help write new chapters in our American story, these citizens have made extraordinary contributions to our country and the world.”
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