In 1964, less than 7% of Mississippi’s African Americans were registered to vote, compared to between 50 and 70% in other southern states. In many rural counties, African Americans made up the majority of the population and the segregationist white establishment was prepared to use any means necessary to keep them away from the polls and out of elected office. As Mississippian William Winter recalls, “A lot of white people thought that African Americans in the South would literally take over and white people would have to move, would have to get out of the state.”
This summer fifty years ago well over a thousand volunteers went to Mississippi to help register as many African-Americans as possible to vote, in the Freedom Summer, which would end with at least seven people murdered for their support for the campaign. For PBS's American Experience series, director Stanley Nelson has created a movie about the campaign, which you can watch online
. A transcript
and other resources
are also available.
posted by MartinWisse
on Jul 23, 2014 -
Cairo, Illinois is mostly abandoned.
It was once a thriving city of 15,000, but the Mississippi barges don't stop there anymore, and racial turmoil,
including a three-year boycott of white-owned businesses
that refused to hire black workers, killed the town's economy. The Cairo Project
, from Southern Illinois University, is a good overview of Cairo's history and its current situation.
Can punk label Plan-it-X
start a rebirth by moving to Cairo
and opening a coffeeshop
? If it helps, there's still good barbecue
posted by escabeche
on Jun 12, 2010 -
"I couldn't let these Klansmen get away with murder..." Investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell has started a blog
focusing on cold case murders
of civil rights workers. In this Moth Podcast
, Mitchell discusses some of his investigations, the death threats he received, and the stunning redemption and forgiveness he witnessed. For his work Mitchell
was recently awarded
a MacArthur "Genius
" grant. [more inside]
posted by bguest
on Feb 15, 2010 -
Reagan at Neshoba.
Some time ago, a blog post was authored at Mahablog
which suggested that movement politics can best be understood when their rhetoric is viewed as a series of metaphors, with an allegory made to a spectacular episode of Stark Trek: The Next Generation featuring Paul Winfield titled "Darmok"
Picard and crew stumble across an alien race that speaks only in metaphor. The alien captain, frustrated by the failure to communicate, transports Picard to the surface of a planet, where they must learn to communicate or die. The alien captain does finally reach Picard, but dies as a result of his injuries battling an invisible predator.
By way of comparison, examine Candidate Ronald Reagan's speech at Neshoba [audio, 57MB
, additional context here
]. Some pundits are claiming that it is an example of the Southern Strategy
codified as dog-whistle politics, whilst others view it as an honest mistake
, and others still find an inconvenient long sequence of other "honest mistakes"
. [more inside]
posted by rzklkng
on Nov 13, 2007 -
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
was created in 1956 by the Mississippi Legislature in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education
decision. The Commission's express purpose was to "do and perform any and all acts and things deemed necessary and proper to protect the sovereignty of the state of Mississippi, and her sister states." In other words, it was an official tax-funded agency to combat the activities of the Civil Rights Movement. Their records are now online
posted by marxchivist
on Dec 5, 2006 -
The May 1970 Tragedy at Jackson State University: "Lest We Forget..."
'In the Spring of 1970, campus communities across this country were characterized by a chorus of protests and demonstrations. The issues were the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia; the ecology; racism and repression; and the inclusion of the experiences of women and minorities in the educational system. No institution of higher education was left untouched by confrontations and continuous calls for change. '
'At Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi, there was the added issue of historical racial intimidation and harassment by white motorists traveling Lynch Street, a major thoroughfare that divided the campus and linked west Jackson to downtown ... '
posted by plep
on Nov 22, 2003 -
Emmett just barely got on that train to Mississippi. We could hear the whistle blowing. As he was running up the steps, I said, 'Bo,'--that's what I called him--'you didn't kiss me. How do I know I'll ever see you again?' He turned around and said, 'Oh, Mama.' Gently scolding me. He ran down those steps and gave me a kiss. As he turned to go up the steps again, he pulled his watch off and said, 'Take this, I won't need it.' I said, 'What about your ring?' He was wearing his father's ring for the first time. He said, 'I'm going to show this to my friends.' That's how we were able to identify him, by that ring. I think it was a Mason's ring.
, 81, who wanted the world to see her teenage son's
after his slaying in Mississippi in 1955 and who became a figure in the civil rights movement, died of a heart ailment Jan. 6 at a hospital in Chicago. She had kidney failure.
The impact of the Emmett Till case on black America was even greater than that of the Brown decision. On January 20, 2003, The American Experience will present, on PBS, The Murder of Emmett Till
. (Continued Inside)
posted by y2karl
on Jan 9, 2003 -