Spies Of Mississippi: The True Story Of The Spy Network That Tried To Destroy The Civil Rights Movement (Large Print 16pt)by Rick Bowers
The book begins in 1956 with the birth of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission and follows its terrifying evolution from state - run propaganda outlet to a clandestine espionage network and secret police force with the mission to save segregation and block voting rights for African Americans. The Commission ruined careers and destroyed reputations, funnelled state funds to white supremacist organisations, and bribed journalists to print false information. It created an extensive network of paid informants, including black spies who snooped on their neighbours and infiltrated the NAACP. The agents intervened in a number of the highest profile events of the civil rights era, including screening jurors for the defense of a notorious Klan leader accused of the murder of NAACP leader Medgar Evers. While learning of its behind - the - scenes role, readers will encounter such historical events as Brown v Board of Education, the integration of Ole' Miss, the Freedom Rides, and Freedom Summer, but from the unique point of the entrenched opposition. ''The Spies of Mississippi'' will inspire readers with real accounts of civil rights leaders, students activists, and ordinary citizens who overcame the forces of white supremacy to usher in a new era. ''The Spies of Mississippi'' is based on a comprehensive review of 128,000 pages of documentation in the Commission archive, exclusive interviews with surviving participants as well as civil rights activists named in the once - secret files, reviews of the personal papers of past governors, commissioners and investigators, and writings and oral histories of Mississippi civil rights leaders.
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I thought I knew the broad outlines of the civil rights movement - but I never knew the extent the state of MS used spies to vilify, diminish and ruin the lives of private citizens. This book highlights a number of cases where Mississippi tossed aside the bill of rights and used a highly efficient spy network to keep tabs on its own black citizens and others. Why? These 'suspicious' folks had the nerve to try to vote, to go to a public school, to use the bathroom at a gas/bus station, to travel freely, to replace a white man in a factory job. The book introduces the Sovereignty Commission files - now on line at MDAH.org - that copiously details every movement of members of the NAACP and CORE during those fateful summers in the early 60's. The story of Clyde Kennard is extremely painful. Read this book, learn from the past. Morn the loss of potential denied to so many. Do better.
The link to the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission files should read http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/.
I love myself and civil rights, but mostly MYSELF /:-)