The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and the Kennedy Administration, 1960-1964
A History in Documents
392 Pages / 6.00 x 9.00 x 1.19 in / 1 halftone, 1 map
- Hardcover /
- 9780807168745 /
- Published: April 2018
- eBook /
- 9780807168769 /
- Published: April 2018
In the early 1960s, civil rights activists and the Kennedy administration engaged in parallel, though not always complementary, efforts to overcome Mississippi’s extreme opposition to racial desegregation. In The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and the Kennedy Administration, 1960–1964, James P. Marshall uncovers this history through primary source documents that explore the legal and political strategies of the federal government, follows the administration’s changing and sometimes contentious relationship with civil rights organizations, and reveals the tactics used by local and state entities in Mississippi to stem the advancement of racial equality.
A historian and longtime civil rights activist, Marshall collects a vast array of documents from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and excerpts from his own 1960s interviews with leading figures in the movement for racial justice. This volume tracks early forms of resistance to racial parity adopted by the White Citizens’ Councils and chapters of the Ku Klux Klan at the local level as well as by Mississippi congressmen and other elected officials who used both legal obstructionism and extra-legal actions to block efforts meant to promote integration. Quoting from interviews and correspondence among the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee members, government officials, and other constituents of the Democratic Party, Marshall also explores decisions about voter registration drives and freedom rides as well as formal efforts by the Kennedy administration—including everything from minority hiring initiatives to federal litigation and party platform changes—to exert pressure on Mississippi to end segregation.
Through a carefully curated selection of letters, interviews, government records, and legal documents, The Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and the Kennedy Administration, 1960–1964 sheds new light on the struggle to advance racial justice for African Americans living in the Magnolia State.
Expanding on his previous, revelatory work on student activism in the Civil Rights era, James P. Marshall has produced an annotated document reader that offers an extensive history of the connection between Mississippi’s Civil Rights leaders and the Kennedy administration. As an activist in the 60’s, Marshall had remarkable access to Civil Rights leaders as they made historic decisions; his interviews with these figures are chronicled here along with a new, meticulous examination of documents in the John F. Kennedy Library. His comprehensive research includes personal letters, public documents, timelines, and maps to illuminate a crucial era in our history and to provide an invaluable scholarly resource. ~Henry Louis Gates, coauthor of The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross
This is an indispensable book for students of history interested in the responses of the John F. Kennedy's administration to developments in the Mississippi civil rights movement. James P. Marshall's interviews of key players related to the movement, as well as his meticulous selection of historical documents, place these unfolding events in an illuminating sociohistorical context. ~William Julius Wilson, author of More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City
This splendid, comprehensive work offers endless challenges to teachers and students of southern history. . . . What James P. Marshall describes as his ‘intertwining of . . . movement-related documents and those collected at the Kennedy Library in Boston’ makes it possible for even newcomers to these issues to propose serious responses. ~Staughton Lynd, author of Doing History from the Bottom Up
Interviews Marshall conducted in 1965–66, plus documents from the King Center and the Kennedy Library archives, take readers behind the scenes. Familiar with the forest, he examines certain trees to illuminate the early civil rights movement. . . . Teachers may rejoice; the book is a clear outline of how to use primary and secondary sources. ~Bob Zellner, author of The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement
- Lillian Smith Book Award