The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
Alphabetical List of All Collections | Collections Listed By Subject
Collection Title: Mississippi Education Association Records
Collection Number: M128
Volume: 1.35 cu.ft.
Provenance: Given to the University of Southern Mississippi by Charles A. Johnson, Jr., in 1986. Mr. Johnson, known to educators as "Charlie," was Executive Secretary of the Mississippi Education Association for ten years; he retired from that position in June 1975.
The Mississippi Education Association was founded in 1885 and was for many years the strongest teachers' association in the state. Its membership was predominately white; its counterpart for black teachers was the Mississippi Teachers Association.
In 1965 and 1966, amidst civil rights struggles, the National Education Association passed resolutions requiring that its member state associations remove discriminatory language from their constitutions and eliminate racial guidelines for membership, thereby forcing states with dual associations to move toward merger. Leaders from the Mississippi Education Association and the Mississippi Teachers Association met during the NEA's national convention in Miami, Florida, and adopted a statement that the two groups would work toward the formation of a single organization. In the fall of 1966 the officers of the two associations met for the first time.
A joint steering committee, composed of the officers of MEA and MTA, was formed in January 1967 and met monthly throughout 1968. Three subcommittees were formed: Accreditation, Constitution, and Property and Finance.
During 1968, both MEA and MTA representatives offered merger plans, but since neither plan was acceptable, Dr. Fred Hipp, a fact finder representing the National Education Association, was sent to Mississippi. Dr. Hipp prepared a merger plan which was submitted to both associations in March 1969. The plan involved the following elements: (1) a constitution would be developed by the officers of MEA and MTA during the coming year; (2) officers (co-presidents and vice-presidents) of both organizations would continue to serve for six years; (3) for six years the board would be composed of equal representation while the delegate assembly would be formed on a proportional basis; (4) the constitution would be reworked after six years. MTA members approved this plan while MEA members voted against it.
MEA was suspended from membership in the National Education Association in 1969, and a deadline of December 31, 1969, was set for both state organizations to agree to a merger plan. MEA appointed a committee of 35 which met in August 1969 and recommended that MTA appoint a similar group and that the two committees meet on September 25, 1969. Following this and a second joint meeting, eight members selected from each group met and proposed their own plan based on eliminating co-officers and use of alternate presidents. This plan was presented to delegates of both associations in March 1970 at which time MTA approved the plan and MEA rejected it. A second vote of MEA delegates was allowed by NEA after the MEA Board voiced its approval of the plan, but delegates again rejected the plan.
In 1970, MTA became the state's NEA affiliate organization, but periodic contact continued between NEA and MEA. In 1972 a Dialog Committee, composed of 5 members from MEA and 5 from MTA, met to prepare a legislative program for Mississippi schools, and merger was briefly discussed. A Unification Committee functioned in 1973 and early 1974, at which time another proposal for uniting the organizations was considered. Officials of the National Education Association continued to talk and work with both groups, and in March 1975 merger between the two groups was approved by both delegate assemblies.
This collection consists principally of correspondence, committee minutes, and reports, notes from formal and informal discussions, newspaper clippings, and press releases and publications from the Mississippi Education Association, the Mississippi Teachers Association, and the National Education Association. Most materials relate to the attempted merger of the predominately black Mississippi Teachers Association, although there is also information about other states working toward merger agreements during 1968-1972.
Five series have been established within the collection. The largest, Series I, consists of materials form the MEA describing the merger activities in which officers, board members, and delegates participated from 1966-1974. Separate series reflect the NEA's activities in the merger process, (Series IV); the MEA/MTA joint activities through their Joint Steering Committee, Dialogue Committee, and the Unification Committee, (Series III); and merger documents and procedures from other states, (Series V). Two smaller series reflect MTA activities during the period (Series II) and miscellaneous national reports and publications along with newspaper clippings on the merger process (Series VI).
Publications by and about the Mississippi Education Association are available in the McCain Library:
MBEA Newsletter (Cleveland, Miss.: The Association, semiannual), call number HF1101.M7 M585 1994-96.
Mississippi Business Education Association Journal (Mississippi State, Miss.: The Association, biennial, 1993 - ), call number HF1101.M7 M58.
Mississippi Educational Advance (Jackson, Miss.: Mississippi Education Association, 1911- ), call number LA313 .M53.
Education and Research for Mississippi's Economic Development: An Address / by Governor Paul B. Johnson, December 16, 1965 (Jackson, Miss.: Mississippi Education Association, 1966), call number HC107.M7 J63 1966.
Brewer, James H., History of Mississippi Education Association, 1957-1976 (Jackson, MS: MEA Publication Committee, 1992), call number LA313 .B7495x 1992.
I: MEA Materials (Box 1)
I I: MTA Materials (Box 2)
III: MEA/MTA Joint Activities (Box 2)
IV: NEA Materials (Box 2)
V: Merger Reports From Other States (Box 3)
VI: Miscellaneous Materials (Box 3)