The University of Southern Mississippi -- McCain Library and Archives
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Collection Title: Civil Rights in the South Collection
Collection Number: M406
Dates: ca. 1958-2004
Volume: .75 cu. ft.
Restrictions: Available for research use by the serious student and scholar.
Even after Constitutional Amendments had granted African Americans citizenship and the right to vote, racial discrimination and racial segregation still predominated throughout the South. To rectify the situation, a massive grassroots movement was necessary. The Civil Rights Movement in the United States was a mass movement of non-violent protests in which whites and blacks joined forces to put an end to racial discrimination. Some of the most influential and important events in the Movement took place between the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Topeka, Kansas decision and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. Civil Rights, however, has a long and continuing history in the United States.
After the Civil War,
the thirteenth (1865), fourteenth (1868), and fifteenth (1870) Amendments
to the Constitution were passed that outlawed slavery, gave citizenship
to all people born in the United States, and gave the right to vote to
all regardless of race, respectively. However, white supremacy prevailed
in the South and people were reluctant to abide by these changes. The
1896 Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court Case decided that as long as accommodations,
travel, and services were equal for whites and blacks, they could remain
segregated. This case coined the phrase “separate but equal”
allowing the South to remain segregated.
Civil rights groups organized non-violent protests, sit-ins, and marches to support desegregation of public services and places, and to support the equality of African Americans in voting rights and citizenship. Vigilante groups like the Ku Klux Klan and social regulations like the Jim Crow Laws denied African Americans these rights through violence, intimidation, and deception. Some state governments even set up tax-funded organizations like the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (1956-1977) to defend and preserve racial segregation.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders spearheaded marches, sit-ins, protests, and boycotts, including the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956, the March on Washington in 1963, and the Selma March in 1965. In 1961 SNCC began the Freedom Rides from Washington DC throughout the South, however, met with violence, they had to cancel them. In 1962 the same student organization opened “Freedom Schools” throughout the South to teach local African Americans about voter registration. In 1964 volunteers led the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project to help African Americans register to vote as well as challenge the all-white political parties in the state.
After long years of struggling for equality, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act in1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965 and Congress forced desegregation. In 1968 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated and this marked the end of the organized Movement, but the legacy lives on. Programs marking Black History Month and the success of the Mississippi Freedom Summer Project are celebrated annually.
(2004). American Voices from the Civil Rights Movement. New
This collection is a compilation of various materials relating to the Civil Rights Movement in the South donated by WDAM-TV, WUSM-FM, faculty at The University of Southern Mississippi, and other individuals between the years 1999-2005.
The collection includes videos, publications, correspondence, pamphlets, and other items relating to the Civil Rights Movement. Of particular interest are:
- CBS News Production
video of “History Undercover: Mississippi State Secrets” (2001)
Also in the collection are advertising posters for Hattiesburg High School 's production of “Freedom Summer”; a September 22, 1958 copy of Life magazine that includes several articles about desegregation; and an August 18, 1962 copy of Mississippi Free Press.
More materials may be added to this collection in the future.
Box and Folder List
Folder 2 Booklet: Medical Committee for Human Rights, 1964-1997.
Folder 3 Compact Disc: Zinn, Howard Interview (WUSM, November 17, 2004).
Folder 4 Fairchild Lecture Series: “The Courage to Act,” Hattiesburg, Mississippi (2004).
Folder 5 Ku Klux Klan Document (ca. 1960s).
Folder 6 Mississippi Sovereignty Commission: Correspondences (ca. 1958-1067) [Photocopies].
Folder 7 Pamphlet:
“Racial Amalgamation Propaganda versus Segregation and
Folder 8 Video: Hattiesburg
High School Production of “Freedom Summer” and
Folder 9 Video: “History
Undercover: Mississippi State Secrets,” CBS News
Folder 10 Video: WDAM-TV
Film Footage of Civil rights Related Events in
Folder 11 “Voices of Civil Rights,” Hattiesburg, Mississippi (2004).
Folder 2 Life magazine (September 22, 1958).
Folder 3 Mississippi Free Press newspaper (August 18, 1962).
Provenance: Donated by Callie McCune, Agnes Mazur, and Mona Ghadiri on March 27, 2006
Volume: 1 DVD film
Copyright: This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).
Form of Material:
One DVD copy of a
film titled “Carrying the Burden: The Story of Clyde Kennard.”
The documentary film is approximately 15 minutes in length, and was produced
by Mona Ghadiri, Callie McCune, and Agnes Mazur, students at Stevenson
High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, as a history project. The film
chronicles Clyde Kennard’s attempts to integrate the University
of Southern Mississippi in the late 1950s.