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History of Racism in Mississippi
07. April 2020 at 21:07
Uneducated Politicians, Followed By Racism Is The Curse In The Development Of Any Country. Racism, a creed that creates a sense of discrimination among humans of superior and inferior is a curse on the passion of humanity. Have you ever wondered who much ugly this spirit of racism for humanity? Racism is a catastrophe that kills the honor of humanity and promotes obscene. A belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to physical appearance, and can be divided based on the superiority of one race over another. Racism should be eradicated from society and equality based on equity should be established.

Racism is also considered as prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against other people because they are of a different race or ethnicity. History: Racism existed during the 19th century as "scientific racism", which attempted to provide a racial classification of humanity. In 1775 Johann Blumenbach divided the world's population into five groups according to skin color (Caucasians, Mongols, etc.), positing the view that the non-Caucasians had arisen through a process of degeneration.


Polygamist Christophe Mainers for example, split mankind into two divisions which he labeled the "beautiful White race" and the "ugly Black race". In Meiners' book, The Outline of History of Mankind,(1) he claimed that a main characteristic of race is either beauty or ugliness. He viewed only the white race as beautiful. He considered ugly races to be inferior, immoral and animal-like. Racism is a relatively modern concept, arising in the European age of imperialism, the subsequent growth of capitalism, and especially the Atlantic slave trade, of which it was a major driving force. It was also a major force behind racial segregation especially in the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and South Africa under apartheid; 19th and 20th century racism in Western culture is particularly well documented and constitutes a reference point in studies and discourses about racism.


Racism in the south of US-Mississippi: Either it is cultural racism or racism in political ground, Mississippi was the central point of every kind of racism. White people considered black people ugly and profane. People even treats far more better to their pets than white people who treated black people badly. White thinks themselves superior and heir of all things while black people didn’t get any opportunities to prove themselves, they were considered slaves and just slavery is their fate. Anne describes this scenario in her book in following sense: “Anne notices older white residents full of nostalgia or "yearning" for the past as they sing an old Southern ballad with references to "darkies." The South's past is marked by slavery and acute racial division. White Southerners romanticize this version of the South and see it as part of their heritage. Anne senses they might cling to this lifestyle at the expense of the younger generation of black Southerners.”(2) Black students can’t go into white schools and didn’t get any good opportunities to get handsome government jobs and to serve their nation and people. The history of school integration is long and complicated, and this statement is a gross over-simplification of the realities of the public schools in Mississippi.


While the 1954 Brown decision was intended to end segregation, only isolated incidents of Token de-segregation occurred in Mississippi until the end of the 1960s. Forced integration occurred in January 1970, and even then full integration was not the reality. Many white Mississippians went to great lengths to avoid racial integration, including supporting legislation that allowed the state government to close the public schools rather than integrate, voting to eliminate the compulsory school attendance law, and, most often, removing their children from the public schools and enrolling them in private segregationist academies.


In the late 1960s, Mississippi employed a system called “Freedom of Choice,” where parents could send their children to any public school they wished. By and large, Mississippi schools remained segregated under “Freedom of Choice,” because white families rarely sent their children to black schools, and black families had the difficult choice of keeping their children in sub-par black schools or sending them into harm’s way at majority-white schools. As one civil rights activist said, “You got to choose whether or not to send your child into hell every day. Some were brave and wanted change, but most just wanted to keep their babies safe. You can’t blame them for that. Any parent would want that.”


In 1969, however, the Supreme Court ruled that plans such as “Freedom of Choice” circumvented the law, and ordered that in January 1970 public schools had to integrate. Mississippi, which led the fight against outside agitators and the federal government, could not fight any more and bowed to the court order. (3) MISSISSIPPI: A PROFILE OF THE NATION'S MOST SEGREGATED STATE; Through Most of the State's History the White Supremacists Have Been Able to Control Government at the Local and State levels.


While most textbooks published in the early 1970s included the history of African Americans, the South lagged behind. Most Deep South states had large black populations, but they lacked power in the communities compared to the rest of the country. As a result, the white South could stall the integration of their history even after the integration of their schools. “White southerners had been the most visible obstacle to the racial integration of schoolbook history,” Joseph Moreau explained. Changes were slower in the South, because deep-rooted ideologies of white supremacy, racism, and the “southern way of life,” took longer to overcome. Mississippi textbook authors continued writing “whites only” history well into the 1970s and some into the 1980s.


New research debunked the “magnolia myths” regarding slavery, Reconstruction, and civil rights, but Mississippi students had no alternative to this outdated history until at least 1980.(4) This warped view of history had a profound psychological impact on all students, black and white. As Jennifer Ritter house’s book “Growing up Jim Crow” pointed out, “race was something that each generation of southerners had to learn.”(5) Southerners learned race through racial etiquette, largely taught by society and the family, but the classroom provided an important venue for molding southern minds. When white Mississippi children read about “happy and content slaves,” “corrupt Negro-controlled” Reconstruction governments, and “troublemaking” civil rights activists, while never reading about the brutality of slavery, violence of the Ku Klux Klan, or lynching, it created a fundamental misunderstanding about their history.


These “facts” left an indelible impression upon white students, serving as “primers in white supremacy.” It created a mindset where these white students would later fight for their “heritage,” at least as they understood it, and resist any changes in the racial status quo. In his memoir, Curtis Willkie, a native white Mississippian, explained how society beat white supremacy into children at every turn, from church sermons, to radio programs, and especially in the classroom, thereby teaching them to be racists. To describe the impact of this racial education, Willkie quoted a Salman Rushdie novel: “children are the vessels into which adults pour their poison.” (6) In contrast, black Mississippi schoolchildren found little to be proud of in their history textbooks. Many narratives available to Mississippi blacks before 1980 reinforced white supremacy and included African Americans as “voiceless appendages to the main story of whites,” stereotyped as “buffoons or ‘faithful darkies.’” This stripped any pride or agency from the race and taught blacks to believe that they were inferior.


In 1891, Edward A. Johnson, a black teacher and principal, argued that textbooks of the time were inadequate for black students. His complaints about North Carolina’s textbooks in the 1890s could be made for Mississippi’s approved textbooks through 1980. He stated that the textbook authors wrote “exclusively for white children” and “rhetorically isolated Blacks from the American story.” Johnson understood the psychological impact of these histories upon black students, and he asked: “how must the little colored child feel” to take their assigned history courses and never read “a favorable comment for even one among the millions of his fore-parents, who have lived through nearly three centuries of his country’s history?”(7) History of violence In 1955, Reverend George Lee, vice president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership and NAACP worker, was shot in the face and killed for urging blacks in the Mississippi Delta to vote. Although eyewitnesses saw a carload of whites drive by and shoot into Lee's automobile, the authorities failed to charge anyone. Governor Hugh White refused requests to send investigators to Belzoni, Mississippi, where the murder occurred.


In August 1955, Lamar Smith, sixty-three-year-old farmer and World War II veteran, was shot in cold blood on the crowded courthouse lawn in Brookhaven, Mississippi, for urging blacks to vote. In Local People, John Dittmer writes “although the sheriff saw a white man leaving the scene 'with blood all over him' no one admitted to having witnessed the shooting” and “the killer went free.” On September 25, 1961, farmer Herbert Lee was shot and killed in Liberty, Mississippi, by E.H. Hurst, a member of the Mississippi State Legislature. Hurst murdered Lee because of his participation in the voter registration campaign sweeping through southwest Mississippi. Authorities never charged him with the crime. According to Charles Payne in his book, I've got the Light of Freedom, “black witnesses had been pressured by the sheriff and others to testify that Lee tried to hit Hurst with a tire tool. They testified as ordered. Hurst was acquitted by a coroner's jury, held in a room full of armed white men, the same day as the killing. Hurst never spent a night in jail.” NAACP State Director Medgar Evers was gunned down in 1963 in his Jackson driveway by riflewielding white Citizens Council member Byron De La Beckwith from Greenwood, Mississippi.


Young Anne criticized this racism in following words: Now all of a sudden they were white ... their whiteness made them better than me. (8) Young Anne struggles to determine what it means to be white and what it means to be black. Why are these classifications so important? How will they affect her life? A sense of ranking and social hierarchy is central to her developing self-image, and she's discovering whiteness makes people "better" and blackness "worse," for reasons she can't determine. Influence of historical factors on the modern day racism: All of these things created a very negative impact on black people. It is a fact that Race-related stress was a significantly more powerful risk factor than stressful life events for psychological distress. Structural equation modeling results confirmed the hypotheses that psychological resources had a significant direct effect in minimizing psychological distress, and social resources had a significant stress-suppressing effect on race-related stress. Mississippi's lawmakers, law enforcement officers, public officials, and private citizens worked long and hard to maintain the segregated way of life that had dominated the state since the end of the Civil War in 1865.


The method that ensured segregation persisted was the use and threat of violence against people who sought to end it. By Curtis J. Austin Influence of historical factors on the south of US: Racism affects people’s well-being their health their social life turning them into psycho patients when they are denied to do jobs, services and education. Individuals A study of over 800 US secondary school students found that racism had huge mental health impacts on young people who experience it, including: Ongoing feelings of sadness, anger, depression and being left out headaches, increased heart rate, sweating, trembling and muscle tension a constant fear of being verbally or physically attacked not wanting to go to school having little or no trust in anybody apart from family. These impacts can reduce people's ability to work or study, and to achieve their future goals. Racism also affects people's general wellbeing when they are denied equal access to jobs, services and education. "Racism makes me question myself and why things have to be this way … I wondered one day what it would be like to be white and how much better my life would probably be. That was a low point." - Andrew, 19 Communities United States is a very culturally diverse state. . When racial tensions develop, they don't just affect one or two of us - they affect all as neighbors, workmates, friends and fellow Australians. Racism creates a society where people don't trust and respect each other. When it's allowed to flourish, it lessens us as a people. Remember the Stolen Generation, the White policy; these are the ugly times in our history. We need to be vigilant in making sure that these kinds of things are never allowed to happen again. There are no reasons or excuses for racism. It's just wrong.


The American Civil Rights Movement (1950s and 1960s) The American Civil Rights Movement in the late 1950s and 1960s represents a pivotal event in world history. The positive changes it brought to voting and civil rights continue to be felt throughout the United States and much of the world. Although this struggle for black equality was fought on hundreds of different “battlefields” throughout the United States, many observers at the time described the state of Mississippi as the most racist and violent. Mississippi's lawmakers, law enforcement officers, public officials, and private citizens worked long and hard to maintain the segregated way of life that had dominated the state since the end of the Civil War in 1865. The method that ensured segregation persisted was the use and threat of violence against people who sought to end it. Philosophy of nonviolence In contrast, the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement chose the tactic of nonviolence as a tool to dismantle institutionalized racial segregation, discrimination, and inequality. Indeed, they followed Martin Luther King Jr.'s guiding principles of nonviolence and passive resistance. Civil rights leaders had long understood that segregationists would go to any length to maintain their power and control over blacks. Consequently, they believed some changes might be made if enough people outside the South witnessed the violence blacks had experienced for decades. According to Bob Moses and other civil rights activists, they hoped and often prayed that television and newspaper reporters would show the world that the primary reason blacks remained in such a subordinate position in the South was because of widespread violence directed against them. History shows there was no shortage of violence to attract the media. Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner Perhaps the most notable episode of violence came in Freedom Summer of 1964, when civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner left their base in Meridian, Mississippi, to investigate one of a number of church burnings in the eastern part of the state. The Ku Klux Klan had burned Mount Zion Church because the minister had allowed it to be used as a meeting place for civil rights activists.


After the three young men had gone into Neshoba County to investigate, they were subsequently stopped and arrested by Neshoba County Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price. After several hours, Price finally released them only to arrest them again shortly after 10 p.m. He then turned the civil rights workers over to his fellow Klansmen. The group took the activists to a remote area, beat them, and then shot them to death. Dittmer suggests that because Schwerner and Goodman were white the federal government responded by establishing an FBI office in Jackson and calling out the Mississippi National Guard and U. S. Navy to help search for the three men. Of course this was the response the Freedom Summer organizers had hoped for when they asked for white volunteers. After several weeks of searching and recovering more than a dozen other bodies, the authorities finally found the civil rights workers buried under an earthen dam. Seven Klansmen, including Price, were arrested and tried for the brutal killings. A jury of sympathizers found them all not guilty. Sometime later, the federal government charged the murderers with violating the civil rights of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney. This time the Klansmen were convicted and served sentences ranging from two to ten years. In addition to these murders, violence persisted through mass arrests, jail beatings, lynchings, and church bombings. Eventually, national public exposure brought about substantive change. Once the cameras began to capture incidents similar to the ones described here, progress in the movement became a reality. President John F. Kennedy, and later President Lyndon Johnson, moved to put a halt to at least some of the violence by supporting the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Arms in defense: Nonetheless, many blacks had already taken it upon themselves to defend their lives and property with whatever weapons they could muster. Despite their adherence to the philosophy of nonviolence, Mississippi blacks understood too well the implications of not being armed to defend their lives and property. Civil rights workers throughout the state set up around-theclock surveillance of some of the churches and homes they used as meeting places. As far as they were concerned, not striking back while participating in a public protest was quite different from not defending one's home, church, or community center from imminent attack. Griffin McLaurin, a Covington County activist, recalled his experiences for the University of Southern Mississippi's Center for Oral History. He said civil rights activists “were guarding all of our houses” and “we formed a little group that was patrolling the community and keeping an eye on our community center.” McLaurin noted that there was still plenty of fear because they received threats on their lives every day. He added that although individual citizens and racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan “blew up a lot of cars on the road going to the center,” they did not succeed in bombing it because they kept a 24-hour watch on the building. McLaurin stated that “they'd come in late at night and try to get to the center, but we had our guards. We stood our ground, and whenever we heard something that we thought wasn't right, we had our firepower.” Walter Bruce, a Durant native and former chair of the Holmes County Freedom Democratic Party, told the Center for Oral History the story of how “fighting fire with fire” was the only way many blacks and their supporters were able to survive the sixties. Bruce: "Well, our strategy was we always did carry our weapons out there. ...And so, when they came over that Wednesday night and started to shooting, and when they got down there about half a mile, our people opened fire on them. And so, they turned around, and come back that away. And when they come back that a-way, the people on that side started shooting over the heads. And [when they] got in town, they said, "We not going to go back out there no more." And said, “Those niggers got all kinds of machine guns out there.”...and that word got out, and so from then on we never had no more problems when we'd go out there [with] nobody coming by shooting no more. So that broke that up." Curtis J. Austin, Ph.D., is professor of history at the University of Southern Mississippi. Posted February 2002.


For examples it is clear that many blacks used the term and tactic of nonviolence quite loosely. Their public stance was undoubtedly necessary to attract supporters and to compel government action, while the more private reliance on armed self-defense was a reality that few activists shunned. The larger Civil Rights Movement can attribute its success to the tactic of nonviolence contrasting with the exposure of violence-prone policemen, sheriffs, vigilante groups, and other defenders of the status quo. Yet, the tactic of armed self-defense was indispensable in order to protect lives and property since the courts and law enforcement officials often stood silent or protected the perpetrators of racist violence. Thus, blacks and their supporters were compelled to fight the evils of segregation with nonviolence as well as with force. While this may seem paradoxical, it worked to advance their struggle for freedom, equality, and justice.



REFERENCES: The reference books and articles consulted to prepare this article are as under 1- Outline of History of Mankind BY Meiners 2-Anne Moody, Part 1, Chapter 8 3-The Hardest Deal of all: The Battle over School Integration in Mississippi BY Charles Bolton 4-The Three R’s—Reading, ’Riting, and Race: The Evolution of Race in Mississippi History Textbooks, 1900-1995 BY Rebecca Miller Davis 5-Emphasis in original 6-Jennifer Ritterhouse, Growing Up Jim Crow: How Black and White Southern School Children Learned Race (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006), 7; Beveridge, “Racist Poison in School Books,” The African-American Heritage Association, in Zellner papers, Mss 674, Box 3, Folder 21, WHS; Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (New York: A.A. Knopf, 1981), quoted in Curtis Wilkie, Dixie: A Personal Odyssey Through Events That Shaped the Modern South (New York: Scribner, 2001), 50. 7-Moreau, Schoolbook Nation, 81, 163-64, 170; Edward A. Johnson, A School History of the Negro Race in America (Raleigh, N.C.: Edwards & Broughton, 1891), iii-iv, 91-92; Beveridge, “Racist Poison in School Books,” The African-American Heritage Association, in Zellner papers, Mss 674, Box 3, Folder 21, WHS. 8-Anne Moody, Part 1, Chapter 3 Curtis J. Austin, Ordinary People Living Extraordinary Lives: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, Hattiesburg, the Center for Oral History, University of Southern Mississippi, 2000. Sally Belfrage, Freedom Summer, Charlottesville, University Press of Virginia, 1990. Robert Burk, The Eisenhower Administration and Black Civil Rights, Knoxville, University of Tennessee Press, 1984. Eric Burner, and Gently Shall He Lead Them: Robert Parris Moses and Civil Rights in Mississippi, New York and London, New York University Press, 1994. Seth Cagin and Philip Gray, We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi, New York, MacMillan, 1988. John Dittmer, Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi, Urbana, University of Illinois Press, 1995. Myrlie Evers and William Peters, For Us the Living, New York, Doubleday, 1967. Doug McAdam, Freedom Summer, New York: Oxford University Press, 1988. Kay Mills, This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer, New York, Dutton, 1993. Anne Moody, Coming of Age in Mississippi, New York, Dial, 1968. Kenneth O'Reilly, Racial Matters: The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972, New York, the Free Press, 1989. Charles Payne, I've got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995. Herbert Shapiro, White Violence and Black Response, Amherst, University of Massachusetts Press, 1988. Timothy B. Tyson, Radio Free Dixie: Robert F. Williams and the Roots of Black Power, Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1999.


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Cite This Article As: Athar Azad Muhammad Athar Azad. "History of Racism in Mississippi." International Youth Journal, 07. April 2020.

Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/history-of-racism-in-mississippi





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