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Ed King’s Mississippi: Behind the Scenes of Freedom Summer features more than forty unpublished black-and-white photographs and substantial writings by the prominent civil rights activist Rev. Ed King. The images and text provide a unique perspective on Mississippi during the summer of 1964. Taken in Jackson, Greenwood, and Philadelphia, the photographs showcase informal images of Martin Luther King Jr., Andrew Young, Mississippi civil rights workers, and college student volunteers in the movement. Ed King’s writings offer background and insights on the motivations and work of Freedom Summer volunteers, on the racial climate of Mississippi during the late 1950s and 1960s, and the grassroots effort by black Mississippians to enter the political arena and exercise their fundamental civil rights. King, a native of Vicksburg and a Methodist minister, was a founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and a key figure in the civil rights movement in the state in the 1960s. As one of the few white Mississippians with a leadership position in the movement, his words and photographs offer a rare behind-the-scenes chronicle of events in the state during Freedom Summer. King is a retired faculty member of the School of Health Related Professions, University of Mississippi Medical Center. Historian Trent Watts furnishes a substantial introduction to the volume and offers background on the Freedom Summer campaign as well as a description of King’s civil rights activism from the late 1950s to the present day.
An extraordinary photographic documentary from behind the scenes during the struggle for civil rights
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.
Intended for high school and college students, teachers, adult educational groups, and general readers, this book is of value to them primarily as a learning and reference tool. It also provides a critical perspective on the actions and legacies of ordinary and elite blacks and their non-black allies.
For decades after the Second World War, Senator James O. Eastland (1904–1986) was one of the more intransigent leaders of the Deep South’s resistance to what he called “the Second Reconstruction.” And yet he developed, late in his life, a very real friendship with state NAACP chair Aaron Henry. Big Jim Eastland provides the life story of this savvy, unpredictable powerhouse. From 1947 to 1978, Eastland wore that image of resistance proudly, even while recognizing from the beginning his was the losing side. Biographer J. Lee Annis Jr. chronicles such complexities extensively and also delves into many facets lesser known to the general public. Born in the Mississippi Delta as part of the elite planter class, Eastland was appointed to the US Senate in 1941 by Democratic Governor Paul B. Johnson Sr. Eastland ran for and won the Senate seat outright in 1942 and served in the Senate from 1943 until his retirement in 1978. A blunt man of few words but many contradictions, Eastland was an important player in Washington, from his initial stint in 1941 where he rapidly salvaged several key local projects from bungling intervention, to the 1970s when he shepherded the Supreme Court nominees of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford to Senate confirmation. Annis paints a full picture of the man, describing the objections Eastland raised to civil rights proposals and the eventual accommodations he needed to accept after the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
On Saturday, September 5, 1964, the family of Albert W. “Red” Heffner Jr., a successful insurance agent, left their house at 202 Shannon Drive in McComb, Mississippi, where they had lived for ten years. They never returned. In the eyes of neighbors, their unforgiveable sin was to have spoken on several occasions with civil rights workers and to have invited two into their home. Consequently, the Heffners were subjected to a campaign of harassment, ostracism, and economic retaliation shocking to a white family who believed that they were respected community members. So the Heffners Left McComb, originally published in 1965 and reprinted now for the first time, is Greenville journalist Hodding Carter’s account of the events that led to the Heffners’ downfall. Historian Trent Brown, a McComb native, supplies a substantial introduction evaluating the book’s significance. The Heffners’ story demonstrates the forces of fear, conformity, communal pressure, and threats of retaliation that silenced so many white Mississippians during the 1950s and 1960s. Carter’s book provides a valuable portrait of a family who was not choosing to make a stand, but merely extending humane hospitality. Yet the Heffners were systematically punished and driven into exile for what was perceived as treason against white apartheid.
Winner of the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters' Nonfiction Award The dominant narrative of the role of white citizens and the white church in Mississippi's civil rights era focuses on their intense resistance to change. The "Born of Conviction" statement, signed by twenty-eight white Methodist pastors and published in the Mississippi Methodist Advocate on January 2, 1963, offered an alternative witness to the segregationist party line. Calling for freedom of the pulpit and reminding readers of the Methodist Discipline's claim that the teachings of Jesus permit "no discrimination because of race, color, or creed," the pastors sought to speak to and for a mostly silent yet significant minority of Mississippians, and to lead white Methodists to join the conversation on the need for racial justice. The document additionally expressed support for public schools and opposition to any attempt to close them, and affirmed the signers' opposition to Communism. Though a few individuals, both laity and clergy, voiced public affirmation of "Born of Conviction," the overwhelming reaction was negative-by mid-1964, eighteen of the signers had left Mississippi, evidence of the challenges faced by whites who offered even mild dissent to massive resistance in the Deep South. Dominant narratives, however, rarely tell the whole story. The statement caused a significant crack in the public unanimity of Mississippi white resistance. Signers and their public supporters also received private messages of gratitude for their stand, and eight of the signers would remain in the Methodist ministry in Mississippi until retirement. Born of Conviction tells the story of "the Twenty-Eight" illuminating the impact on the larger culture of this attempt by white clergy to support race relations change. The book explores the theological and ethical understandings of the signers through an account of their experiences before, during, and after the statement's publication. It also offers a detailed portrait of both public and private expressions of the theology and ethics of white Mississippi Methodists in general, as revealed by their responses to the "Born of Conviction" controversy.

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