During the era of Jim Crow segregation, Mississippi represented the extremes of the South.
When the U.S. Supreme Court outlawed racial segregation in 1954, a few white moderates in Mississippi called for gradual acceptance of the ruling. They quickly turned radical, or silent.
Mississippi whites organized a broad network of citizens groups to enforce racial segregation. Their goal was to maintain white supremacy.
The Sovereignty Commission was both a propaganda machine and a spy agency. It kept extensive files on anyone suspected of civil rights involvement.
A race riot at The University of Mississippi led to a reign of terror against black citizens. It also caused some influential whites to rethink "massive resistance" to integration.
The mid-1960s in Mississippi were filled with racial violence and turmoil. But slowly the wall of segregation would crack.