A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi

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Univ of North Carolina Press, Nov 21, 2005 - Political Science - 376 pages
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In this long-term community study of the freedom movement in rural, majority-black Claiborne County, Mississippi, Emilye Crosby explores the impact of the African American freedom struggle on small communities in general and questions common assumptions that are based on the national movement. The legal successes at the national level in the mid 1960s did not end the movement, Crosby contends, but rather emboldened people across the South to initiate waves of new actions around local issues.

Escalating assertiveness and demands of African Americans--including the reality of armed self-defense--were critical to ensuring meaningful local change to a remarkably resilient system of white supremacy. In Claiborne County, a highly effective boycott eventually led the Supreme Court to affirm the legality of economic boycotts for political protest. NAACP leader Charles Evers (brother of Medgar) managed to earn seemingly contradictory support from the national NAACP, the segregationist Sovereignty Commission, and white liberals. Studying both black activists and the white opposition, Crosby employs traditional sources and more than 100 oral histories to analyze the political and economic issues in the postmovement period, the impact of the movement and the resilience of white supremacy, and the ways these issues are closely connected to competing histories of the community.
  

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Contents

Chapter One Jim Crow Rules
1
Chapter Two A Taste of Freedom
15
Chapter Three Adapting and Preserving White Supremacy
28
Chapter Four Working for a Better Day
43
Chapter Five Reacting to the Brown Decision
64
Chapter Six Winning the Right to Organize
79
Chapter Seven A New Day Begun
91
Chapter Eight Moving for Freedom
101
Chapter Thirteen Our Leader Charles Evers
189
Chapter Fourteen Charles Everss Own Little Empire
207
Chapter Fifteen A Legacy of Polarization
224
Chapter Sixteen Not Nearly What It Ought to Be
241
Conclusion What It Is This Freedom?
255
Who Gets to Tell the Story?
269
Notes
283
Bibliography
317

Chapter Nine It Really Started Out at Alcorn
118
Chapter Ten Everybody Stood for the Boycott
128
Chapter Eleven Clinging to Power and the Past
148
Chapter Twelve Seeing that Justice Is Done
169
Acknowledgments
333
Index
339
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About the author (2005)

Emilye Crosby is professor of history at the State University of New York-Geneseo.

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