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At the height of the civil rights movement in Mississippi, as hundreds of volunteers prepared for the 1964 Freedom Summer Project, the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) compiled hundreds of statements from activists and everyday citizens who endured police abuse and vigilante violence. Fifty-seven of those testimonies appear in Mississippi Black Paper. The statements recount how white officials and everyday citizens employed assassinations, beatings, harassment, and petty meanness to block any change in the state’s segregated status quo.
The testimonies in Mississippi Black Paper come from well-known civil rights heroes such as Fannie Lou Hamer, Aaron Henry, and Rita Schwerner, but the book also brings new voices and stories to the fore. Alongside these iconic names appear grassroots activists and everyday people who endured racial terror and harassment for challenging, sometimes in seemingly imperceptible ways, the state’s ******.
This new edition includes the original foreword by Reinhold Neibuhr and the original introduction by Mississippi journalist Hodding Carter III, as well as Jason Morgan Ward’s new introduction that places the book in its context as a vital source in the history of the civil rights movement.