Sunday, August 17, 2014

Documentary Review: Mississippi State Secrets

Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission  CBS News Production: History Channel
In the height of the Civil Rights struggle, the state of Mississippi established a commission to protect the image of the state and support the idea of segregation.  This was a secret commission, with secret records about their activities.  The Commission was established in 1956 and lasted until 1978.  Their records were not released until 1998 following a court decision.  The state had planned to maintain the closure of the records for over 50 years. 
This commission spied on American citizens, African American and White.  87,000 names of citizens were in the records.  The commission wielded unusual power.  They woulf inform your employer, and many were fired from jobs, they provided information to the Klu Klux Klan, and people would end up dead. 
Two particular cases are the three civil rights workers who were killed in Philadelphia, Mississippi.  The commission had passed the license number to the local sheriff, who happened to have ties to the Klan. 
They had also intimidated juries, as was the case with the murderer of Medgar Evers.  They were also complicit in the case of a family whose home was burned, because the father wasted to vote, and helped others register to vote.
The release of the information allowed some of those involved in racial murders and crimes to be prosecuted, as it was evident juries had been tampered with, and people were subject to retrial in a different environment.

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