“Student Activism and Civil Rights in Mississippi” Now Available from LSU Press
BATON ROUGE – Former civil rights activist James P. Marshall’s “Student Activism and Civil Rights in Mississippi,” now available from LSU Press, tells the complete story of the quest for civil rights in Mississippi. In 1960, students supporting civil rights moved into Mississippi and challenged the state’s repressive racial order by encouraging African Americans to reassert the rights guaranteed under the 14th and 15th Amendments to the United States Constitution. The ensuing social upheaval changed the state forever.
Using a voluminous array of sources as well as his own memories, Marshall weaves together an astonishing account of student protestors and local activists who risked their lives for equality, standing between southern resistance and federal inaction. Their efforts, and the horrific violence inflicted on them, helped push many non-southerners and the federal government into action, culminating in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act – measures that destroyed legalized segregation and disfranchisement.
Ultimately, Marshall contends, student activism in Mississippi helped forge a consensus by reminding the American public of its forgotten promises and by educating the nation to the fact that African Americans in the South deserved to live as free and equal citizens.
Marshall is an independent scholar and former non-resident fellow at the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.