History Showing the Living Conditions Term Paper

Pages: 6 (2380 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Drama - World

Their talk frightened her, then made her incredibly angry.

I was fifteen years old when I began to hate people. I hated the white men who murdered Emmett Till and I hated all the other whites who were responsible for the countless murders Mrs. Rice (my teacher) had told me about and those I vaguely remembered from childhood. But I also hated Negroes. I hated them for not standing up and doing something about the murders. In fact, I think I had a stronger resentment toward Negroes for letting the whites kill them than toward the whites. (Moody 110).

Moody's experience is just one of many that caused the blacks in Mississippi and all over the south to finally revolt. They were free, but it is clear they were still oppressed, and their living conditions had barely changed since the Civil War. The Civil Rights movement that began in the 1950s and culminated in the 1960s was perhaps one of the largest organized revolutions in modern America. Led by men like Martin Luther King, Jr., blacks finally stood up for their rights, and the right to be treated equally, like any other man or woman living in America. Moody took part in a sit-in at a Woolworth's lunch counter during her college years, and writes about the experience in her book:

The white students, (in the store), started chanting all kinds of anti-Negro slogans... The rest of the seats except the three we were occupying had been roped off to prevent others from sitting down. A couple of the boys took one end of the rope and made it into a hangman's noose. Several attempts were made to put it around our necks (Moody 237).Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on History Showing the Living Conditions, Assignment

Moody was right to be afraid, and she was lucky the Woolworth sit-in was not any worse than it was. In September 1962, things turned ugly in Oxford Mississippi when James Meridith, a black student, tried to enroll in the University of Mississippi. When he tried to enter the campus, an angry white mob met him, armed with guns and bricks. Eventually, President John. F. Kennedy had to call in National Guard troops to restore order, and they fought mobs all over the city for two days, resulting in "375 casualties, more than 300 arrests, and on October 1st, the admission of James Meredith into the University of Mississippi" (Farell). Clearly, race issues were dominant in Mississippi, which still upheld "Jim Crow" laws against blacks as late as the 1960s. These laws were created in the 1880s, and among other things, they mandated separate schools and hospital facilities for whites and blacks, no intermarriage between the races, and no discussion or circulation of materials on the equality of the races (Staff).

Then in 1964, Mississippi made history throughout the rest of the nation with the Mississippi Freedom Summer. As a result of the poor voting practices toward blacks in the state, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had been conducting voter registrations in the state since the 1950s. In the summer of 1964, a concerted effort was made to send people to Mississippi in order to register more voters and work for general equality. A group of liberal Democrats, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), was formed to attempt to move political power from the all-white Democratic Party in the state, to a more balanced representation of the people. In June, three young college students and civil rights workers disappeared just after they had come to the state to begin work. They were later found murdered, they "had all been shot and the one black, James Chaney, had been brutally beaten" (Cozzens). No one was ever convicted of their murder.

In conclusion, the state of Mississippi underwent massive and unrelenting change during the period of 1944 through 1964, and yet, in many respects Mississippi is still caught in a snapshot of time, unable to shake off her racist roots and move into the 21st century. While the economy of the state is no longer dependent on agriculture, and the living conditions of many of the people improved with an improved economy, the state was still the poorest in the nation after the Second World War. Massive changes took place in Mississippi, but even more changes need to take place before Mississippi can seriously be considered a non-racist and economically viable player in the new millennium.

Works Cited

Cobb, James C. The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity. 1st ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Cozzens, Lisa. "Mississippi & Freedom Summer." Personal Home Page. 29 June 1998. 28 Feb. 2003. http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/civilrights-55-65/missippi.html

Farell, Sean. "The Effects of World War II on Mississippi's Economy." Mississippi Historical Society. 2003. 28 Feb. 2003. http://mshistory.k12.ms.us/features/feature19/wwii_ms.html

Hansen, Liane. "Interview: William Doyle Discusses the 1962 Battle of Oxford, Mississippi, When U.S. Troops went up Against White Civilians Upset over Integration of the University of Mississippi." Weekend Edition - Sunday (NPR), 29 Sept. 2002.

Krane, Dale, and Stephen D. Shaffer. Mississippi Government & Politics: Modernizers vs. Traditionalists. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1992.

Seavoy, Ronald E. The American Peasantry: Southern Agricultural Labor and Its Legacy, 1850-1995: A Study in… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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