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Encyclopedia > White Citizens' Council

The White Citizens' Council with about 15,000 members, "mostly in the South, is essentially a descendant of the white Citizens' Councils that formerly opposed integration in the South. Headed by Gordon Lee Baum, a St. Louis lawyer, its issues involve the protection of "European-American" heritage against the hordes of minorities."[1] Image File history File links Please see the file description page for further information. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into White Citizens Council. ...

The successor organization to the White Citizens' Council is the "Council of Conservative Citizens".[1] This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


Formation and early years of the movement

Fourteen whites in the Delta town of Indianola, Mississippi founded the first known chapter of the WCC on July 11, 1954. The prime instigator was Robert 'Tut' Patterson, a plantation manager and the former captain of the Mississippi State University football team. Additional chapters soon appeared in other communities. The formation of the WCC was partly a response to the assertive activities of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), a grass roots civil organization organized by Dr. T.R.M. Howard of the all-black town Mound Bayou, Mississippi in 1951. Mound Bayou was only forty miles from Indianola. Ironically, Patterson was a boyhood friend in Clarksdale, Mississippi of Aaron Henry, an official in the RCNL and the future head of the Mississippi National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The shared flood plain of the Yazoo and Mississippi Rivers The Mississippi Delta is the distinct northwest section of the state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. ... The city of Indianola,MS Indianola is a city in Sunflower County, Mississippi, United States. ... July 11 is the 192nd day (193rd in leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar, with 173 days remaining. ... Mississippi State University is a land-grant university located in north east-central Mississippi, United States, in the town of Starkville and is situated 125 miles northeast of Jackson and 23 miles west of Columbus. ... The Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL) was probably the leading civil rights organization in Mississippi during the early 1950s. ... Grassroots democracy is the political processes which are driven by groups of ordinary citizens, as opposed to larger organisations or wealthy individuals with concentrated vested interests in particular policies. ... Theodore Roosevelt Mason Howard (T.R.M. Howard) (March 4, 1908 —- May 1, 1976) was an African American civil rights leader, fraternal organization leader, surgeon, and entrepreneur. ... Mound Bayou is a city in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... Clarksdale is a city in Coahoma County, Mississippi, United States. ... Aaron Henry (1922-1997) was a civil rights leader, politician, and head of the NAACP. He was born in Dublin, Mississippi to Ed and Mattie Henry who were sharecroppers. ... The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP, generally pronounced as EN Double AY SEE PEE) is one of the oldest and most influential civil rights organizations in the United States. ...

Within a few months, the WCC had spread beyond Mississippi into the rest of the Deep South. It often had the support of the leading citizens of many communities, including business, civic and sometimes religious leaders. Unlike the Ku Klux Klan, the WCC met openly and was seen by many as being "reputable"; in most communities there was little or no stigma associated with being a member of the WCC. Also unlike the Klan, its tactics did not often involve direct confrontation with violence, or terrorism, but rather economic ones. Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... Wall Street, Manhattan is the location of the New York Stock Exchange and is often used as a symbol for the world of business. ... Various Religious symbols, including (first row) Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Bahai, (second row) Islamic, tribal, Taoist, Shinto (third row) Buddhist, Sikh, Hindu, Jain, (fourth row) Ayyavazhi, Triple Goddess, Maltese cross, pre-Christian Slavonic Religion is the adherence to codified beliefs and rituals that generally involve a faith in a spiritual... Members of the second Ku Klux Klan at a rally during the 1920s. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Terrorist redirects here. ... Face-to-face trading interactions on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor. ...

Influences of the councils

Blacks who were seen as being too supportive of desegregation, voting rights, or other perceived threats to white supremacy found themselves and their family members unemployed in many instances; whites who supported civil rights for blacks were not immune from finding this happening to them as well. Members of the Citizens' Council were sometimes Klansmen, and the more influential the Citizens' Council member, the more influence he had with the Klan. In fact, the WCC was even referred to during the civil rights era as "an uptown Klan," "a white collar Klan," "a button-down Klan," and "a country club Klan." The rationale for these nicknames was that it appeared that sheets and hoods had been discarded and replaced by suits and ties. Much like the Klan, WCC members held documented white supremacist views and involved themselves in racist activities, however, they also occupied political positions, which enabled them to legally legitimize discriminatory practices aimed at non-whites. An African American (also Afro-American, Black American, or simply black) is a member of an ethnic group in the United States whose ancestors, usually in predominant part, were indigenous to Africa. ... In United States History, there have been three similar, but somewhat separate, movements for voting rights. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... An 1837 political cartoon about unemployment in the United States. ...

Resistance to desegregation

The movement grew as enforcement of racial desegregation became more intense, probably peaking in the early 1960s. By this time there was a sign at the city limits of many small Southern towns proclaiming "The White Citizens' Council of ______ Welcomes You". The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... Historic Southern United States. ...

As school desegregation increased, in some communities "council schools," sponsored by the WCC, were set up for white children. Derisively referred to by some as "segregation academies," some exist even today, although they have generally assumed other sponsorship and most have been forced to integrate, at least in theory, in order to maintain the tax-exempt status afforded to non-profit private schools, which is granted only to those which maintain a policy of racial and ethnic nondiscrimination. The Rex Theatre for Colored People Racial segregation is characterized by separation of different races in daily life when both are doing equal tasks, such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a rest room, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or... Children at a parade in North College Hill, Ohio Racial integration, or simply integration includes desegregation (the process of ending systematic racial segregation). ... A tax exemption is an exemption to the tax law of a state or nation in which part of the taxes that would normally be collected from an individual or an organization are instead foregone. ... A non-profit organization (abbreviated NPO, or non-profit or not-for-profit) is an organization whose primary objective is to support an issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes, without concern for monetary profit. ... Private schools, in the United States, Australia, Scotland, and other English-speaking countries, are schools not administered by local or national government, which retain the right to select their student body and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition rather than with public funds. ...

Decline of the movement

As white Southerners began to accept desegregation as a permanent aspect of life, the influence of the WCCs began to wane. The attitude of most white Southerners changed as well. Also, the growing economic power of blacks left few white businessowners willing to be openly associated with a racist organization. A few such groups still exist, their names changed to something similar to Conservative Citizens' Council, or member chapters of a kind of successor organization, the Council of Conservative Citizens. U.S. Senator Trent Lott, and Mississippi governor Haley Barbour among other mainstream conservative leaders, received some negative publicity in recent years for addressing one such group. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Seal of the U.S. Senate Federal courts Supreme Court Chief Justice Associate Justices Elections Presidential elections Midterm elections Political Parties Democratic Republican Third parties State & Local government Governors Legislatures State Courts Counties, Cities, and Towns Other countries Politics Portal      Senate composition following 2006 elections The United States Senate is... Chester Trent Lott, Sr. ... For other uses, see Governor (disambiguation). ... Haley Reeves Barbour (born October 22, 1947) is the current governor of Mississippi, and a Republican. ... This article deals with conservatism as a political philosophy. ...

Lott has addressed the Conservative Citizens Council, at least five times. [2] According to his uncle, former state Senator Arnie Watson, "Trent is an honorary member" of what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls "the incarnation of the infamous white Citizens Councils," the white supremacist groups that attempted to resist desegragation during the 1950s and '60s.[3] The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is an American non-profit legal organization, whose stated purpose is to combat racism and promote civil rights through research, education, and litigation. ...


  • David T. Beito and Linda Royster Beito, T.R.M. Howard: Pragmatism over Strict Integrationist Ideology in the Mississippi Delta, 1942-1954 in Glenn Feldman, ed., Before Brown: Civil Rights and White Backlash in the Modern South (2004 book), 68-95.
  • John Dittmer, Local People: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (1994 book).
  • Neil McMillan, The Citizens' Council: Organized Resistance to the Second Reconstruction 1954-1964 (1971).
  • Charles M. Payne, I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle (1995).
  • Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman: The Struggle for Justice


See also: American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968) The civil rights movement in the United States has been a long, primarily nonviolent struggle to bring full civil rights and equality under the law to all Americans. ... Martin Luther King is perhaps most famous for his I Have a Dream speech, given in front of the Lincoln Memorial during the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom This article is about the civil rights movement following the Brown v. ... This is a timeline of the American Civil Rights Movement. ...

External links

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