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Paths Out of DixieThe Democratization of Authoritarian Enclaves in America's Deep South, 1944-1972$
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Robert Mickey

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691133386

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691133386.001.0001

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“No Task for the Amateur or Hothead”

“No Task for the Amateur or Hothead”

Mississippi and the Battle of Oxford

(p.190) Chapter Six “No Task for the Amateur or Hothead”
Paths Out of Dixie

Robert Mickey

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, which struck down state-mandated segregation in public education, and its implications for southern authoritarian enclaves. With the Brown shock, Mississippi's rulers faced their first major black insurgency in decades. A standoff between the state's governors and the White Citizens' Council (WCC) forces led to a stalemate over the development of an effective coercive apparatus, with negative consequences for managing the desegregation crisis at the University of Mississippi. The chapter first considers the state of black education prior to Brown before discussing the crisis, triggered by the university's refusal to admit James Meredith—who was black— and Mississippi's resistance to the decision. It shows how a combination of intraelite dissensus and weak party–state capacities help explain the enclave's navigation of the desegregation crisis at the University of Mississippi.

Keywords:   desegregation, U.S. Supreme Court, Brown v. Board of Education, authoritarian enclaves, Mississippi, black insurgency, White Citizens' Council, University of Mississippi, black education, James Meredith

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