Sovereignty commission online
Photographs and files of the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, the state's official counter civil rights agency from 1956 to 1973.
More About This Collection
Series 2515 : Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records Online, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Miss.
Date of Original
Civil rights movements--Mississippi
African Americans--Civil rights--Mississippi
Civil rights demonstrations--Mississippi
Civil rights workers--Mississippi
African American civil rights workers--Mississippi
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements
Council of Federated Organizations (U.S.)
Walk Against Fear, Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi, 1966
Nation of Islam (Chicago, Ill.)
African American political activists--Mississippi
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
African American business enterprises--Mississippi
African American social reformers--Mississippi
Freedom Rides, 1961
Segregation in transportation--Mississippi
Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
Mississippi Freedom Project
Series 2515: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records, 1994-2006 comprises the digitized records of the defunct Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, which functioned as the state's official counter civil rights agency from 1956-1973. The collection consists of approximately 133,000 pages of material, which were processed and scanned by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) in accordance with American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp. 403 (S.D.Miss.1994) and the 913 photographs interspersed in the files were generated and received by the Commission as part of its investigative and public relations functions.
The original records were filed according to a thirteen (13) category classification system devised by Commission investigators. When the records were digitized by MDAH to meet the court's specifications, each item was assigned a unique number that was derived from the original filing system. However, due to the existence of some unclassified originals and rebuttal accretions, the archivists added additional classification numbers. The digitized collection comprises the scanned originals with court-approved redactions requested by individuals named in the records along with additional information submitted by individuals named in the records who chose to file a rebuttal. The digital collection also includes the court-specified personal name index and links between rebuttal records and Commission records in which rebuttal submitters are mentioned.
The bulk of the originals were paper, including investigative reports, correspondence, speeches and a large amount of published material. Investigative reports concerned requested inquiries into specific incidents, individuals or organizations or consist of an overview of several communities or counties visited by Commission investigators. Copies of whole reports or individual pages would often be filed in different folders and classifications. As a result there is considerable duplication of material in the files. Incoming and outgoing correspondence was associated with all the myriad functions of the Commission, including investigations, public relations, dissemination of pro-segregation and states' rights propaganda, requests from communities on how to handle various situations as well as the routine administration of the agency. The Commission acted as a clearinghouse for information about segregation and civil rights activities and legislation from around the nation. In doing so they collected published material such as newspapers, magazine and journal articles, pamphlets and numerous issues of the Congressional Record. For each Mississippi county they also compiled a publicity file primarily of newspaper clippings, which focused on race related topics. The records also include many drafts and final copies of articles funneled to local newspapers and speeches prepared for government officials or for delivery by Commission staff or its Speakers Bureau. The Commission's administrative files include minutes, personnel records, interoffice/agency memoranda and correspondence. Also included are financial records, which not only document mundane agency expenses but can be used to track investigative activities and payments of non-Commission investigators and informants.
The actual photographer is often not indicated on the either the photograph itself or in associated documents. While investigative reports sometimes mention that attached photographs were taken by the investigator, it is clear that the Commission did not take the majority of the photographs in the collection. The bulk of the photographs are 1961 freedom rider police mug shots supplied by the Jackson Police Department. JPD also provided the Commission with mug shots of arrested sit-in participants as well as photographs of Jackson marches and demonstrations. Police departments in other Mississippi communities and states also sent the Commission arrest photographs/mug shots and demonstration photographs. Associated documentation suggests that the Berkeley California Free Speech and Jo Freeman photographs were provided by paid informant Edgar Downing. However, it is not clear whether Downing took all the photographs in the envelope of pictures attributed to him. Associated documentation also suggests that Informant "X" took the photographs of volunteers at what appears to be the Oxford, Ohio Council of Federated Organizations orientation of 1964. Some of the publicity photographs are stamped with the name of a photographer or studio but mostly the origin is not indicated. The collection also includes a small number of photographs of original documents. These are varied and include items such as: checks, memos, correspondence and minutes from the Southern Christian Education Fund and activists Carl and Anne Braden; Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and Congress of Racial Equality correspondence; checks from the Southern Christian Leadership Council bearing the endorsement of Martin Luther King Jr.; and a letter from J.B. Stoner, Atlanta Georgia Grand Wizard KKK to Elijah Muhammad.
In 2006 a new photograph search option was added to the existing online collection. This new function utilized re-scans of the un-redacted original photographs, which were individually described and linked back to their initial scan and salient documentation. To differentiate these new scans from the original images the code "ph" was appended to the Sovereignty Commission identification number.
The Civil Rights Digital Library received support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the aggregation and enhancement of partner metadata.
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records are state government records made available to the public pursuant to American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp. 403 (S.D.Miss.1994). The web-enabled version of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records is intended for public use in research, teaching, and private study in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Use clause of the United States Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). MDAH makes no warranty or assurances that materials contained in this collection are free from U.S. copyright claims or other restrictions on free use and display. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or distributing materials found in this collection. MDAH requests that prior to publication of Sov. Com. images the user submit an MDAH Broadcast/Publication Permission form for approval by the Department. This form must be accompanied by documentation which proves that copyright requirements have been satisfied. Contact MDAH Reference Staff for details on how to obtain and complete the B/PP form: (601) 576 6876 or email@example.com. There are no MDAH Use Fees associated with use of Sov. Com. images. MDAH asks that each image used in a presentation, display, or publication be accompanied by a credit line, which at a minimum includes the name of this collection, the unique resource identifier for each image, the name of this institution, and URL. ; Cite images according to the following structure: Original Creator, "Title", Original creation date (if known), Unique Resource Identifier, Series Number and Title, Archival Repository, date of last web page revision, image location/URL, (image viewed on date).
Mississippi. Department of Archives and History