The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi and the Nation

News item published on: 2014-08-28 11:16:41

The University Libraries at the University of Southern Mississippi will sponsor the first of three talks on the civil rights movement on Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 6-7 p.m. in the Cook Library Room 123. The lecture, “The Battle over School Integration in Mississippi and the Nation” by Charles C. Bolton will touch on the most obvious example of stark inequality that existed in the South’s “separate but equal” institutions, a situation that eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education.

The Brown decision inspired a decade of black protest and federal action that eventually toppled state-sponsored Jim Crow laws and ended black disfranchisement. However, the eradication of segregated schools proved to be a difficult task to accomplish, not only in Mississippi, but everywhere in America. Charles C. Bolton is Professor and Head of the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Prior to that, he was Professor and Chair of the Department of History at The University of Southern Mississippi. From 1990 to 2000, Bolton was Director of the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi. Bolton received his undergraduate degree in History from The University of Southern Mississippi in 1982 and both a MA degree in History (1986) and a PhD degree in History (1989) from Duke University. Bolton’s major publications include William F. Winter and the New Mississippi: A Biography (University Press of Mississippi, 2013); With All Deliberate Speed: Implementing Brown v. Board of Education, edited jointly with Brian J. Daugherity (University of Arkansas Press, 2008); The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870-1980 (University Press of Mississippi, 2005); The Confessions of Edward Isham: A Poor White Life of the Old South, edited jointly with Scott Culclasure (University of Georgia Press, 1998); and Poor Whites of the Antebellum South: Tenants and Laborers in Central North Carolina and Northeast Mississippi (Duke University Press, 1994).

In collaboration with the Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County, University Libraries will offer scholarly presentations and documentaries that feature riveting, never before seen footage illustrating the history of civil rights in America through September as part of the Created Equal project. Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle is an initiative of the NEH that uses the power of documentary films to encourage community discussion of America’s civil rights history. NEH has partnered with the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to develop programmatic and support materials for the recipients of the grant.

For more information about this talk or the lecture series, contact Jennifer Brannock at or 601.266.4347.