Southern History and Civil Rights in the News 18 April 2021

Scout Johnson's picture

As reported in the Clarion Ledger (Jackson, MS) for this year’s Pickering Honors Institute panel James Meredith, the civil rights pioneer who integrated the University of Mississippi in 1962, sat down for a conversation with retired federal judge Charles Pickering about the civil rights struggle of the 1960s and how Mississippi could take the lead for civil rights going forward. One of the men that accompanied Meredith as he broke through at Ole Miss was Assistant Attorney General Ramsey Clark. Clark passed away this past week and left behind a complicated legacy. While he wrote large portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (aka the Fair Housing Act) after his promotion to attorney general, he also took as clients some of the most reviled men of the twentieth century in his private practice after his government service ended. You can read more about his civil rights work from the Tampa Bay Times  here, and from The Nation here and here, and The New York Times here.


For many African Americans growing up in the pre-Brown South Rosenwald schools were their only avenue to public education. The result of a collaboration between philanthropist Julius Rosenwald and Booker T Washington, some 5,000 of these schools educated one-third of Black children across fifteen southern states during the first half of the twentieth century. Dave Schechter of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wrote this week of one photographer’s attempt to document those that are still standing.


Will Stancil has a piece in this week’s issue of The Atlantic  that explains why many of the most recent, and perhaps future, flashpoints of contemporary civil rights struggles are occurring in suburbs, particularly those that have concluded the cycle that started with white flight into a segregated enclave and concluded white flight out of what became a multicultural community over several decades.


Until next week, stay well,


Michele “Scout” Johnson

Editor, H-South


This series of weekly posts to H-South, “Southern History and Civil Rights in the News,” aims to track informed public discussions of southern history and civil rights. To recommend a reading, please email Dr. Michele Johnson at