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“Hell Fired Out of Him”

“Hell Fired Out of Him”

The Muting of James Silver in Mississippi

(p.123) “Hell Fired Out of Him”
The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi
Robert Luckett
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter focuses on the pressures faced by University of Mississippi historian James Silver after he published the book Mississippi: The Closed Society in 1966. Silver, president of the Southern Historical Association (SHA) in 1963, found himself ostracized by whites from Jim Crow South that year after he called white Mississippi a “Closed Society” intolerant of new thinking on issues of race. As a staunch defender of James Meredith’s right to an education at Ole Miss, he did something that was a definite taboo in white southern society: he provided written testimony to the U.S. Justice Department about the riots on campus the night Meredith enrolled. Nevertheless, state education leaders found a way to encourage and allow him to leave Mississippi without sparking national condemnation.

Keywords:   race, University of Mississippi, James Silver, Southern Historical Association, Mississippi, James Meredith, whites, Justice Department, riots

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