This chapter examines Joe T. Patterson's practical racism as a means to undermine the civil rights movement. It first considers the response of white southern leaders to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, with particular emphasis on Paul Johnson's call for a special legislative session to enact constitutional amendments to change Mississippi's voting laws. It then discusses Patterson's stand on the proposed constitutional amendments, as well as his lobbying against the Voting Rights Act and his use of the Sovereignty Commission to continue his fight against the Citizens' Council. It also explores Erle Johnston's version of practical segregation; Patterson's feud with Hazel Brannon Smith, editor of the Lexington Advertiser; James Meredith's March Against Fear in Mississippi in 1966; and Aubrey Norvell's attempted assassination of Meredith. The chapter concludes by focusing on how the March Against Fear became the launching pad of the civil rights slogan “Black Power.”
Keywords: civil rights movement, Joe T. Patterson, practical racism, Voting Rights Act 1965, Paul Johnson, constitutional amendments, practical segregation, James Meredith, March Against Fear, Black Power
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