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Joe T. Patterson and the White South's DilemmaEvolving Resistance to Black Advancement$
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Robert E., Jr. Luckett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802699

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2017

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802699.001.0001

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Would-Be Ruthless Dictators

Would-Be Ruthless Dictators

(p.130) Chapter 7 Would-Be Ruthless Dictators
Joe T. Patterson and the White South's Dilemma

Robert E. Luckett

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines how Joe T. Patterson handled the ruling in the James Meredith case as Mississippi attorney general. Patterson claimed that he had defied “a little band of would-be ruthless dictators” in defending his role in the integration of the University of Mississippi. He tried to balance his duties as attorney general and subsequent commitment to both state and federal law with his allegiance to Jim Crow and the flood of criticism over his role in the downfall of a segregated Ole Miss. He criticized the judicial and executive branches of the federal government, particularly their alleged use of the same tactics “again and again” to shift the issue of desegregation of higher education to the South. This chapter considers Patterson's attempt to clear his name as he prepared to campaign for a third term as state attorney general in the 1963 election against Senator Anselm McLaurin. It also discusses the gubernatorial race pitting James P. Coleman against Paul Johnson.

Keywords:   election, Joe T. Patterson, James Meredith, Mississippi, Jim Crow, University of Mississippi, desegregation, Anselm McLaurin, James P. Coleman, Paul Johnson

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