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A Legal History of MississippiRace, Class, and the Struggle for Opportunity$
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Joseph A. Ranney

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781496822574

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2020

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496822574.001.0001

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Thresholds of Change: Mississippi Law in the Progressive and New Deal Eras

Thresholds of Change: Mississippi Law in the Progressive and New Deal Eras

(p.103) Chapter Five Thresholds of Change: Mississippi Law in the Progressive and New Deal Eras
A Legal History of Mississippi

Joseph A. Ranney

University Press of Mississippi

During the Progressive (1890-1915) and New Deal eras (1929-41), Mississippi’s economic liberalism stood in sharp contrast to its reactionary racial policies. The state was an early supporter of Progressive measures such as open primaries, lawmaking by initiative and referendum and child labor laws. During the Depression, Mississippi created the Balance Agriculture with Industry (BAWI) program of municipal subsidies to business. BAWI was upheld by Mississippi’s supreme court against constitutional challenge and became a national model. But the early twentieth century also marked the height of Mississippi’s Jim Crow era. Judges such as William Anderson and Virgil Griffith and black lawyers such as Sidney Redmond tried to preserve a measure of due process for black criminal defendants but too often, whites viewed those efforts as a threat to the racial order and responded with lynchings. After 1930, an aroused U.S. Supreme Court forced a stricter observance of due process in Mississippi.

Keywords:   Mississippi, Progressive, Depression, New Deal, Lynching

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