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Finding Aid for the Citizens' Council Collection (MUM00072)

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Finding Aid for the Citizens' Council Collection

Descriptive Summary

Title: Citizens' Council Collection
Dates: 1947-1979
Collector: University of Mississippi
Physical Extent: 3 boxes (2.0 linear feet)
Repository: University of Mississippi. Department of Archives and Special Collections.University, MS 38677, USA
Identification: MUM00072
Location: General Special Collections
Language of Material: English
Abstract: The collection contains materials related to the formation and activities of the White Citizens' Councils in Mississippi. This collection includes correspondence, reports,speeches, flyers, article reprints, and other materials documenting the activities of the Citizens' Council from 1954-1979.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information

The Citizens' Council Collection was created by compiling printed material from the Knox Collection (79-1) and the Race Relations Collection (76-15), both housed in the Department of Archives and Special Collections at The University of Mississippi.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Archives and Special Collections staff. Finding aid encoded by ByteManagers, 2005. Finding aid revised by Laura Helton, 2006, and Kathryn Michaelis, June 2012.


No further additions are expected to this collection.

Alternative Formats

This collection has been digitized and made available online:

Subject Terms

Race relations
White Citizens councils -- Mississippi
White supremacy movements -- United States


journals (periodicals)

Historical Note

The first Citizens' Council (also known as the White Citizens' Council) was formed in Indianola, Mississippi, following the United States Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling, which struck down segregation in public schools. White businessmen, planters, and professionals organized the group to prevent the court's ruling from taking hold in Mississippi. Thomas Pickens Brady, a circuit court judge and Citizens' Council leader, published a handbook entitled Black Monday outlining the group's goals, including the abolition of public schools, nullification of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and establishment of a separate black state. The publication of this handbook inspired many Mississippians to join the Citizens' Council movement.

Other Citizens' Council chapters were formed around the state, and within three months a statewide body, the Association of Citizens' Councils of Mississippi, began in Winona, Mississippi. By 1956, the group claimed eighty thousand members in Mississippi. It was particularly active in the Delta region and also had a powerful Jackson chapter, led by William J. Simmons. A national group, the Citizens' Council of America, was formed by 1956. Its board of advisors included Senator James O. Eastland and Representative John Bell Williams of Mississippi, Senator J. Strom Thurmond and Representative L. Mendel Rivers of South Carolina, and Georgia Governor Marvin Griffin.

The Citizens' Council received its revenue from membership dues and grants from the publicly-funded Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, an agency that promoted segregation and investigated the activities of civil rights groups. The Citizens' Council officially eschewed violence as a strategy, although many Council members privately condoned the violent tactics used by the Ku Klux Klan. Council members used their connections to influential lawmakers, editors, business people, and state officials to enact pro-segregation legislation, exert economic pressure on those who supported civil rights activities, intimidate African Americans who attempted to register to vote, and create publicity for anti-integration viewpoints. The Council published a national magazine, The Citizen, and produced a weekly telecast, "Forum," on WLBT-TV in Jackson. The Council's work has been credited with significantly reducing the number of Mississippi blacks registered to vote in the 1950s. The Council was active for more than a decade, but began to lose some of its influence by the late 1960s.

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents Citizens' Council activities from 1954 to 1979. It is housed in three boxes and organized according to format.

Box 1 contains a variety of printed material produced by or relating to the Citizens' Council, including correspondence, reports, speeches, flyers, press releases, newsletters, advertisements, pamphlets, broadsides, article reprints, and ephemera. It includes a copy of Thomas J. Brady's 1954 pamphlet, "A Review of Black Monday," which is credited with inspiring the formation of the Citizens' Council.

Boxes 2 and 3 contain oversize article reprints and loose issues of publications, including The Citizen, Dixie-American, Citizens' Council, The Community Citizen, Augusta Courier, Citizens' Informer, and a Citizens' Council section of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

User Information

Preferred Citation

Citizens' Council Collection, Archives and Special Collections, J.D. Williams Library, The University of Mississippi

Access Restrictions

The Citizens' Council Collection is open for research.

Copyright Restrictions

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

Related Material

Resources at the University of Mississippi

This collection has been digitized and made available online:

More materials related to race relations and integration can be found in the Civil Rights and Race Relations Subject Guide.


This collection is arranged by format.

Container List

Annual Reports
2nd Annual Report, August 1956
4th Annual Report, July 1958
Scope: 2 copies
b1.f2 Citizens' Council Resolution, 16 May 1957
b1.f3 News flash re: Emmett Till, Sr., circa 1957
b1.f4 Text of NAACP telegram regarding civil rights activity in Mississippi, 1961
b1.f5 Letter, W. J. Simmons to Mrs. Clifton H. Morgan, 17 February 1964
b1.f6 "Civil Rights and the Negro Revolution," a lecture presented by William J. Simmons at the University of Hawaii, 1964
b1.f7 Flyer for Citizens' Council program, Jackson, 1965
b1.f8 Jackson Citizens' Council Political Forum press release, 15 May 1967
b1.f9 The Council Newsletter, February 1971-June 1971
b1.f10 List of recommended speakers, undated
b1.f11 Book advertisement: States' Rights vs. the Supreme Court, undated
b1.f12 Questionnaire for political candidates, undated
Thomas Brady, "Segregation and the South," 1957
Scope: 2 copies
Thomas Brady, "A Review of Black Monday," 1954
b1.f14 Ross Barnett: Strength Through Unity, 1960
b1.f15 Crime: Don't Let it Happen to You, undated
b1.f16 Dr. D. M. Nelson: Conflicting Views on Segregation, 1954
What Every White Parent Should Know, 1956
Essay Contest for MS High School Students, 1959-1960
Scope: 3 copies
Essay Contest for MS High School Students, 1961-1962
Scope: 3 copies
How to Keep Schools Open, undated
Scope: 2 copies
The Educational Fund of the Citizens' Council, undated
Scope: 3 copies
Propaganda in Our Schools, circa 1956
Congressional Committee Report on What Happened When Schools Were Integrated in Washington, D. C., circa 1957
Scope: 2 copies
The Public Schools of Mississippi, 1957
Scope: 2 copies
b1.f18 The Citizens' Council, undated
James F. Byrnes: The Supreme Court Must Be Curbed, 1956
Scope: 2 copies
James O. Eastland: We've Reached the Era of Judicial Tyranny, 1955
Joseph P. Kamp: Trickery, Treachery, Tyranny and Treason in Washington, 1957
I Am the Bill of Rights, undated
Scope: 3 copies
John Bell Williams: Interposition, the Barrier Against Tyranny, 1956
Judge M. M. McGowan: Interposition or Nullification, undated
b1.f21 Carleton Putnam: Second Putnam Letter Cuts Roots of Integration Fallacy, 1959
S. E. Rogers: Christian Love and Segregation, undated
Stuart O. Landry: Rebuilding the Tower of Babel, 1957
Rev. G. T. Gillespie: A Christian View on Segregation, 1954
Scope: 4 copies
A Jewish View on Segregation, undated
Scope: 2 copies
The Story of the NAACP, 1947
Scope: 2 copies
The NAACP Legislative Scoreboard, undated
Scope: 2 copies
The Ugly Truth About the NAACP, undated
Scope: 2 copies
Carleton Putnam: High Court's 'Arrogance' is Viewed by Northerner, 1958
Eugene Cook: The Ugly Truth About the NAACP, undated
Congressional Committee Report on What Happened When Schools Were Integrated in Washington, D. C., 1956
James O. Eastland: We've Reached the Era of Judicial Tyranny, 1955
What is the Citizens' Council Doing?, undated
Essay Contest for Mississippi High School Students, 1961-1962
Land of One Race, undated
Louis W. Hollis: Integrity, 1965
John Bell Williams: Where is the Reign of Terror?, 1956
Famous Quotations: Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Henry W. Grady, James F. Byrnes, Theodore Bilbo
Robert B. Patterson: The Truth Cries Out, 1966
Statement by George Wallace, undated
What is the Citizens' Council Doing informative leaflet, June 1972-February 1978
Two small pamphlets: What is the Citizens' Council Doing?, undated
Famous Quotations Cards
George Washington
Scope: 3 copies
Thomas Jefferson
Theodore G. Bilbo
Scope: 5 copies
Henry W. Grady
Scope: 3 copies
James F. Byrnes
Scope: 3 copies
Abraham Lincoln
Robert Patterson, Winona, to "The Library" with carbon copy of Bibliography on Race Problem, 9 December 1954
Ellett Lawrence, Winona, to All District and County Chairmen, and the Executive Comittee, 8 November 1955
Carbon copy, W. J. Simmons, Jackson, 22 November 1955
Ellis W. Wright, Jackson, to Members of the 1956-1960 Legislature State of Mississippi, 23 November 1955
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to "Those Interested in Helping," 26 November 1956
Scope: 3 copies. On back: C. E. Powell, Greenwood, to Ellett Lawrence, 14 December 1956
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to Citizens' Council Members and Friends, 11 January 1957
Scope: 2 copies
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to Mr. Paul R. Davis, 29 January 1957
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to All Council Members and Officers, 15 June 1957
Scope: 2 copies
Robert Patterson, Greenwood, to All Officers and Members, 30 December 1957
Scope: 2 copies
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to All Council Officers and Members, 24 February 1958
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to Officers and Members, 24 September 1958
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," 27 November 1958
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," 12 March 1959
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to All Citizens' Council Officers, 22 May 1959
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," 20 August 1959
W. J. Simmons, Jackson, to "Dear Members," 31 August 1959
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," 10 November 1959
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to "Any and All Good, but slumbering, Citizens, Everywhere," 25 May 1961
H. C. Lewis, Deerfield, IL, to Association of Citizens' Councils, 16 December 1959
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," 25 July 1961
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "To Whom it May Concern," 17 November 1961
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," 21 June 1962
Robert B. Patteson, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," 24 October 1962
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to Citizens' Council Officers, Members and Friends, June 1965
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," February 1967
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "All Citizens' Council Members," May 1967
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," undated
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to "Fellow Mississippians," undated
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," undated
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood, to "Dear Friend," undated
Scope: Includes contribution form
Ellett Lawrence, Greenwood to "Dear Friend," undated
Robert Patterson, Greenwood, to "All Citizens' Council Officers, Members and Friends," undated
Robert B. Patterson, Greenwood, to "To Whom it May Concern," undated
Notice of Meeting, 19 February [?]
Broadsides and Broadsheets
W. J. Simmons, "Organization: The Key to Victory," 1962
Dollars Make Sense, undated
It's Your Fight, Too, undated
Special Bulletin, undated
Migration, the Only Reasonable Answer, undated
Meeting, 28 May 1956
Community Plan to Counteract Negro or White Agitators, undated
Scope: 2 copies
Resolution Adopted by Citizens' Council of Greenwood, Mississippi, February 1965
Scope: 2 copies
Support Your Citizens' Council, undated
Scope: 2 copies
To the States, undated
Mississippi Population, 1960
Scope: 2 copies
Aaron Henry of Clarksdale, 1964
An Ordinance, undated
Notice! Stop Help Save the Youth of America, undated
Scope: 9 copies
Is Segregation Unchristian?, undated
Scope: 3 copies
Keep the Dark Tide Moving North, circa 1960
Negro Senators from Mississippi, undated
Crime Report Reveals Menace of Integration, undated
Scope: 2 copies
Historical Novelist Tells of Events that Almost Surpass Human Belief, undated
Prominent Kingstree Negro Makes Frank Statement, 1955
Jackson V. A. Hospital Integration, 1956
Vote for the Amendments, 1960
Population of the United States Based on 1950 Census
Scope: 2 copies
The Colossal Fraud on the American People, undated
Integrated Schools Hurting Both White, Colored Pupils, circa 1955
Cartoon by "White," undated
Little Brother's New Social Club, undated
Martin Luther King at Communist Training School, undated
Throwing Children to Wolves, undated
To Those Who Stand Against Race Mixing, undated
Land of One Race, undated
Scope: 2 copies
b1.f31 Brotherhood by Bayonet bumper sticker, circa 1962
Reprints of Articles
"Change of Mind," from Sea Coast Echo, 28 July 1960
"Going to [sic] Far," from The Meridian Star, 10 September 1961
Hodding Carter, "Citadel of the Citizens' Council," from New York Times Magazine, 12 November 1961
"Being Married to a Negro Is ...," 18 March 1962
"Address by William L. Dickinson," Congressional Record, 30 March 1965
"Prominent Negro Warns of Demonstration Cost," Greenwood Commonwealth, 28 February 1964
Edward F. Cummerford, "Civil Rights and Civil Wrongs," American Bar Association Journal, February 1964
"Mississippi Purge of Moderates," New York Times, 3 November 1963
"Rape Victim's Child Can't Erase Night of Horror," Jackson Daily News, 13 May 1959
"Montgomery and the World," Wall Street Journal, and "Rebellion Terror Felt by South Angola Whites," Memphis Press Scimitar, 24 May 1961
Hodding Carter, "Citadel of the Citizens' Council," New York Times Magazine, 12 November 1961
Scope: Oversized item
"Pow-Wow on 40th Street," and "Integration Leaders Work Busily to Influence Public Opinion," Richmond News Leader, 27 February 1959
Box 2 The Citizen
Scope: The Citizen was the "official journal of the Citizens' Councils of America."
October 1961
May 1973
November 1961
Scope: 2 copies
September 1962
Scope: 2 copies
September 1964
Scope: 2 copies
July-August 1965
November 1965
January 1966
February 1966
March 1966
April 1966
May 1966
Scope: 2 copies
June 1966
April 1967
Scope: 2 copies
May 1967
October 1967
July-August 1968
January 1969
February 1969
June 1969
February 1970
March 1970
Scope: 3 copies
May 1970
May 1971
January 1972
February 1972
November 1972
February 1973
September 1973
June 1974
Scope: 2 copies
July-August 1974
September 1974
November 1974
December 1974
April 1975
July-August 1975
June 1976
July-August 1976
September 1976
January 1977
March 1977
June 1977
July-August 1977
March 1978
April 1978
May 1978
August 1978
September 1978
November 1978
December 1978
January 1979
b3.f1 Dixie-American (Birmingham), 1 March 1956
b3.f2 The Citizens' Council (Newspaper)
July 1957
October 1957
April 1958
Scope: 2 copies
May 1958
Scope: 2 copies
July 1958
September 1958
October 1958
December 1958
January 1959
February 1959
May 1959
July 1959
August 1959
October 1959
b3.f3 The Community Citizen (New Albany, Miss.), 23 June 1955
b3.f4 Augusta Courier (Augusta, Ga.)
18 March 1957
1 April 1957
23 June 1958
17 November 1958
19 October 1959
b3.f6 The Citizens' Informer (Jackson, Miss.), July 1975
b3.f7 Jackson, Miss. Clarion Ledger, "Citizens' Council Section," 11 August 1968.