In the early twentieth century, Black people in Mississippi who aimed to exercise their rights as citizens of the United States had few allies. State and local government officials, acting under the authority of the 1890 state constitution, blocked efforts by black citizens to vote and operated separate schools for White and Black children. In other states, by the 1930s, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) had developed a strategy to gain full citizenship rights: use the courts.
Every ten years, the population of the United States is counted by the U.S. Census Bureau, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The census count is relied upon for distributing federal funding for the following decade, but it is also used to equalize voting strength among the population.
Basic thoughts about the Census:
Grades 7 through 12
MS.8.3 - Evaluate the lasting impact of the Civil Rights Movement on Mississippi.
US History: 1877 to Present
US.3.2 - Trace the development of political, social, and cultural movements and subsequent reforms, including: Jim Crow laws, Plessy vs. Ferguson, women’s suffrage, temperance movement, Niagara movement, public education, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and Marcus Garvey.
In May 1954, the United States Supreme Court announced in a unanimous decision that segregation—the practice of separating Black and White students, by law, within the public school system—was unconstitutional. That decision, Brown v. Board of Education, set into motion decades of organized, White opposition in southern states that had, since the 1890s, enforced laws to ensure that Black students and White students would not attend the same schools.
In January 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt refused to accept the resignation of Minnie Geddings Cox, postmistress for the city of Indianola and Mississippi’s first African American postmistress. Roosevelt subsequently closed Indianola’s post office, and it remained closed for more than a year. The newspapers called the incident the “Indianola Affair.” Raised by business owner parents and educated at one of the premier schools for aspiring African American women, Cox sought opportunities beyond the traditional expectations for women of the time.
In January 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt refused to accept the resignation of Minnie Geddings Cox, postmistress for the city of Indianola and Mississippi’s first African American postmistress. Roosevelt subsequently closed Indianola’s post office, and it remained closed for more than a year. The newspapers referred to the post office closing as the “Indianola Affair.” Cox’s role in the Indianola Affair, however, has been reduced to a footnote in early twentieth-century United States history.
On February 23, 1894, the Pascagoula Democrat-Star, in its “State News Boiled Down” section, listed news from across the state alerting readers to items like public resignations and appointments, legislative actions, warnings of floods, and new businesses. Situated between an announcement speculating that state senator C.
In 1949, political scientist V. O. Key suggested that “insofar as any geographical division remains within the politics of [Mississippi] it falls along the line that separates the delta and the hills.” By the time Key thus defined the state’s political line of demarcation, James O. Eastland had already been a significant player on both sides of it.
Every ten years the federal government takes a census; it counts everyone living in the United States and its territories. It has done this since 1790. The census counts everyone — adults, children, citizens, and foreign nationals, and gathers demographic information such as age, education, employment, and the number of family members.