Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Civil Rights & Social Justice News: Real Civil Rights History Beats Out "The Help" and Hollywood's Take on Mississippi

Civil Rights & Social Justice News: Real Civil Rights History Beats Out "The Help" and Hollywood's Take on Mississippi

A true script of what really went on in Mississippi during the modern civil rights era would show, for instance, that professor and social justice advocate John Salter was heavily spied on by the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission. Check out his name with these variations (for starters, I am sure there are more records tucked away) --


Here are a few links to get you started...

Head of Sovereignty Commission sends records to a judge --|73|0|8|1|1|1|5351|#

News clippings -- city wants to query Salter|73|0|16|1|1|1|5380|#

White Citizens Councils meets and talks about John Salter|3|0|11|1|1|1|152|#


Monday, September 19, 2011

Academic Smearing at its "Unlevel Best" -- Loads of Sovereignty Commission Records

The man who once taught sociology at Tougaloo College under the name of John Salter, a fine academic and brilliant writer who was frequently smeared by the Sovereignty Commission, takes time to reflect.

Hunter Gray to Bear, 6:17 AM (2 hours ago)

I much like Fall in the West. Here in the higher altitudes of the Mountain States,
the air is living-crispy during the days and the nights call for our wolf robe or at least my colorful Pendleton blankets. Occasional rain and some snow slowly bring deer, elk, and moose down into the somewhat lower winter ranges -- not far at all above us right here -- accompanied by lions,bobcats, coyotes, even an occasional wolf. Bears do their final fattening up for their long den-sleep -- which will carry them far feelings-wise from oncoming cold weather with its cutting winds and inevitable snow. But the sky can be as blue as turquoise, the mornings always promising good luck, and the slowly dimming early evenings with their fading sunlight and faint haze and creeping chill have a strangely appealing and mystical feel. The nights can be downright witchy.

For me, it's the Time of my Coming of Age Bear.[western%20memoir.%20htm.htm

Abenaki/St. Regis Mohawk
Protected by Na´shdo´i´ba´i´
and Ohkwari'

Our Lair of Hunterbear website is now almost 12 years old. It contains a great deal of primary, first-hand material on Native Americans, Civil Rights Movement, union labor, and organizing techniques -- and much more. Check it out and its vast number of component pieces. The front page itself -- the initial cover page -- has about 36 representative links.

John Salter and the Sovereignty Commission

Here are several Sovereignty Commission links, to get you warmed up... (Note: Records under Salter and Salters. Remember, these files are ancient and tricky. Always expand out searches, remembering they may come in multiple sets under variations on the name.)|3|0|11|2|1|1|153|#|73|0|7|1|1|1|5347|#|73|0|21|1|1|1|5389|#|74|2|16|2|1|1|39125|#|73|0|5|1|1|1|5345|#

Tons more files to go through. All fascinating... The main link is at

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Don't ever discount the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission

I remember when I first started looking at Sovereignty Commission records. I read a quote, calling the investigators "keystone cops", back when the records were first made public. Reporters had done a quick look through records of prominent people and most likely, because many records had already been pulled and kept away from public view, or stolen, it looked like there was not much available. Thus -- reporters dismisssed the entire batch.

Not a smart thing to do. There is so much in the data base and it's fun just to pull anonymous records and start sniffing around. This evening, I was looking to see if there were any records available for a lawyer by the name of Lanier Foote. No luck so far -- but remember, not everything is indexed, so I will keep looking in the cracks.

But I did pull up this record -- not sure who exactly it is referencing, but take a look at the "research" done by the investigator. This person was obviously experienced, and it is chilling to watch how he was operating...


No -- not all of these investigators were keystone cops...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Remembering Emmett Till; looking through some Sovereignty Commission 'tidbits', getting a feel for the times

Note: I wrote this post last year as the 56th anniversary of young Emmett Till's murder approached, and included some links to Sovereignty Commission files related to his death. In light of Trayvon Martin's murder, I thought that some readers might be interested in more history about Emmett Till. If you don't know about the Sovereignty Commission, it was a state-run spy organization to halt integration, and was formed following Till's murder.

Very few such records actually are in the state's archives regarding Emmett Till, since most of the records were probably boxed up and taken home by sovereignty commission directors and others.

But -- it is still interesting to see what is there. It helps give a feel for the times, if nothing else.

Here are some links -- there are many  more. Remember that you can look up more records yourself by going to

Just search on Till, since there are various ways these records are indexed (i.e., Louis Till, Emmit Till, Emmett Till, etc.)

Negro Leader Critical of Southern Juries, FBI

Signs of Attack Seen by NAACP on State Segregation

Part of a conversation on lynching in Mississippi, mentions Till; tries to place blame of acquittal on a "negro undertaker." Fascinating. I spoke with that person before he died, and that is not the story he told me...

Political cartoon of Mississippi black murder victims, includes Till.

"Crack Mississippi, and you can crack the South. Crack the South, and you can crack the U.S." History professor and Citizens Councils member fears the civil rights movement is the forerunner of Communism.

Friday, June 10, 2011

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Thursday, June 09, 2011

Freedom Riders Under the Sovereignty Commission Radar

As Mississippi honored the 1961 Freedom Riders on the 50th anniversary of the movement that changed America forever, one among them returning was Thomas Armstrong, the first to join the Rides in his native Mississippi.

Armstrong led more than 30 students from Tougaloo College, Jackson State University and local high schools in going to the bus terminal in Jackson and boldly entering the white waiting room, refusing to leave. They were all arrested and jailed, as police were locking up freedom riders coming into the state.

Who were the Freedom Riders and what did they do? You can find a number of fascinating (and chilling) files kept by Mississippi's secret spy force, the Sovereignty Commission. Here are a few links to get you started ...

"Keep an eye out on him"

"Soviets Planned Freedom Rides"

"Names and Addresses"

"Beating 'Cleared'"

Of course, there are hundreds of records about this sordid part of Civil Rights history in these files. Many, truly fascinating. BTW, I have written extensively about the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission in my book, Where Rebels Roost; Mississippi Civil Rights Revisited."