One Mississippi, Two Mississippi: Methodists, Murder, and the Struggle for Racial Justice in…

Hardcover | May 13, 2015

byCarol V. R. George

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During Freedom Summer 1964, three young civil rights workers who were tasked with registering voters at Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Neshoba County, Mississippi were murdered there by law enforcement and Ku Klux Klansmen. The murders were hardly noticed in the area, so familiar had suchviolence become in the Magnolia State. For forty-one days the bodies of the three men lay undetected in a nearby dam, and for years afterward efforts to bring those responsible to justice were met only with silence. In One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, Carol V.R. George links the history of the Methodist Church (now the United Methodist Church), with newly-researched local history to show the role of this large denomination, important to both blacks and whites, in Mississippi's stumble toward racial justice.From 1930-1968, white Methodists throughout the church segregated their black co-religionists, silencing black ministers and many white ministers as well, locking their doors to all but their own members. Finally, the combination of civil rights activism and embarrassed Methodist morality persuadedthe United Methodists to restore black people to full membership. As the county and church integrated, volunteers from all races began to agitate for a new trial for the chief conspirator of the murders. In 2005, forty-one years after the killings, the accused was found guilty, his fate determinedby local jurors who deliberated in a city ringed with casinos, unrecognizable to the old Neshoba.In one sense a spiritual history, the book is a microhistory of Mt. Zion Methodist Church and its struggles with white Neshoba, as a community learned that reconciliation requires a willingness to confront the past fully and truthfully. George draws on interviews with county residents, black andwhite Methodist leaders, civil rights veterans, and those in civic groups, academia, and state government who are trying to carry the flag for reconciliation. George's sources - printed, oral, and material - offer a compelling account of the way in which residents of a place long reviled as "darkNeshoba" have taken up the task of truth-telling in a world uncomfortable with historical truth.

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During Freedom Summer 1964, three young civil rights workers who were tasked with registering voters at Mt. Zion Methodist Church in Neshoba County, Mississippi were murdered there by law enforcement and Ku Klux Klansmen. The murders were hardly noticed in the area, so familiar had suchviolence become in the Magnolia State. For forty-o...

Carol V.R. George in Research Professor of History at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:328 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 0.98 inPublished:May 13, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190231084

ISBN - 13:9780190231088

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroductionPART I HISTORY AND MEMORY SETTLING LONGDALE, MS. AND MT. ZION METHODIST CHURCH1. As We Remembered Zion, 1833-18902. Mt. Zion Church and It's Memories, 1878 on3. "I Was Never Scared": Mt. Zion in the Jim Crow Years, 1890-1954PART II "THE GREAT ANOMALY" THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH AND ITS BLACK MEMBERS4. Sanctified Segregation: Black Methodists and the Central Jurisdiction, 1920-1940 755. The Segregationist Insurgency and the Politicization of Mississippi Methodism, 1940-1955 956. In The Aftermath of Brown: The Racial Struggle inside the Mississippi Methodist Church, 1954-19647. "Segregation Is Not Unchristian": Methodists Debate Desegregation, 1956-19648. Neshoba Murders and Mississippi Methodists,1963-1964PART III MT. ZION'S WITNESS: CREATING MEMORIES9. Morality and Memory in Neshoba In The Sixties10. Truth anf Tradition in Neshoba County, 1964-196711. The Struggle for Inclusive Schools and Churches, 1964-197412. "A Tight Little Town" Tackles It's Future, 1980-200013. Addressing Unfinished Business: The Philadelphia Coalition14. The Contested Past: Black Justice and the Killen TrialEpilogue: The Importance of RememberingAcknowledgementsEnd NotesBibliography

Editorial Reviews

"By taking religion seriously, Carol V.R. George, vividly recounts why African Americans stayed in Mississippi despite the horrors of segregation, why some whites fought tenaciously to preserve their privilege, and how blacks and whites from a variety of backgrounds implicated the MethodistChurch in the fight for civil rights. Read this book to better understand 1964 and the slow, non-linear march toward progress, reconciliation and inclusion." --Earl Lewis, President, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation