Program To Examine Racial Politics in Mississippi during WWII

At noon on Wednesday, February 6, as part of the History Is Lunch series at the William F. Winter Archives and History Building, Mississippi State University professor Jason Morgan Ward will present “Racial Politics in Mississippi during World War II.”

During World War II, Mississippi figured prominently in national debates over racial violence and civil rights. Black demands for equality forced white Mississippians to reconcile their commitment to the war effort with their commitment to the racial status quo. A spate of mob killings in 1942 prompted the first federal lynching investigations in the state’s history, and forced many Mississippians to confront the reality of a national civil rights campaign that would only grow in the war’s wake.

Jason Morgan Ward received his B.A. in history from Duke University and his M.A. and Ph.D. in history from Yale University, where his dissertation was “Saving Segregation: Southern Whites, Civil Rights, and the Roots of Massive Resistance, 1936-1954.” That dissertation was a finalist in the C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize given by the Southern Historical Association and the sole runner-up for the Allan Nevins Dissertation Prize, given by the Society of American Historians.

Ward has since published “Defending White Democracy: The Making of the Segregationist Movement and the Remaking of Racial Politics, 1936-1965″ (University of North Carolina Press, 2011) and has a new book in progress, “Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence, Grassroots Struggle, and America’s Civil Rights Century.” He teaches history at Mississippi State University.

For more information email MDAH or call 601-576-6998.

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