1956: James P. Coleman becomes Mississippi’s fifty-second governor

Governor James P. Coleman (MDAH Collection)
Governor James P. Coleman

Coleman served from 1956 to 1960.

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March 12, 1956: Southern congressmen call for massive resistance to Supreme Court desegregation rulings

James O. Eastland (MDAH Collection)
James O. Eastland

Senator James O. Eastland co-authors the “Southern Manifesto.”

Link to the catalog

March 21, 1956: Mississippi legislature creates Sovereignty Commission to fight integration

The legislature created the Sovereignty Commission to preserve segregation. For the next seventeen years, until it was shut down in 1973, the commission spied on civil rights workers, acted as a clearinghouse for information on civil rights activities and legislation, and funneled money to pro-segregation causes.

March 29, 1956: Governor Coleman signs Sovereignty Commission bill into law

As governor, Coleman was chairman of the commission.

April 21, 1956: Elvis Presley posts first #1 hit

Presley’s song “Heartbreak Hotel” reached #1 on the Billboard chart.

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