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Abstract

In a state whose historical image is inextricably linked with racism, the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission is surely one of its most sinister manifestations. In existence from 1956 to 1977, this state agency spied on civil rights activists, acted as a clearing-house for information on civil rights legislation from around the nation, funneled money to prosegregation organizations, and disseminated right-wing propaganda. Ironically, although its loudest proponents championed themselves as on a crusade against the insidious "red menace," the Commission was the embodiment of "Big Brother." Approximately 132,000 pages of remaining agency records document the Commission's dubious quest. Included in these records are names of close to 87,000 individuals, the majority of whom were victims of Commission surveillance.

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