Mississipi Burning

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Mississippi Burning Essay
Emily Tremaine

The film, Mississippi Burning (1989) can be classified as a very useful source for a historian studying the Civil Rights Movement, however, there are a few noticeable limitations that could prevent the historian from gaining a full understanding of the true culture in the Southern States of America. The film thoroughly examines the role of the Klu Klux Klan and touches upon the role of the media. Despite the useful information that is provided throughout the film, there are certain flaws that limit the historian from gaining knowledge on the true nature of Southern Americans.

In the 1950s the emergence of the Civil Rights Movement triggered the Klu Klux Klan organisations to ramp up their terrorisation of the African Americans. The most significant of these was the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan led by Robert Shelton. In the Deep South considerable amounts of pressure were put on blacks by the Klan not to vote. An example of this was in the state of Mississippi. By 1960, 42% of the population was black but only 2% were registered to vote. Lynching was still employed as a method of terrorising the local black population. (Klu Klux Klan, http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/USAkkk.htm) The film ‘Mississippi Burning’ supports this information and displays some of the methods the Klu Klux Klan used to attack and threaten African Americans as well as those who supported integration between blacks and whites.

The media played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement. People throughout the world were able to view significant events such as riots, marches and certain court cases. This meant that people became more aware of the extent of violence and injustice that was bestowed on African Americans, particularly in the small country towns in the Southern States. Actually viewing all this violence sparked even more rage amongst those who believed in the Civil Rights Movement. While the majority of White...
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