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The Closed Society

James W. Silver

Publication Year: 2012

Mississippi: The Closed Society is a book about an insurrection in modern America, more particularly, about the social and historical background of that insurrection. It is written by a Mississippian who is a historian, and who, on September 30, 1962, witnessed the long night of riot that exploded on the campus of the University of Mississippi at Oxford, when students, and, later, adults with no connection with the University, attacked United States marshals sent to the campus to protect James H. Meredith, the first African American to attend Ole Miss.

In the first part of Mississippi: The Closed Society, Silver describes how the state's commitment to the doctrine of white supremacy led to a situation in which the Mississippian found that continued intransigence (and possibly violence) was the only course offered to him. In these chapters the author speaks in the more formal measures of the historian. In the second part of the book, "Some Letters from the Closed Society," he reproduces (among other correspondence and memoranda) a series of his letters to friends and family--and critics--in the days and weeks after the insurrection. Here he reveals himself more personally and forcefully. In both parts of the book are disclosed the mind and heart of the Mississippian who is as haunted as William Faulkner was by the moral chaos of his native land.

Published by: University Press of Mississippi


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5


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pp. 6-7

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pp. vii-xxii

From the White House at eight o'clock on the night of September 30, 1962, John F. Kennedy began to plead eloquently with Mississippi students...


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1. The Establishment of Orthodoxy

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pp. 3-27

The insurrection against the armed forces of the United States at the University of Mississippi on September...

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2. The Voices of Militancy

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pp. 28-52

According to the Jackson Daily News "there is nothing new in the tactics of propagandists smearing the South. This has been a trait for well...

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3. The Voices of Acquiescence

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pp. 53-82

The church in Mississippi played a principal role in the formalation of the orthodox view in the 1850's, helped stimulate secession, and sustained...

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4. The Closed Society and the Negro

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pp. 83-106

In the first half of the present century there was no serious challenge to the caste system in Mississippi, even though the Negro spoke the...

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5. The Great Confrontation and Its Aftermath

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pp. 107-140

The University of Mississippi has had its moments of greatness. Among its faculty and administrators have been men of integrity and virtue...

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6. The Voices of Dissent and the Future of the Closed Society

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pp. 141-156

The closed society is never absolutely closed. There always have been and there always will be dissenters, doubters who will point to the road not...


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Some Letters from the Closed Society

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pp. 159-244

In this brief book I have made no effort to tell the day-by-day story of the events in Mississippi leading up to and since the insurrection of September...


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pp. 245-250

E-ISBN-13: 9781617033131
E-ISBN-10: 161703312X
Print-ISBN-13: 9781617033124

Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012