He Risked His Life Filming A Mississippi Senator's Plantation In 1964Historians in the News
tags: racism, Jim Crow, segregation, Mississippi, Fannie Lou Hamer, James Eastland
I have kept this kinescope in my archive since it was recorded by a colleague of mine in 1964. He had the guts to go on to the Senator James Eastland plantation in Mississippi to see what the "sharecroppers" who had free rent forever were living like and how they felt. Senator Eastland was an avowed segregationist. A Dixiecrat Democrat. A powerful senator. His state, Mississippi, was a one party state dominated by white Democrats who used poll taxes and literacy tests to exclude black Americans from voting. He grew up rich on the plantation his family had owned since before the Civil War. He was famous for voting against voting rights, food stamps, and G.I. benefits for black soldiers returning from World War II. This film clip contains a bit of footage of Fannie Lou Hammer who came from the plantation and grew to fight Sen. Eastland and his colleagues by helping to set up the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party before the 1964 Democratic Party convention.