Explore the Project: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC) was a state-sponsored investigative unit created in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education to combat racial desegregation in the Magnolia State. Between 1956 and 1973 the MSSC, directed by the governor and other top elected officials, employed former law enforcement officials and others to observe and report on the activities of private citizens suspected of engaging in civil rights activism. In the ensuing years, this expanded to include investigations into suspected communism, homosexuality, religious activity, and more. For nearly twenty years, the MSSC was funded by public tax dollars, but unaccountable to the public. It operated as a clandestine investigative unit that worked behind the scenes to funnel resources and information to a variety of organizations fighting against fundamental civil rights across Mississippi and the larger United States.