Dixie's Dirty Secret
How the Government, the Media, and the Mob
Reshaped the Modern Republican Party
Into the Image of the Old Confederacy
By James L. Dickerson
"Dirty isn’t nearly harsh enough to describe the 20-year- reign of intimidation and deceit perpetuated by the secret state agency founded to defy the Supreme Court's order for school desegregation. Dickerson, a veteran journalist and author of Goin' Back to Memphis (which studied the influence of organized crime and politics on Memphis music), traces the commission's genesis in 1955, its escalating use of unlawful tactics (including spying dirty tricks, media manipulation and forced conscription of political enemies) in the 1960s, its eventual demise in the 1970s . . . It's a bizarre story, involving organized crime, presidential and congressional politics, assassination conspiracies and government corruption of sickening proportions."—Kirkus Reviews
Dixie's Dirty Secret exposes the longest running political gambit in American history and paints a frightful picture of the future of the United States if the current trend in politics continues. How did the populist Democratic Party lose its blue collar and Southern base? How did the elitist, stiff-upper-lip Republican Party become a vehicle for racism and right-wing political anarchy?
At one time the Democratic Party was the political arm of the segregationist South and the Republican Party was the party of Abraham Lincoln (as far as race relations were concerned). That all changed on a fateful day in 1960 when Democratic Party candidate John F. Kennedy telephoned Coretta King to offer his condolences that her husband Martin Luther King Jr. had been arrested for parading without a permit. That telephone call set in motion a decades-long transformation of the Democratic Party into a liberal, pro-civil rights party and the transformation of the Republication Party into a right-wing, anti-civil rights party that embraced the social values of the Old Confederacy, with the final transformation of both parties coming into fruition during the bipolar presidential election campaign of 2016.
After the landmark Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954 by the U.S. Supreme Court mandated the desegregation of public schools, Mississippi created the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a super-secret spy agency whose basic mission of which was to prevent racial integration in that state. This book is an investigative history of the Commission, which was little more than an extension of the KKK and the white Citizens' Councils, and the various state and federal agencies that worked with the Commission to spy on citizens and commit crimes against those who worked for civil rights.
Also working against civil rights activists in the South were various organized crime cells, especially the Mafia godfather in New Orleans, and various right-wing media organizations that cared more about protecting the values of the Old Confederacy than in advancing democracy.
When Dixie's Dirty Secret was published in 1998 it was the first book to expose the super-secret Mississippi Sovereignty Commission and the involvement of the government, the news media, and organized crime in combating the civil rights movement. This newly published edition, with nearly 20 years of new information, is a revised, greatly expanded analysis of that era that demonstrates how white resistance to racial integration in the South transformed the Republican Party into a right-wing reflection of Old Confederacy values.
About the Author
Journalist and independent scholar James L. Dickerson has published numerous biographies and histories, including Devil’s Sanctuary: An Eyewitness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes, Yellow Fever: A Deadly Disease Poised to Kill Again, and The Hero Among Us: Memoirs of an FBI Witness Hunter. An award-winning journalist, he has worked as a staff writer for three Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, The Commercial Appeal (Memphis), the Clarion-Ledger/Jackson Daily News (Jackson, MS) and the Delta Democrat-Times (Greenville, MS). He is a leading writer of civil rights history and organized crime in the South. His writing is listed in the FBI’s Bibliography Related to Crime Scene Interpretation with Emphases in Forensic Geotaphonomic and Forensic Archaeological Field Techniques, compiled by Special Agent Michael J. Hochrein. He is a former book critic for the Toronto Star, the Baltimore Sun, the Nashville Tennessean, BookPage, and the Jackson Free Press.