Catalogue


Mississippi liberal : a biography of Frank E. Smith /
Dennis J. Mitchell.
imprint
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi for the Mississippi Historical Society, c2001.
description
xvii, 292 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
1578063434 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Jackson : University Press of Mississippi for the Mississippi Historical Society, c2001.
isbn
1578063434 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
4552380
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Dennis J. Mitchell is chair of the division of arts and sciences at Mississippi State University at Meridian.
Excerpts
Flap Copy
The biography of a white, Democratic congressman whose liberal stand on race ended his political career in Mississippi
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2002-02-01:
The growing literature of the Civil Rights Movement continues to reveal a complex variety of individuals, organizations, and situations. This biography of Frank Smith, like the autobiographical Carry Me Home, by Alabaman Diane McWhorter (CH, Nov'01), presents the struggles of a white southerner who, though a closet liberal, made the politically necessary racist remarks to get elected to Congress. Amazingly, he had been an integrationist since his youth despite the murder of his father by a black man. His dying father insisted that the law be carried out without resort to lynching. That example, his middle-class status, and avid study were factors that led the young Smith to realize that both his father and the murderer were victims of a racist society. Smith became determined to change Mississippi society, but his people listened to Ross Barnett, James Eastland, John Rankin, and John Bell Williams. After six terms in the House, racists defeated him for his support of John F. Kennedy in 1960, and Smith accepted an appointment to the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority. He maintained his belief that white Mississippians would change but failed in his bid to return to Congress in 1972. General and undergraduate collections. L. H. Grothaus emeritus, Concordia University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, February 2002
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Summaries
Main Description
Instead of turning toward hatred after his father was murdered by a black man in 1926, Frank E. Smith (1918-1997) committed himself to help his racist state move toward integration and racial harmony. He was an anomaly in his heyday, a white politician who staunchly supported the civil rights movement at home. As a young man growing up in the Mississippi Delta, arguably one of the most segregated and violent regions in America during the Jim Crow era, Smith made the decision to work for political and social change in Mississippi. After serving in World War II, he returned to the Delta to assist in founding a liberal newspaper in Greenwood. To heighten his chances for winning a seat in the state senate, he lied about his liberal views on race. After being elected to the U.S. Congress during six terms, he worked quietly for integration. For openly supporting John F. Kennedy's bid for the presidency, Smith lost the congressional seat he had held for thirteen tumultuous but productive years. After the election in 1960, Kennedy appointed him to the governing board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, on which Smith served until 1972. In this position he clashed with the growing environmental movement outside the TVA. At the same time, he worked with the Southern Regional Council and the Voter Education Project to register black voters throughout the South. As he struggled for racial progress and understanding, Smith rejected Black Power, which he denounced as racism. That position, and his refusal to support environmental extremists in the left-wing branches of the Democratic Party, put him at odds with his liberal base. He suffered exile from Mississippi and accepted academic posts around the country until an ally won the governor's office in Mississippi. Smith ended his political career as a special assistant to Governor William F. Winter. As this biography details the conflicting political terrains in Smith's life, it reveals the complexities of his political and social views and shows Smith as a man at odds both with the conservative establishment of the 1960s and left wing of his own party. Dennis J. Mitchell is chair of the division of arts and sciences at Mississippi State University at Meridian. He is the author of Cross and Tory Democracy: A Political Biography of Richard Assheton Cross. This volume is published for the Mississippi Historical Society.
Main Description
Instead of turning toward hatred after his father was murdered by a black man in 1926, Frank E. Smith (1918-1997) committed himself to help his racist state move toward integration and racial harmony. He was an anomaly in his heyday, a white politician who staunchly supported the civil rights movement at home. As a young man growing up in the Mississippi Delta, arguably one of the most segregated and violent regions in America during the Jim Crow era, Smith made the decision to work for political and social change in Mississippi.After serving in World War II, he returned to the Delta to assist in founding a liberal newspaper in Greenwood. To heighten his chances for winning a seat in the state senate, he lied about his liberal views on race. After being elected to the U.S. Congress during six terms, he worked quietly for integration.For openly supporting John F. Kennedy's bid for the presidency, Smith lost the congressional seat he had held for thirteen tumultuous but productive years. After the election in 1960, Kennedy appointed him to the governing board of the Tennessee Valley Authority, on which Smith served until 1972. In this position he clashed with the growing environmental movement outside the TVA. At the same time, he worked with the Southern Regional Council and the Voter Education Project to register black voters throughout the South.As he struggled for racial progress and understanding, Smith rejected Black Power, which he denounced as racism. That position, and his refusal to support environmental extremists in the left-wing branches of the Democratic Party, put him at odds with his liberal base. He suffered exile from Mississippi and accepted academic postsaround the country until an ally won the governor's office in Mississippi. Smith ended his political career as a special assistant to Governor William F. Winter.As this biography details the conflicting political terrains in
Table of Contents
Forewordp. ix
Prefacep. xiii
Acknowledgmentsp. xvii
Birth and Death in the Deltap. 3
An Intellectual Journeyp. 19
Moorheadp. 29
Private Smith Goes to Warp. 40
Newspapers and Politicsp. 53
Election to Congressp. 73
Congressman Smithp. 86
National Democratp. 109
Cloud Ridingp. 120
Leaving Mississippip. 143
Distant Battlesp. 168
The Bands Don't Playp. 186
TVA and the Death of New Deal Liberalismp. 205
Exile and Returnp. 233
Notesp. 249
Indexp. 281
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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