Politics of Southern Equality: Law and Social Change in a Mississippi County

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  • Format: Nonspecific Binding
  • Copyright: 2008-07-15
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Supplemental Materials

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This path-breaking text deals with the effects of federal civil rights legislation on the behavior and attitudes of the inhabitants of a single county in Mississippi-Panola County. These effects are examined in the three civil rights areas of voting, education, and economic opportunities. By using this smaller example, Frederick M. Wirts broader interest is to show how legislation can be used to effect social change on a large scale. The need to substitute empirical knowledge for abstract speculation motivates Wirts study. Wirt restricts his study to one county but with conclusions on comparative studies that illumine the emerging political sociology of the South. The author sketches the historical setting of Panola County, emphasizing on the demographic, economic, and political developments in recent decades. He then examines what has actually happened in race relations as an effect of civil rights laws affecting votes, schools, and jobs. Wirt utilizes documentary material from federal, state, and county sources; local newspapers; and records from business and other groups. But his closer understanding comes from personal interviews. Because federal law is the dynamic factor setting the social system in movement, the author explains the interactions between public opinion, the President, and the Congress, which in the end resulted in the laws on votes, schools, and jobs. He also deals with the differing machinery of sanctions and enforcement. Law has a huge effect on social change; and Wirt draws from his empirical study a systematic, inclusive statement of the factors affecting compliance with law, in conditions of conventional biases.

Author Biography

Frederick M. Wirt is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Illinois, Urbana and is best known for his work in the fields of urban politics and the politics of education

Table of Contents

Forewordp. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
The Background for Researchp. 1
Theories of Law and Social Changep. 3
The Society of Panola Countyp. 19
The Law and Voting Equalityp. 49
Congress and Voting Legislationp. 51
Enforcement and Legal Contentp. 70
The Politics of Litigationp. 87
COFO and Black Politics, 1964-1965p. 113
The Growth of Political Power, 1965-1968p. 142
Racial Political Strategies in the New Southp. 159
The Law and Educational Equalityp. 173
The Federal Mandate of Changep. 175
Changing Schools in Panola Countyp. 191
Limitations on the Laws Effectp. 211
The Law and Economic Equalityp. 233
Federal Subsidy of Economic Rightsp. 235
Federal Regulations of Economics Rightsp. 251
The Effect of Law on Social Changep. 273
Effect on Social Change: Regulation and Regulatorp. 275
Effect on Social Change: Regulated and Regulateep. 287
Epilog: The Corner is Turned in Panolap. 311
Indexp. 321
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