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Devil's Sanctuary: An Eye Witness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes

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The African-American struggle for freedom has brought attention to the violence that historically has terrorized the descendants of slaves for generations. The beatings, the lynching, shootings, the rapes, have occurred all across America, but nowhere have they been more notorious than in the State of Mississippi. And nowhere have the perpetrators of such violence been gra The African-American struggle for freedom has brought attention to the violence that historically has terrorized the descendants of slaves for generations. The beatings, the lynching, shootings, the rapes, have occurred all across America, but nowhere have they been more notorious than in the State of Mississippi. And nowhere have the perpetrators of such violence been granted such long-standing immunity to prosecution than in Mississippi. Devil's Sanctuary examines the shocking history of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a secret spy agency that operated as a secret police agency, the racist leanings of state institutions and the news media, the state's use of waterboarding to get convictions from blacks who refused to confess, and the deplorable actions of the state's churches, some of which provided hit men to the KKK-all in the name of preventing blacks from voting and having a say in government. Mississippi, which has the largest percentage of blacks of any state in the union, has made some progress, such as the 2020 decision to remove the Confederate flag from the state flag, but one thing has not changed: Mississippi whites have blocked Mississippi blacks from holding any statewide office for 145 years. Because presidential elections in Mississippi are "winner take all," votes cast by blacks are turned over to white Electoral College members to case for the candidate of their choice. Just imagine being black and having your vote for president not counted for over 100 years. The authors of this book, the late Alex A. Alston, a former president of the Mississippi Bar Association, and James L. Dickerson, an award winning journalist, grew up together in the Mississippi Delta, witnessing the sort of crimes against black Americans chronicled in the book.


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The African-American struggle for freedom has brought attention to the violence that historically has terrorized the descendants of slaves for generations. The beatings, the lynching, shootings, the rapes, have occurred all across America, but nowhere have they been more notorious than in the State of Mississippi. And nowhere have the perpetrators of such violence been gra The African-American struggle for freedom has brought attention to the violence that historically has terrorized the descendants of slaves for generations. The beatings, the lynching, shootings, the rapes, have occurred all across America, but nowhere have they been more notorious than in the State of Mississippi. And nowhere have the perpetrators of such violence been granted such long-standing immunity to prosecution than in Mississippi. Devil's Sanctuary examines the shocking history of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, a secret spy agency that operated as a secret police agency, the racist leanings of state institutions and the news media, the state's use of waterboarding to get convictions from blacks who refused to confess, and the deplorable actions of the state's churches, some of which provided hit men to the KKK-all in the name of preventing blacks from voting and having a say in government. Mississippi, which has the largest percentage of blacks of any state in the union, has made some progress, such as the 2020 decision to remove the Confederate flag from the state flag, but one thing has not changed: Mississippi whites have blocked Mississippi blacks from holding any statewide office for 145 years. Because presidential elections in Mississippi are "winner take all," votes cast by blacks are turned over to white Electoral College members to case for the candidate of their choice. Just imagine being black and having your vote for president not counted for over 100 years. The authors of this book, the late Alex A. Alston, a former president of the Mississippi Bar Association, and James L. Dickerson, an award winning journalist, grew up together in the Mississippi Delta, witnessing the sort of crimes against black Americans chronicled in the book.

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