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Mississippi Between the Wars Chapter 8
Chapter Preview • • • Migration Capital Investment Junior College Fiberboard Prohibition Moonshine Depression New Deal BAWI
People to Know • • • Jonas Edward Johnson Walter Sillers, Jr. L. O. Crosby, Sr. Pat Harrison Paul B. Johnson, Sr. Henry Whitfield Dennis Murphree Martin Sennet “Mike” Conner Hugh White
Places to Know • • • Moss Point Laurel Gulf Coast Kiln Pascagoula
Quotable History “A reactionary is a somnambulist walking backwards. ” Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Between the Wars • • Between the end of WWI and WWII Mississippi endured floods, erosion, The Great Depression, Population Loss, and continued political infighting. Governors were favorable to big business, improved education, and the development of industry The governors were not as powerful as the legislature and often failed African American Majority was still oppressed
The Great Migration
• • • The Great Migration In the years following WWI, thousands of African Americans moved from Mississippi to the North The war created labor shortages in the cities, like Chicago Anyone who could get to the Northern cities could escape segregation and African Americans in the North encouraged this migration They described places like Chicago as the “promised land”. Between 1910 -1920 almost 150, 000 African Americans left Mississippi and another 150, 000 left between 1920 -1940. Then in the 1940’s another 300, 000 migrated. Labor shortages became a huge problem in the state as a result of the migration
Attempts to Stop the Migration • Whites used force and threats to stop the migration • Police entered trains and forced African Americans off. • Authorities arrested African Americans who were attempting to buy tickets • Railroad workers would sidetrack entire rail cars filled with African Americans so they would be bypassed • These tactics only increased the desire for African Americans to leave • At times, entire congregations packed up and headed North. • African American leaders who stayed attempted to use the migration to improve conditions in Ms. • Politicians began cracking down on KKK abuse
• • • The Committee of 100 Made up of African American leaders and ministers, businessmen, and educators Quietly lobbied for improvements for their people Lobbied for better education for African Americans They worked to keep educated, professional African Americans in the state They did not succeed, however, as most educated African American left the state.
• Effects of the Migration After the large numbers of African American professionals left the state the middle class of that community disappeared. • The gap in pay between white and African American teachers grew wider • The last African American banks failed in the 1920’s • Discrimination continued to displace skilled workers from their trades • Land ownership by African Americans declined • • Despite the efforts of groups like the Committee of 100, segregation and oppression wore down the African American population By the time WWII began, most African Americans had been forced to take jobs as field hands, domestic servants or manual laborers.
A Good Governor, but A Great Flood Henry Whitfield and The Great Flood of 1927
• • Henry Whitfield A country schoolteacher who intended to enter law Before he entered the law, Governor Mc. Laurin appointed him state superintendent of education He used that office to promote education as the state’s salvation He toured the state using the slogan, “Catch the Vision”
• • • Whitfield moves forward After two terms as superintendent, he became the president of the Industrial Institute and College in Columbus, Ms (Now Mississippi University for Women) He was dismissed in 1919 for refusing to support Bilbo’s successor. He became the superintendent of a boys orphanage until June 1922 when he declared his candidacy for governor.
• • • Suffrage Strikes Because women could finally vote in the primary of 1923 for the first time, Whitfield expected to have the advantage in the primary Bilbo was buried in scandal, but nevertheless announced on the steps of the jail he was about to be confined to that he too would be running. Whitfield promised. . . • • • . . . a scandal free administration, stating that he would. . . ”never embarrass the people of Mississippi. ”. . . to reverse the party’s hostile attitude toward big business. . . to encourage public capital investment (spending money to build factories, highways, and buildings)
• • Whitfield’s Progressivism The female vote indeed made the difference in the primary. Many hoped that women would have a lasting impact on changing the state, many others did not • • Women held political offices every year after 1924, however, the change that some hoped for never materialized. Most were elected to office after their spouse died or continued the political traditions of their families On the whole, women’s suffrage had little impact on Mississippi politics. Historically, women have split their vote and not voted as a substantial block, keying in on specific issues
Whitfield and the Legislature
Getting Things Done • As Governor. . . Whitfield worked with the legislature to pass higher income and inheritance taxes. • With that money he: • established a new teacher’s college • a library commission • a textbook commission • a forestry commission • a new mental hospital • a new school code • a reforestation program • reversed measures to protect the people from big business • did away with limits on corporate land ownership • encouraged railroad mergers • eased anti-trust legislation
The Four Horsemen • • Speaker Thomas L. Bailey Joseph W. George Laurens Kennedy Walter Sillers Jr. • These men, along with Governor Whitfield, ran the Democrat Party and thus the state
The Governor and the People • • • Whitfield pledged to be the governor of “ALL” the people. Noting that African Americans made up over half the population, he understood that it was impossible to achieve prosperity if they did not prosper also He called on every man and woman in the state to see that. . . ”the laws protecting the Negroes in their lives and property are rigorously enforced. ”
• • • Whitfield and Race He eased the pressure of segregation on African Americans He was a good friend of Lawrence C. Jones, founder of the famous African American school at Piney Woods He supported training African Americans at academics and advanced, practical farmwork. Fewer people were lynched during his governorship He spoke to African American congregations and organizations and visited their schools He continued to insist upon strict enforcement of segregation but. . . • • • welcomed African Americans to his office heard their requests graciously He restored a measure of civility to race relations and died in 1927 of bone cancer
The Great Flood of ’ 27
• • Wish We Had An Ark! Dennis Murphree succeeded Whitfield as governor, and, as many politicians have in the history of the country, was presented with an unexpected but devastating disaster The worst flood in Mississippi history occurred in 1927. • • A levee gave way and the Mississippi River flooded nearly 3 million acres of the Delta 185, 000 people were forced to flee the rising waters; and gathered atop levees and Indian Mounds • Rescue boats were dispatched but almost exclusively saved white women and children • Governor Murphree sent in the National Guard to help • They evacuated whites and set up camps for African Americans • The flood waters did not recede until late summer • The entire cotton crop was lost
The Camps • Newspaper reports of the condition of the camps led to investigations and national embarrassment for the state
Quotable History “Some of the camps. . . were surrounded by National Guardsmen. Negroes were not allowed outside the gates without permission of their landlords, who were waiting for the waters to subside so they could force the refugees back into semi-slavery. In some camps the inmates had to pay for Red Cross supplies that were supposed to be free. . . Eventually some of the abuses were corrected. ” Langston Hughes, African American Author
Bilbo Did You Get All That? ?
The Junior College System Education Improves
Ju. Co Nation • • During the Vardaman-Bilbo era, education in the state began to improve. As consolidation made more high-schools available, the role of agricultural high-schools seemed doomed. • • These were boarding schools that had once been rural students only option To prevent their closure, Julius Zeller introduced a bill in 1922 allowing the agricultural high-schools to become Junior Colleges These schools offered the first 2 years of college work Ms was the first state to create a junior college system
Economic Growth King Cotton, New Industries, and Alcohol!
King Cotton • • Cotton continued to be the state’s major crop Cotton prices increased dramatically between 1910 -1919 BUT in 1920 prices fell from almost. 40 cents to. 09 cents Farmers who borrowed money during the WWI boom found it impossible to pay those loans back In a good year in the ’ 20’s a farmer made about $300 gross After the Great Depression hit prices fell to. 06 cents and it cost more to grow it than farmers could sell it for. One group did very well. . . The BIG Delta farmers who used sharecroppers and New York investor money Cotton profits funded football at the state’s 2 big Universities and football competition in the state became fierce and corrupt.
New Industries Agriculture Expansion, Fiberboard and Booze
New Industries • Agriculture expansion helped the economy grow in some areas. • Increased dairy farming led to new cheese plants and milk processing operations. • A condensed milk factory was built in Starkville in 1926 • • About half a dozen canneries opened in the state, the largest of which was a pickle factory in Wiggins Mississippi’s lumber industry was largely gone. • • • New innovations did create new industries in the lumber sector. The Dantzler family of Moss Point began making paper from fast growing yellow pines In Laurel, William Mason invented fiberboard, a building material made from compressed wood fibers
• • • New Industries (cont) Mason’s company, Masonite, became a major corporation. L. O. Crosby, Sr. discovered that pine resin could be extracted from discarded stumps and started a business making varnish The biggest boom industry of the 1920’s was real estate • • • Northerners migrated to Florida to escape the cold and some of that extended to the Ms Gulf Coast Investors built hotels and purchased land; driving up the prices The owner of a major hotel opened a casino on an island 12 miles out (passed the legal limit into international waters) • Boats ferried gamblers to and from the island on regular
• Prohibition - A period when making and selling of alcoholic beverages was illegal) brought some prosperity to the state. • • From the middle of the 19 th Century to 1920 alcohol consumption was a tremendously important political issue. In many ways, the prohibition movement was the first political issue of women in the U. S. It coincided with the suffrage movement
• • • Prohibition (cont) Religious organizations led by evangelical Protestant churches, especially the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, Disciples and Congregationalists. joined women in the effort to outlaw alcohol By 1919 they had convinced and cajoled enough citizens and politicians to pass the 18 th Constitutional Amendment, Prohibiting the manufacture and sale of alcohol One year later women got the right to vote. After prohibition went into effect it became clear immediately that it was futile. Congress passed the Volstead Act to enforce the Amendment and employed federal agents to stop illegal activity. Passing laws to make alcohol illegal proved to be the height of hubris for government intervention and the unseen consequences of these laws are felt to this day
Prohibition (cont) • The demand for alcohol did not disappear when supply was curtailed by the new laws and certain “motivated entrepreneurs” wanted to capitalize on that demand. • • • At the time of the passage of the 18 th Amendment, organized crime centered on illegal activities such as gambling, loansharking and prostitution. Prohibition opened up an entire new sector of immensely profitable “Business” Whereas, prior to prohibition, organized was local and tribal. After prohibition, These criminals joined forces in a nationwide, highly organized, corporation-like entity that controlled nearly all alcohol production, importation and sales. They became fabulously wealthy and powerful and used both to promote their own agendas
• • • Prohibition in Mississippi Gangsters began operating on the coast to oversee the illegal industry. Kiln, in Hancock County became famous for supplying Chicago Mob Boss Al Capone with “Kiln Lightning”. Authorities found entire train cars filled with Moonshine - illegally distilled liquor. Fishermen turned to smuggling liquor from Cuba because it was so profitable Small, fast boats brought it in from the barrier islands The Mississippi Gulf Coast became a Major port of entry for alcohol into the country Moonshiners operated illegal stills in the woods and forests, bribing local officials and producing sometimes dangerous and deadly concoctions
Prohibition Ends • • The unbelievable increase in crime and apparent impossibility for the government to dissuade average Americans from breaking the law caused voters to begin questioning whether the 18 th Amendment had been an enormous mistake. Franklin Roosevelt campaigned on the repeal of the 18 th Amendment and shortly after taking office in 1933, he and Congress passed the 21 st Amendment to repeal prohibition and once again allow alcohol production and sale in the U. S.
October 24, 1929 Black Thursday Stock Market plummets 11% at the opening bell
October 28, 1929 Black Monday Newspaper reports over the weekend sparked more fear. The Market collapsed another 13%
October 29, 1929 Black Tuesday Hoover refuses to veto Smoot -Hawley Tariff; Wall Street royalty attempts to stop the bleeding but are unsuccessful. Market falls another 12% on the heaviest day in trading in history. That record lasted 40 years.
Jumpers • The Market Crash was so severe that people could not see any future and jumped to their deaths out of windows and off the rooftops of their Wall Street offices
• • The Great Depression of the 1930’s was the worst economic crisis in modern history. Depression - a continued downturn in economic activity Sales of goods slow down and prices fall, manufacturing decreases, businesses close, banks fail, and people lose their jobs World War II ended the Great Depression
• • • Effects on Mississippi In Mississippi, the Depression caused MASS bank foreclosures and tax sales of farms In 1932 alone, 10% of the farm owners in the state lost their land because they could not repay bank loans. On a single day in April 1932, 25% of Mississippi’s land was auctioned off for unpaid taxes • People lost their homes, land, possessions, and had only what they could carry • Martin Sennet “Mike” Conner became Governor in 1932 • Bilbo left office with $1, 326 in the state treasury with almost $6 million in outstanding checks. The state was in serious trouble • Conner had to find a way to make the state solvent. • He was an Ole Miss Grad and had a law degree from Yale
• Mississippi Depression Increasing taxes would only lead to more foreclosures because land owners couldn’t pay the taxes they already owed. • Teachers had been paid in IOU’s for a year • Lawmakers lived in hotels on credit because they were not getting paid either. • Conner’s only solution that might work was to drastically cut government spending • That meant cutting jobs and public services • He also proposed a sales tax, which was a relatively new idea. • • Merchants and shop-owners complained mightily because the price of their goods would necessarily increase AND they, themselves would be tax collectors for the state The protests got violent
The New Deal Franklin Roosevelt’s plan to first survive and then end the Great Depression
• While Governor Conner balanced the state budget, the National Government started passing The New Deal; A series of laws designed to bring the country out of depression • • A wide variety of programs were implemented that were intended to improve the economy and society The basic idea was to use PUBLIC money to stimulate businesses in the PRIVATE sector (Keynesian economic philosophy) That description in your text is highly simplistic and somewhat deceiving as the New Deal was much more complicated and heterogeneous. Some of the New Deal programs implemented in Ms included: • Works Progress Administration (WPA) • Public Works Administration (PWA) • Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) • Agricultural Adjustment Administration (AAA)
Quotable History “Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the greatest good of everyone. “ John Maynard Keynes
• Programs The PWA and WPA hired the unemployed to build public projects such as schools, parks, and roads. • • • Many state parks can trace their origins to these programs. The CCC hired men for projects that involved planting trees, preserving the soil, and purifying the water. The AAA provided price supports (guaranteed higher prices) for farmers Mississippians had never experienced such government assistance. Planters took advantage of the programs; for instance farmers found ways to make the government pay them to NOT plant crops • Landowners were supposed to share the government funds with their tenants but many only allowed African Americans to be tenants and withheld the money from them.
Effects of New Deal • • Most of the relief cases involved older African Americans and whites who landowners and planters would not hire. One federal worker, who was trying to place some poor whites into farming tenant jobs, asked a planter what he thought should become of the whites since he refused to take them as tenants. • • He wouldn’t take them because he wanted to keep more government money The planter responded, “Starve them out. They are not worth feeding. We do not want them in our county. ” • • Interestingly and quite hypocritically, these same planters went hat in hand to the government for more aid The programs helped planters obtain technology like tractors which decreased demand for labor and ended sharecropping
• • • Depression Era Politics Class and race divisions remained unchanged during the New Deal. Bilbo was elected to the Senate in 1934 and joined Senior Senator Harrison, who represented the planter and business interests in the state Harrison and Bilbo both supported FDR and his New Deal however, they didn’t like each other • • Bilbo voted against Harrison for Senate Majority leader and that was the deciding vote In 1935, Hugh L. White, a wealthy industrialist won the governorship. • White convinced Reliance Manufacturing Company to open a plant in Columbia which helped ease unemployment.
• • Hugh L. White hoped to attract industry to the state by advertising cheap labor and cheap land Local governments were given authority to issue bonds to construct factories that they could then lease to industry • • The plan worked but only attracted light industry that paid low wages. White also initiated the first long-range highway construction program. During his term, the state highway patrol was organized and the homestead exemption law was passed. In 1939, Bilbo ran for re-election against White running on a populist platform He won but racism ended any chance that populism would succeed in
• • Racism. . . Again Racism had not been a significant part of Bilbo’s politics until the beginning of the 1940’s In 1938, he introduced into the Senate the Greater Liberia bill, which provided federal government support for the migration of African Americans to Africa • • • He introduced it at the behest of Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa group and when they started demanding equal rights, Bilbo turned on them. Finally, Bilbo joined Harrison and the economic traditionalists in order to protect white supremacy Just like the 1890’s, appeals to white supremacy killed the populist reform movement
World War II
• December 7, 1941 Throughout history, certain dates have come to be seen as catalysts for dramatic change in the world. • • October 13 th is probably the date that touched the most lives in all of human history. . . June 6 th is another. . . August 6 th yet another. . . But few dates hold as much significance for the United States as December 7, 1941. Japan spent 300 years keeping their citizens in Japan and everyone else out. When the U. S. showed up in Japan on July 8, 1853 the Tokugawa Shogunate of Japan were surprised to discover that the rest of the world had evolved while they were still using swords and spears. Japan began a ridiculously rapid industrialization project over the next hundred years that forced them to acquire large amounts of natural resources.
• • • 400 Years in 4 Minutes Japan, being an island having virtually no natural resources to speak of for the purposes of industrialization had a very big problem. . . which, was not dissimilar to that of Great Britain (also an island) Unfortunately for the Japanese, the British, as well as most of western Europe, had spent the last 400 years sailing the oceans and creating colonies across the globe to satisfy their resource demands while the Japanese slept The United States was thrilled to sell the Japanese whatever resources they wanted to buy. Of course, why pay when you could just take over some colonies, like Europe had done for centuries and get them for free? So Japan invaded Manchuria and renamed it Manchuoku, invaded
Let’s Get Ready To Rumble • The United States did not like Japan’s aggression and with war breaking out in Europe also, the United States was determined to stay out of it all. • • The Congress passed laws to ensure the country’s neutrality, which they cleverly named the “Neutrality Acts”. These laws prevented the export of war materials to ANY country at war. That meant Japan was cut off from stuff like oil, rubber, steel, etc. Now Japan had less than a year of supplies left to wage war and became quite desperate. They transitioned from a Northern Strategy of domination to a southern strategy of utter domination in Asia. That bumped uglies with Europe and the U. S. in a very abrasive and offensive way. Knowing that this new strategy would likely mean war with. . . well. . . everyone. . . but especially the U. S. they decided to attack first and destroy the U. S. Navy presence in the Pacific in one major attack.
• Tora, Tora The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941 in an amazingly successful but unbelievably unfinished and ridiculously stupid surprise attack. • • The U. S. should have expected a surprise attack on their fleet because the Japanese did the same thing to Russia in 1904. Duh!! But we didn’t and the attack was successful. . . sort of. The Japanese devastated the Naval vessels present at Pearl Harbor and hit the airfields really hard. (The U. S. only got 2 planes in the air that day to shoot back BUT. . . They did not sink the U. S. Aircraft Carriers because they weren’t there. They also called off the third wave for fear and trepidation and did not destroy our oil reserves on the islands, which was the target of that 3 rd wave. OOPS! That was a crucial mistake!
The U. S. Goes to War
• • Mississippi in WWII The U. S. declared war on Japan, Germany declared war on the U. S. and it was on. The U. S. needed to build an army and train them: • • • There were military bases scattered around the state. Pascagoula, the home of Ingalls Shipyard, became a boom town. Biloxi and Hattiesburg expanded with the arrival of never-ending military personnel. The farm population decreased by 25% as people left the fields to join the cause The war doubled the state’s average income between 1941 -1945. 1 out of every 9 Mississippians served
Effects of WWII • • • Many Mississippians left their home county and state for the first time ever. They were shipped all over the world. Tremendous numbers of outsiders came to the state from all over the country and new ideas began to filter into the state African Americans, who supported FDR served as well and gained much experience in different fields and were exposed to ideas of equality that they had never known FDR ordered that no discrimination was to take place in war industries. Bilbo fought back and tried to block it along with the absentee ballot initiative that would give African Americans the right and ability to vote In 1944, Mississippi Democrats rebelled against FDR and tried to get the party to kick him off the ticket. WWII changed Ms forever and the first nail in the coffin of segregation had been struck
The Height of Hypocrisy • Camp Clinton. . . Go Figure!!
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