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  • See how a secret Mississippi spy agency sought to preserve segregation during the Civil Rights era.

    See how a secret Mississippi spy agency sought to preserve segregation during the Civil Rights era.

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  • Some of the black civil rights leaders became suspicious when white agents started showing up at their meetings.

    Some of the black civil rights leaders became suspicious when white agents started showing up at their meetings.

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  • There were some activists who gave up on the movement and ended up on the “other side."

    There were some activists who gave up on the movement and ended up on the “other side."

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  • Civil rights activists from Ohio prepared themselves “to be beaten, to be put in jail, and to be killed.”

    Civil rights activists from Ohio prepared themselves “to be beaten, to be put in jail, and to be killed.”

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  • Still from Spies of Mississippi

    Still from Spies of Mississippi

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  • Medgar Evers surrounded by police

    Medgar Evers surrounded by police

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  • Interracial meeting

    Interracial meeting

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  • MLK holding missing pic

    MLK holding missing pic

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  • Bob Moses talks to reporters

    Bob Moses talks to reporters

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  • Marchers with info on picture

    Marchers with info on picture

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  • People with numbers

    People with numbers

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  • Medgar Evers surrounded by police

    Medgar Evers surrounded by police

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  • Lawrence Guyot snapshots

    Lawrence Guyot snapshots

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The Film

Spies of Mississippi tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi to preserve segregation during the 1950s and ‘60s. The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission evolved from a predominantly public relations agency to a full-fledged spy operation, spying on over 87,000 Americans over the course of a decade. The Commission employed a network of investigators and informants, including African Americans, to help infiltrate some of the largest Black organizations — NAACP, CORE, and SNCC. They were granted broad powers to investigate private citizens and organizations, keep secret files, make arrests and compel testimony.

The film reveals the full scope and impact of the Commission, including its links to private White supremacist organizations, its ties to investigative agencies in other states, and even a program to bankroll the opposition to civil rights legislation in Washington D.C. Spies of Mississippi tracks the Commission’s hidden role in many of the most important chapters of the civil rights movement, including the integration of the University of Mississippi, the trial of Medgar Evers, and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964.

The Filmmakers

  1. Dawn PorterProducer/Director
  2. Risa MorimotoProducer
  3. Summer DamonProducer