Interview with Erle Johnston
QUESTION 49
INTERVIEWER:

OK, SO IF, JUST DESCRIBE, IF YOU WOULD—THE REACTION OF POOR WHITE MISSISSIPPIANS, TO THIS GROWING BLACK AWARENESS OF MISSISSIPPI IN THE EARLY 60S. I MEAN BLACKS ARE DEMONSTRATING, AND, AND TAKING PART IN VOTING REGISTRATION DRIVES FORMING THESE FREEDOM DEMOCRATIC PARTY. WHAT WAS THE REACTION OF PERHAPS THESE POORER ELEMENTS OF THE STATE?

Erle Johnston:

What you call the poor white element in the state, if they wanted to be heard or if they wanted to join, they had the avenues of membership in the Citizens' Council or the Americans for Preservation of the White Race or the Ku Klux Klan. The only organization that I can recall that a lot of the people belong to was the Mississippi Farm Bureau and I don't recall the farm bureau ever getting involved in this kind of a controversy. The Farm Bureau worked more for protection of farmers or crop supports or good markets, and things like that.