Standing Firm in the Dixie: The Freedom Struggle in Laurel, Mississippi
by Derrion Arrington
Friday, April 5
5:30 pm



Nestled within the dense forests of the Piney Woods, the vibrant town of Laurel, Mississippi, stands out. Derrion Arrington examines the past social struggles regarding civil rights, worker rights, and white resistance. He follows how African Americans and whites in Laurel formed their own ways of organizing from the 1940s onwards. Laurel is recognized for both infamy and heroism, being the home of Klan zealot Sam Bowers and the valiant civil rights advocate, Benjamin Murph, of the Laurel-Jones County NAACP chapter. While the town fostered the notorious White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, it also thrived as a center for national civil rights organization’s efforts and as a hotbed for civil rights promotion. Through oral histories and archival research, Arrington links Laurel’s democratic struggles to the grander scale of the national civil rights quests. He argues that the movement was a tapestry of numerous individual local fights, each with its distinct mission and tactics. Arrington’s research pushes past established historical timeframes, showing that the fight for civil rights extended well into the modern era.



About the Author:
DERRION ARRINGTON is a Historian from Laurel, Mississippi who currently works at Hinds Community College. He graduated from Tougaloo College with a degree in History. His work can be found in publications such as the Mississippi Encyclopedia, Black Perspectives, and the Journal of African American History. He is also the founder of the Laurel Black History Project and co-founder of the Laurel-Jones County Black History Museum and Arts.
















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