The Sovereignty Commission was concerned with the attitudes of public school teachers in Mississippi. Did teachers approve of integration of the public schools? Did they plan to encourage Negro parents to enroll their children in white schools?
The commission requested from Superintendents of Education in various Mississippi counties to give them a list of all school teachers employed through the county boards. The commission, also, requested that the Superintendents determine if all their teachers had signed the Employee Statement Under Subversive Activities Act of 1950, and that those statements were notarized.
The Act of 1950 was a result of the McCarthy Era, when fear of communist influence on American institutions was at its height during the 1940s thru late 1950s.
"The Act defines a subversive organization as an entity that engages in or teaches about subversive activities. The Communist Party is declared such an organization. A subversive person is defined as one who commits, aids in the commission of, or advises or teaches another to commit a subversive activity."Civil Rights organizations and individuals who fought against racial segregation were label by the commission as subversive and communist influenced. Teachers could be terminated if it was determined they supported the integration of public schools. For my counties of interest, I did not see any documents that a teacher had been terminated because of activities in the Civil Rights Movement.
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