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BY VARIOUS NAMES, this white supremacist organization persisted from the mid-1950s through the beginning of the 21st century. In the aftermath of the Brown decision of May 1954 (beginning desegregation in American schools), Robert B. Patterson of Indianola, Mississippi, formed the first Citizens' Council in Greenwood, Mississippi, on July 11, 1954. The council's primary goal was the preservation of segregation regardless of Brown. In 1956, Patterson wrote that to him integration was one with totalitarianism, communism, and darkness while segregation was American freedom of association, states' rights, and the survival of the white race. The councils were to be the more civilized alternative to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), what the journalist Hodding Carter referred to as the “uptown KKK.” The Mississippi legislature censured Carter ...

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