Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Title

C.C. Bryant: a Race Man Is What They Called Him

Date of Award

2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

M.A. in Southern Studies

First Advisor

Kathryn Mckee

Second Advisor

Ted Ownby

Abstract

Many historical contributions have been made to Civil Rights movement history in Mississippi. Thus far, historian John Dittmer's, Local People: the Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi has provided the most thorough account of lesser known movement activist. There still exists a need for scholarship from the perspective of community leaders. Curtis Conway Bryant, better known as C.C. Bryant served as the McComb Pike County chapter president of the NAACP from 1954 to 1984. During the summer of 1964, McComb was known as the bombing capital of the world. Throughout the nineteen fifties Bryant worked with national and local NAACP leadership to grow the McComb branch. Throughout the nineteen sixties, Bryant carried out the national directives of the NAACP by encouraging civic engagement through voter registration and education. In the nineteen seventies, Bryant was the principal litigant in the class action lawsuit, C.C. Bryant vs. Illinois Central Rail Road. Represented by the NAACP, this case struck down segregation in the workplace. In the nineteen eighties, and throughout his lifetime, Bryant fought to end poverty, stood up for equal access to education and advocated for workers' rights as a railroad union representative. Educated with only a high school diploma, Bryant influenced and mentored politicians, both black and white from McComb to Washington, D.C. Using, the power of narrative, this research provides: 1) insight into the formation of Bryant's identity through stories of his personal and family background; 2) a greater understanding of his leadership development and relationship with national civil rights organizations; 3) defines Bryant's role in addressing racial injustice in local and national civil rights movement history. Bryant's personal conviction, leadership development and affiliation with the National Association for the advancement of Colored People changed the course of Mississippi Civil Rights history. This research is will contribute to the growing scholarship of Mississippi Civil Rights history.

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