Constitution of Mississippi
|Constitution of the State of Mississippi|
|Ratified||November 1, 1890|
|Author(s)||S.S. Calhoon (convention president)|
|Signatories||S.S. Calhoon (convention president)|
|Purpose||To replace the Mississippi state constitution of 1868.|
The Constitution of the State of Mississippi, also known as the Mississippi Constitution, is the governing document for the U.S. state of Mississippi. It describes and enumerates the structures and functions of the Mississippian state government and lists the rights and privileges that are held by the state's residents.
Throughout its existence as a U.S. state, Mississippi has had four constitutions. The first one was created in 1817, upon Mississippian statehood and used until 1832, when the second constitution was adopted. The third constitution, the first to be approved by the people of the state at large, was adopted in 1868, after the American Civil War, to bestow citizenship and civil rights upon newly-freed slaves. The third constitution lasted for 22 years, until 1890, when a constitutional convention composed mainly of white Democrats created and adopted the fourth and current constitution to specifically disenfranchise and marginalize the state's black population.
The fourth and current constitution, created in 1890 for the expressed purpose of discriminating against freed slaves and their descendants, was used by the state government, in conjunction with terrorist violence, to marginalize and prohibit black Mississippians from participating in the state's civil society for decades. The 1890 constitution effectively granted the Democrat-controlled Mississippian state government the free will to prevent them from voting and casting ballots, forcing them to attend separate schools, almost always of substandard quality, or to bear arms for self-defense. In the 1950s and 1960s, these discriminatory provisions were ruled by the United States Supreme Court to have violated the rights guaranteed to citizens under the tenets of the U.S. Constitution, and thus, they were repealed in the 1970s and 1980s by the state government.
The current state constitution has been amended and updated several times in the years since its original adoption in November 1890, with some sections being changed or repealed. The most recent modification to the state's constitution occurred in June 2013.
- 1 History
- 2 Contents
- 2.1 Preamble
- 2.2 Article 1: Distribution of Powers
- 2.3 Article 2: Boundaries of the State
- 2.4 Article 3: Bill of Rights
- 2.5 Article 4: Legislative Department
- 2.6 Article 5. Executive
- 2.7 Article 6. Judiciary
- 2.8 Article 7. Corporations
- 2.9 Article 8. Education
- 2.10 Article 9. Militia
- 2.11 Article 10. The Penitentiary and Prisons
- 2.12 Article 11. Levees
- 2.13 Article 12. Franchise
- 2.14 Article 13. Apportionment
- 2.15 Article 14. General Provisions
- 2.16 Article 15. Amendments to the Constitution
- 3 References
- 4 Bibliography
- 5 Further reading
- 6 External links
The 1817 constitution was the first constitution Mississippi has ever had as a U.S. state, having been created when the state joined the Union in 1817. It was replaced in 1832 by a new constitution, which was used until 1868.
The 1832 constitution was in effect until 1868, when it was replaced by a new constitution.
In use for 22 years, the 1868 constitution was the first in the history of the state to have been sent to the people at large for ratification, and was created by both black and white delegates. The 1868 constitution banned slavery, which had been legal under the two previous state constitutions, extended citizenship, the right of voting and bearing arms to black men, established public schools for all children in the state for the first time in its history, and protected the rights of property ownership for married women.
Democrats, who were vehemently opposed to any civil rights for black Mississippians, acquiesced to the 1868 constitution on the grounds that the U.S. Army's occupation of the state would end following a Democrat winning the U.S. presidency later in the year. However, this assumption proved inaccurate, as the Republican candidate, Ulysses S. Grant, won the presidential election of 1868.
When Mississippi was fully readmitted back into the United States in early 1870, it did so on the prerequisite, specified by the U.S. Congress, that the state not change or replace its constitution.
That 1868 constitution would be replaced by a new constitution in 1890 by a convention consisting mostly of white Democrats, effectively disenfranchising black voters in Mississippi for the next eight decades.
Adoption and ratification
Since the end of the American Civil War in 1865, Mississippian elections were wrought with violence and death, as terrorist organizations, such as the "Red Shirts", used armed force in order to prevent black voters and white voters opposed to the Democrats, from casting ballots. Many Republicans, black people, and their white allies, such as Print Matthews, were lynched and murdered by armed Democrats as a result.
In 1890, following years of terrorism and paramilitary violence at their behest, the Democrats had wrested control of Mississippi state's government to rid it of the Republican Party's influences. The state government, now controlled by the Democrats, immediately set upon plans to bring to end their terrorist violence, albeit by disenfranchising the state's black voting population. They set their sights on replacing the 1868 constitution of Mississippi, which legally guaranteed freedoms, citizenship, enfranchisement, and other human rights to black citizens.
The convention that created the 1890 constitution consisted overwhelmingly of white Democrats, who were determined to restrict and infringe upon the rights of black Mississippians. Marsh Cook, a white Republican from Jasper County who supported black voting, attempted to join the convention, despite receiving death threats for attempting to do so. For supporting the right of Mississippi's black citizens to vote in elections, Cook was lynched and killed on a remote rural road.
The only black member of the convention was a man from Mound Bayou named Isaiah Montgomery, whom white Democrats allowed into the convention because he was willing to support their plans of black disenfranchisement. Montgomery, who had been a former slave of Jefferson Davis' brother, delivered a speech in favor black disenfranchisement, to the approval of the Democrats, but much to the outrage of his black peers, who labelled him a "traitor" and likened him to Judas Iscariot.
According to the president of the convention that created the 1890 constitution, S.S. Calhoon, the 1890 constitution was created specifically to disenfranchise black voters, restrict their rights, and segregate them:
Judge J.B. Chrisman, a member of the Mississippian judiciary, remarked in salutatory praise of the 1890 constitution that:
My God! My God! Is there to be no higher ambition for the young white men of the south than that of keeping the Negro down?
— J.B. Chrisman, (emphasis added)
Originally containing 14 articles upon its adoption, the 1890 constitution was longer than the 1868 one it replaced, which only had 13 articles.
The portion of the 1890 constitution that would specifically allow the state to prevent black voters from casting ballots was Article 12's Section 244, which required that any potential voter describe, to a registrar, a "reasonable interpretation" of the state constitution. Although the wording of the constitution itself was not explicitly discriminatory, the intent of the 1890 constitution's framers was that a state registrar, who would be white and politically appointed by Democrats, would deny any potential black voter from being enrolled by rejecting their interpretation as erroneous, regardless of whether or not it actually was. The 1890 constitution also imposed a two dollar poll tax for male voters, to take effect after January 1, 1892.
After legal challenges to these laws survived judicial review, thanks to their race-neutral language, other southern U.S. states, such as South Carolina, and Oklahoma by 1907, emulated this method to disenfranchise their black voter base, known as "The Mississippi Plan", in which a law's seemingly un-discriminatory and vague wording would be applied in an arbitrary and discriminatory manner by the authorities charged with enforcing them.
Despite the 1890 constitution's seemingly un-discriminatory wording on the surface on the subject of voting, Mississippian governor James K. Vardaman, a staunch Democrat, boasted about its enabling of the state government to implement the disenfranchising of black voters. He stated that the 1890 constitution's framers had created the constitution precisely to diesenfranchise black voters, having desired to prevent black voters from casting ballots, not for any shortcomings they may or may not have had as voters, but for simply being black:
There is no use to equivocate or lie about the matter. ... Mississippi's constitutional convention of 1890 was held for no other purpose than to eliminate the nigger from politics. Not the 'ignorant and vicious', as some of the apologists would have you believe, but the nigger. ... Let the world know it just as it is.
In a veiled threat, Governor Vardaman went on to state that were the 1890 constitution fail in its intent to disenfranchise black voters, the state would utilize other methods to disenfranchise them:
Governor Vardaman, like most southern Democrats at the time, was an outspoken proponent of using lynchings as a method to marginalize black voters:
The Clarion-Ledger newspaper also delivered a justification and rationale for the 1890 constitution's disenfranchising of black voters, expressing the white supremacist view that the framers of the 1890 constitution held, that even the most ignorant and uneducated white voter was preferable to the most well-educated and intelligent black voter:
After World War I, Sidney D. Redmond, a black lawyer from Jackson and the chairman of the Mississippian Republican Party, attempted to investigate the disenfranchising of black voters in Mississippi. He wrote letters of inquiry to several Mississippian counties, which went unanswered. He then inquired via telephone, and many of the counties responded to his inquiries by telling him that they did not "allow niggers to register" to vote.
Several decades later, the U.S. Supreme Court would declare that methods employed to disenfranchise black voters and prevent them from voting were violations of the United States Constitution. As a result, Section 244 was repealed on December 8, 1975, 85 years after it was created.
In addition to disenfranchising black voters, the 1890 constitutional convention placed into the state constitution, for the first time, the ability of the state government to explicitly restrict the right of people to bear arms across the state. It did this in Article 3's Section 12, by shifting the right of bearing arms from the broad definition of "all persons" to the more restrictive term of "citizen" only, who were intended to be limited to white men by the 1890 constitution's framers, and by granting to the state government the power to enact laws restricting the carrying of concealed weapons by the state's residents, a newly-enumerated power it did not have under the state's three previous constitutions.
During the 1890s and well into the 1900s, there was a growing trend among the governments of southern U.S. states, controlled by Democrats, in implementing stricter and more stringent regulations restrictions on the right of firearms ownership in order to prevent black people from being able to bear arms for the purpose of defending themselves against the ever-growing threat of lynchings, terrorism, and extrajudicial paramilitary violence. As with the sections of the 1890 constitution that disenfranchised black voters, the laws regarding weapons ownership used ostensibly non-discriminatory wording, but were enforced by the state government in an arbitrarily discriminatory manner, as in many southern U.S. states at the time.
Regarding the right to bear arms, the 1890 constitution was a departure from the the spirit of the 1868 constitution, and indeed, from the 1817 and 1832 ones as well, all of which granted the people, rather than citizens, of the state the right to bear arms for self-defense and did not explicitly grant the state government the power to regulate said ownership. The 1890 law's wording further restricted the right to bear arms to the male "citizen", rather than the 1868 constitution's general-neutral "all persons".
The differences between the 1868 and 1890 constitutions regarding the right of the state's people to bear arms are as follows:
All persons shall have a right to keep and bear arms for their defence.
— Section 15, Article 1, Mississippi Constitution of 1868, (emphasis added)
The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons.
— Section 12, Article 3, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, (emphasis added)
Unlike other sections of the 1890 constitution that would later be repealed or modified by the state, such as the sections regarding marriages, education, and prisons, Article 3's Section 12 has remained unchanged, with the wording being exactly the same as it was in 1890, as Article 15's Section 273 prohibit the modification or repeal any of the sections contained in Article 3. To do so, an entirely new constitution would have to be created and adopted by the state.
Unlike the 1868 constitution, which contained no such restriction or prohibition, the 1890 constitution criminalized the marriage of a "white person" to a "negro", "mulatto", or any person who had "one-eighth or more of negro blood" and mandated that the state refuse to recognize such marriages:
The marriage of a white person with a negro or mulatto, or person who shall have one-eighth or more of negro blood, shall be unlawful and void.
— Section 263, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, (November 1, 1890)
In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Loving v. Virginia that laws such as the Mississippian constitution's Section 263 violated the United States Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment. Thus, the law became legally unenforceable after 1967. However, it took until December 4, 1987, 20 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional, for the section to be formally repealed from the state's constitution.
Unlike the 1868 constitution, which did not grant the state the power to do so, the 1890 constitution explicitly granted to the state government, in Section 225, the power to separate "white" and "black" convicts "as far as practicable":
... It may provide for the commutation of the sentence of convicts for good behavior, and for the constant separation of the sexes, and for the separation of the white and black convicts as far as practicable, and for religious worship for the convicts.
— Section 225, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, (emphasis added)
The wording granting the state the power to implement the "separation of the white and black convicts as far as practicable" would later be repealed, although the section prescribing the "constant separation of the sexes" is still in effect.
Unlike the 1868 constitution, which contained no such requirement, the 1890 constitution mandated, in Section 207, that "children of the white and colored races" attend separate schools:
Separate schools shall be maintained for children of the white and colored races.
— Section 207, Mississippi Constitution of 1890, (November 1, 1890)
In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that laws such as Section 207 violated the United States Constitution, and as such, the law became legally unenforceable. However, it took until December 22, 1978 for the section to be formally repealed from the state's constitution, 24 years after the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court that deemed it illegal.
The 1890 constitution is still in effect today, although many of its original tenets and sections were modified or repealed in the 20th century, several in response to U.S. Supreme Court rulings that declared said sections to have violated the tenets of the United States Constitution.
In the decades since its adoption, several Mississippian governors have advocated replacing the constitution, however, after heated debates in the legislature in the 1930s and 1950s, such attempts to replace the constitution proved unsuccessful.
Mississippian politician Gilbert E. Carmichael, a Republican, has opined on moral and economic grounds that Mississippi adopt a new state constitution to replace the 1890 one, stating that it was detrimental to the success of business and commerce, and represented an age of bigotry and hatred.
The organization of the Mississippi Constitution is laid out in a Preamble and 15 Articles. Each Article is subdivided into Sections. However, the Section numbering does not restart between Articles; Sections 1 and 2 are in Article 1 while Article 2 began with Section 3 (since repealed). As such, newly added Sections are given alpha characters after the number (such as Section 26A in Article 3)
"We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and involving his blessing on our work, do ordain and establish this Constitution."
Article 1: Distribution of Powers
Article 1 defines the separation of powers into legislative, executive, and judicial.
Article 2: Boundaries of the State
Article 2 formerly defined the state boundaries; after the 1990 repeal of section 3, the legislature holds the power to define the state boundaries.
Article 3: Bill of Rights
Most of the rights defined in Article 3 are identical to the rights to those that are found in the United States Bill of Rights.
Unique additions to the 1890 Mississippian constitution include Section 7 (denying the state the ability to secede from the United States), Section 12 (explicitly permitting regulation of concealed carry weapons) and Sections 26, 26A, and 29 (on conditions for grand jury and bail necessitated by the War on Drugs).
Section 12 allows for the ownership of weapons by the state's residents, however, the state government is given the power to regulate and abridge the carrying of concealed weapons. This differs from the 1868 constitution, which did not explicitly grant the state the power to restrict that right. The section states:
The right of every citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall not be called in question, but the legislature may regulate or forbid carrying concealed weapons.
Section 15, carried over verbatim from the 1868 constitution, forbids slavery or involuntary servitude within the state, except when done as a punishment for a crime:
There shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in this state, otherwise than in the punishment of crime, whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.—Section 15
Section 18 discusses freedom of religion. It prohibits religious tests as a qualification for officeholders. It also contains a unique clause which states that this right shall not be construed as to exclude the use of the "Holy Bible" from any public school:
No religious test as a qualification for office shall be required; and no preference shall be given by law to any religious sect or mode of worship; but the free enjoyment of all religious sentiments and the different modes of worship shall be held sacred. The rights hereby secured shall not be construed to justify acts of licentiousness injurious to morals or dangerous to the peace and safety of the state, or to exclude the Holy Bible from use in any public school of this state.
Section 19 originally banned duelling:
- Human life shall not be imperiled by the practice of dueling; and any citizen of this state who shall hereafter fight a duel, or assist in the same as second, or send, accept, or knowingly carry a challenge therefor, whether such an act be done in the state, or out of it, or who shall go out of the state to fight a duel, or to assist in the same as second, or to send, accept, or carry a challenge, shall be disqualified from holding any office under this Constitution, and shall be disenfranchised.
The repeal of Section 19 was proposed by Laws of 1977, and upon ratification by the electorate on November 7, 1978, was deleted from the Constitution by proclamation of the Secretary of State on December 22, 1978.
Article 4: Legislative Department
Sections 33-39 define the state Senate and House of Representatives while Sections 40-53 define qualifications and impeachment procedures.
An extensive portion of the article (Sections 54-77) is devoted to the rules of procedure in the legislature, particularly in regards to appropriations bills.
Sections 78-86 list a series of laws that the Mississippi Legislature is required to pass, while Sections 87-90 list requirements and prohibitions involving local and special laws. Sections 91-100 list additional laws which the Legislature may not pass (Section 98, which prohibited lotteries, was repealed in 1992).
Section 101 defines Jackson, Mississippi as the state capital and states that it may not be moved absent voter approval.
Sections 102-115 contain a series of miscellaneous provisions, including a unique section (106) dealing with the State Librarian. Section 105 was repealed in 1978.
Article 5. Executive
Sections 116-127 and 140-141 deal with the office of the Governor of Mississippi. Section 141 states that, if no candidate receives a majority of the popular vote, then the Mississippi House of Representatives shall choose the Governor from the two candidates with the most votes. This Section came into play only one time in the state's history; in the 1999 gubernatorial election Ronnie Musgrove had the most votes, but not the majority needed to win the election outright; the House selected Musgrove.
Sections 128-132 deal with the office of the Lieutenant Governor of Mississippi, while Section 133 deals with the Secretary of State, Section 134 with the State Treasurer and Auditor of Public Accounts. Section 143 states that all state officers shall be elected at the same time and in the same manner as the Governor.
Sections 135-139 deal with county and municipal officers (Section 137 was repealed in 1990).
Section 142 states that, if the House of Representatives chooses the Governor under the provisions of Section 141, then no member of the House is eligible for state appointment.
Article 6. Judiciary
Section 144 states that the judicial power of the State is vested in the Mississippi Supreme Court and in such other courts as provided for in the Constitution.
Sections 145-150 (and Section 151 until its repeal in 1914) discuss the number, qualifications, and terms of the Supreme Court's judges (as they are called). Each judge serves an elected eight-year term (Section 149). In an odd series of provisions, Section 145 states that the number of Supreme Court judges shall be three with two forming a quorum, amended by Section 145A which states that it shall be six ("that is to say, of three judges in addition to the three provided for by Section 145 of this Constitution") with four forming a quorum, then further amended by Section 145B which states that it shall be nine ("that is to say, of three judges in addition to the six provided for by Section 145-A of this Constitution") with five forming a quorum.
Sections 152-164 discuss the establishment, qualifications, and terms of the circuit and chancery court judges. All such judges serve elected four-year terms (Section 153).
Section 166 places a prohibition against reducing the salary of any judge during his/her term in office.
Section 167 states that all civil officers are conservators of the peace.
Section 168 discusses the role of the court clerks.
Section 169 discusses how all processes are to be styled, that prosecutions are to be carried on in the name and by the authority of the "State of Mississippi", and requires that any indictment be concluded with the phrase "against the peace and dignity of the state."
Section 170 states that each county shall be divided into five districts, with a "resident freeholder" of each district to be elected, and the five to constitute the "Board of Supervisors" for the county. Section 176 further enforces the requirement that a Supervisor be a property owner in the district to which s/he is elected. (A 1990 proposed amendment to these sections was rejected.) It is not known whether the provisions are enforceable.
Section 171 allows for creation of justice courts and constables in each county, with a minimum of two justice court judges in each county. All judges and constables serve elected four-year terms.
Section 172 allows the Mississippi Legislature to create and abolish other inferior courts.
Section 172A contains a prohibition against any court requiring the state or any political subdivision (or any official thereof) to levy or increase taxes.
Section 173 discusses the election of the Mississippi Attorney General while Section 174 discusses the elections of the district attorneys for each circuit court. All such officials serve elected four-year terms.
Section 175 allows for the removal of public officials for willful neglect of duty or misdemeanor, while Section 177 allows for the Governor to fill judicial vacancies in office subject to Senate approval.
Section 177A creates a commission on judicial performance, which has the power to recommend removal of any judge below the Supreme Court (however, only the Supreme Court can order such removal), and also has the power to remove a Supreme Court judge upon 2/3 vote.
Article 7. Corporations
Sections 178-183 and 190-200 deal generally with corporations and related tax issues. Section 183 prohibits any county, town, city, or municipal corporation from owning stock or loaning money to corporations.
Sections 184-188, 193, and 195 deal with railroads (Sections 187, 196, and 197 also dealt with railroads and similar companies, but were later repealed).
Section 198A, added in 1960, declares Mississippi to be a right-to-work state (though several other states have similar provisions, this is one of only five such provisions included in a state Constitution).
Article 8. Education
Sections 201-212 discuss the State Board of Education, the State and county school board superintendents, and generally the establishment and maintenance of free public schools, including those for disabled students. Sections 205 and 207, as well as later-added 213B, were later repealed. The latter required schools to be racially segregated, but was repealed on December 22, 1978, 24 years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled such laws to violate the U.S. Constitution.
Sections 213 and 213A discuss higher education.
Article 9. Militia
Sections 214-222 discuss the Mississippi National Guard.
Article 10. The Penitentiary and Prisons
Sections 224 and 225 allow the State to require convicts to perform labor, either in state industries or by working on public roads or levees (but not to private contractors). Section 225 also granted the state the power to separate "white" and "black" convicts, however this power was later repealed. Section 226 prohibits convicts in county jails from being hired outside the county.
Section 223 was repealed in 1990.
Article 11. Levees
Sections 227-239 generally discuss the creation of levee districts within the State. The text discuss the two levee districts which were created prior to the adoption of the current Constitution – the district for the Mississippi River and the district for the Yazoo River.
Article 12. Franchise
Sections 240-253 discuss matters related to voting.
Sections 241A, 243, and 244 were later repealed; all three were designed in some part to disenfranchise minority voting (241A required that a person be "of good moral character", 243 instituted a poll tax, and 244 instituted a literacy test).
Article 13. Apportionment
This article consists of a single section (254) which states how the State will be apportioned into State Senatorial and State Representative districts after every Federal census, and that the State Senate shall consist of no more than 52 Senators and the State House shall consist of no more than 122 Representatives.
Sections 255 and 256 were later repealed.
Article 14. General Provisions
Sections 257 through 272A contain miscellaneous other provisions not related to other Articles.
Section 263, made illegal the marriage of a "white person" to a "negro" or "mulatto". It was ruled to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1967 and was formally repealed in December 1987.
Section 265 prohibits any person who "denies the existence of a Supreme Being" from holding state office. This requirement, as well as similar provisions in several other state constitutions, violates the First Amendment prohibition on establishment of religion, as well as the prohibition on any kind of religious test located in Article 6 of the federal constitution.
Sections 269, 270, and 272 were repealed.
Article 15. Amendments to the Constitution
For Legislature-proposed amendments, 2/3 of each house must approve plus a majority of the voters.
The number of signatures required for an initiative-proposed amendment must be at least 12 percent of the total votes cast for Governor of Mississippi in the most recent gubernatorial election. However, a further restriction is placed in that no more than 20 percent of the signatures can come from any one congressional district. As Mississippi has only four districts, a strict interpretation of this section makes it impossible to propose an amendment via initiative.
The Article excludes certain portions of the Constitution that can be amended by initiative; for example, any of the sections in Article 3 (Bill of Rights) are off-limits.
The Article also discusses the procedures in the event that a Legislature-proposed amendment is similar to that of an initiative-proposed amendment.
Sections 274 through 285 contain transitional provisions.
Previously the Article contained Sections 286 and 287 which were classified as "ADDITIONAL SECTIONS OF THE CONSTITUTION OF MISSISSIPPI NOT BEING AMENDMENTS OF PREVIOUS SECTIONS"; these were later renumbered as 145A and 149A and placed under the article related to the judiciary.
- McMillen 1990, pp. 41-44.
- Diner 1998, p. 127.
- Skates, John Ray (September 2000). "The Mississippi Constitution of 1868". Mississippi: Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved November 20, 2009.
- Public Broadcasting Service (September 2008). "People & Events: James K. Vardaman". American Experience (Corporation for Public Broadcasting). Retrieved September 21, 2008.
If it is necessary every Negro in the state will be lynched; it will be done to maintain white supremacy.
- Tahmassebi 1991, p. 67.
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- McMillen 1990, p. 41.
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- McMillen 1990, p. 44.
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- Tahmassebi, Stefan B. (1991). Abdo, Gina, ed. "Gun Control and Racism". George Mason University Civil Rights Law Journal. CRLJ Association. Retrieved July 8, 2001.
- McMillen, Neil R. (September 1, 1990). Dark Journey: Black Mississippians in the Age of Jim Crow (Illini Books ed.). Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. ISBN 978-0252061561. Retrieved August 2, 2015.
- Skates, John Ray (August 2000). "Constitutions of Mississippi". Mississippi: Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
- Sims, Wilhelmina (June 6, 2002). "They Shoot Blacks, Don't They?". BuzzFlash. Retrieved June 14, 2002.
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- Full text of the current Mississippi Constitution (HTML)
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- 1868 constitution of Mississippi
- Full text of the originally-adopted Mississippi Constitution as of November 1, 1890 (HTML)
- Full text of the originally-adopted Mississippi Constitution as of November 1, 1890 at Google Books