Independent Lens: Spies of Mississippi

About This Episode

Journey into the world of informants, infiltrators, and agent provocateurs in the heart of Dixie. Spies of Mississippi tells the story of a secret spy agency formed by the state of Mississippi in the '50s and '60s to preserve segregation and maintain “the Mississippi way of life” white supremacy. Employing a network of investigators and informants, including African Americans, to help infiltrate some of the largest Black organizations like the NAACP and CORE, The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (MSSC) investigated, arrested and/or compelled testimony on over 87,000 Americans over the course of a decade.

The film reveals the full scope and impact of the Commission, including its links to private white supremacist organizations, its ties to investigative agencies in other states, and even its program to bankroll the opposition to civil rights legislation in Washington D.C. Weaving in footage of Ku Klux Klan rallies and government propaganda films alongside rare images and interviews from the period, Spies of Mississippi tracks the Commission’s hidden role in many of the most important chapters of the civil rights movement, including the assassination of Medgar Evers, and the KKK murders of three civil rights workers in 1964.