JULY 14, 1948

The Democratic National Convention adopted a platform that called for a federal anti-lynching law, the abolition of poll taxes and the desegregation of armed forces. The vote came to the floor as a minority report of the Platform Committee, the spokesman for it being then-Minneapolis Mayor, Hubert Humphrey. 

The entire Mississippi delegation stormed out of the convention, and so did many other Southern Democrats, including a young Alabama representative named George Wallace. Three days later, the “Dixiecrats,” who wanted to preserve Jim Crow laws and white supremacy, held their own convention and nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond for president and Mississippi Gov. Fielding Wright for vice president. 

In the November election, the pair received more than 1.1 million popular votes and 39 electoral votes from Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina and Tennessee. Despite the split in the Democratic Party, President Harry Truman won the upset victory. 

Although the party welcomed the Dixiecrats back to the fold after the election, this rebellion signaled the fissures that would come in the 1960s, with many southern Democrats switching to the Republican Party.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.