Cooperation and Conflict in the Civil Rights Movement
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party ( MFDP) continued its courageous effort to combat the entrenched Jim Crow laws that kept Blacks from voting. Despite increasingly violent reprisals, the MFDP succeeded in challenging the southern order through their alternative elections. With sixty-eight delegates and elected representatives, the challenge to the Democratic National Convention was well under way.
Upon their arrival in Atlantic City, the delegation was met by other Black civil rights leaders, including the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., Bayard Rustin, and Roy Wilkins, as well as longtime White activist attorney Joseph Rauh. Rauh worked out the likeliest strategies for their challenge to the seats held by White delegates elected under Jim Crow laws. At the same time, political tension over the challenge reached the White House.
President Johnson, who had been in office only a year, was determined to win the nomination. He was well aware that his commitment to civil rights had alienated many southern Democrats, and that he could ill afford having his name linked to the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party or their actions at the con-