MSU history alumna Stephanie Rolph returns for book talk, signing

Contact: Heath Fisackerly

Stephanie Rolph (Photo submitted)

STARKVILLE, Miss.—Mississippi State welcomes alumna Stephanie R. Rolph for a discussion on her recently published book examining the history of the Citizens’ Council and the organization’s role in promoting white supremacy.

Hosted by MSU Libraries, Rolph’s public talk and signing of “Resisting Equality: The Citizens’ Council, 1954-1989” is set for Thursday [Sept. 20] at 2 p.m. in the third-floor John Grisham Room at Mitchell Memorial Library.

Rolph received her doctorate in history from MSU in 2009 with a focus on the American South. She now serves as an associate professor of history at Millsaps College.

Her book, published by LSU Press this year, digs into the history of the Citizens’ Council, committed to coordinating opposition to desegregation and black voting rights. The group was founded in Indianola two months after the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, and worked to silence white moderates and instill fear into minorities. Rolph examines the extent to which the Citizens’ Council survived the successes of the civil rights movement and found continued relevance even after the organization’s campaign to preserve state-sanctioned forms of white supremacy ended in defeat.

The book traces how the council expanded its agenda to other areas of the country and was active in politics until 1989. Rolph conducted most of her research using materials from MSU Libraries’ Special Collections.

Learn more about MSU Libraries and available resources at

MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at