386 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI PHOTOS COURTESY OF CHRIS JENKINS, MUW UNIVERSITY RELATIONS counties during the 1960s. The experience of one local leader in Columbus offers an instructive example of exactly how intimidation could work. In the early 1950s, Dr. Emmett J. Stringer, an African American dentist and veteran of WWII, moved to Columbus to open his practice. Once there, he quickly emerged as an important community leader and helped found the local NAACP, where he made obtaining the franchise a high priority. Thanks to his efforts, the Columbus branch was the largest chapter in the state in 1953 with 400 members, and Stringer was subsequently elected president of the NAACP state conference. His activism attracted unwanted attention from the newly formed Citizens’Councils, whose members used various forms of economic coercion to intimidate and silence him. Stringer found himself economically isolated in Columbus, and his wife lost her job as a teacher in the local public schools. Worse yet were the threatening letters and phone calls he received. Living in fear that his house might be bombed, or that he might be assassinated, Stringer stepped away from the NAACP state presidency when his term ended in 1954. Spurred on by the Citizens’Councils, whose members worked hard to silence activists such as Stringer, Sovereignty Commission investigators were appointed to assess the activities of “subversives” in the Clay Hills. These investigators reported that these counties were “relatively free of racial agitators” during the late 1950s and early 1960s. As they reported, few counties in the region had many registered African American voters, and in some,