462 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI the methods of the Citizens Councils to the Ku Klux Klan. Economic pressure could be very effective, as white-owned banks controlled the mortgages and loans of African American households and white school boards could fire African American teachers. The Rust College administration intervened to hire African Americans fired for their “radicalism” and paid the fines of student activists. Embracing nonviolence and based, to large extent, in the independent African American churches, the mostly youthful volunteers operating out of Rust College employed a series of innovative tactics. The civil rights agencies initially concentrated on voting rights drives. Mississippi’s use of poll taxes and literacy tests had effectively disenfranchised African American citizens. Marshall County was 70 percent African American in 1960. Out of 3,214 registered voters, three were listed as “Colored.” In Panola County, one African American was on the voter roll an aged minister who first registered in 1892. Denied a role in the official elections, the alternative Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party both encouraged legal registration and enrolling in “mock elections.” In 1963, about 63,000 African Americans “registered” in these legally nonexistent “mock” elections. The campaign was very effective in demonstrating African Americans’burning desire to vote while recruiting new adherents. During the Mississippi “Freedom Summer” of 1964, teachers at Rust’s Asbury Chapel conducted classes in how to register and circumvent the reading tests. After the class, the volunteers were marched one mile to the court house to register. Thus, an effective network was already in place when the 1965 Voting Rights Act destroyed disenfranchisement. The number of African American voters skyrocketed: an alarmed Scarborough reported since 1965, Marshall county added 4,016 new African American voters with only 1,069 new white voters. The COFO “Freedom House” in Holly Springs reported that “Federal registrars began registering voters in De Soto county on Monday, November 8th [1965]. Within one week, 1,300 people have been registered- that’s more than we’ve been able to register over the entire summer.” Although it would take a few more years, by the late 1970’s and 1980’s, African American officials started to win elections. In 1989, Eddie Lee Smith Jr., a leader of the protests of the 1960’s, was elected the first African American mayor of Holly Springs. The activists also effectively employed marches, sit-ins and economic boycotts. In Holly Springs, white civic leaders feared that African American protestors would disrupt the year’s most popular event, the annual pilgrimage of historic homes. Rumors spread that Rust students would obstruct the parade route, but the fears turned out to be baseless. Activists organized a sit in at a Batesville café that refused service to African American patrons. The volunteers sat quietly in the white section of the café and politely asked to be served. The volunteers were arrested. In response, supporters picketed the courthouse and larger and larger crowds of both races gathered. The participants in the sit-ins were convicted, but the sentences were overturned on appeal. Six cases of refusal of service were sent to the Civil Rights Division (CRD) as violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In lieu of prosecuting, the CRD negotiated with the white owners who promised future compliance. In Holly Springs, the Marshall County Citizens for Progress (CFP) organized a yearlong boycott of the white businesses on the courthouse square. Among the demands was a good faith effort to integrate public facilities, especially the removal of the “White” and “Colored” signs in the Marshall County Courthouse. After no response, the CFP launched a protest march that started in front of Asbury Methodist Church with 500 people lined up behind the American flag. Throughout the lines there were signs explaining why the people were demonstrating (i.e., protesting police brutality in Selma and Mississippi, job discrimination, lack of Negroes on the school board, etc.). The march went around the county courthouse square and then the city hall with a bunch of reporters and police standing by. In retaliation, twenty-six white businessmen obtained a court injunction prohibiting any interference with customers by the CFP, effectively stopping the picketing of stores. Whites accused the CFP of intimidating African Americans into supporting the boycott. Despite their legal triumph, the stores on the square started to “voluntarily” remove the “Colored” and “White Only” signs from their windows. Over the years, grudging acquiescence of federal civil rights laws became acceptance as a new generation of Mississippians who grew up without separate facilities came of age with African American voting as a natural part of the political landscape. Over the years, grudging acquiescence of federal civil rights laws became acceptance as a new generation of Mississippians who grew up without separate facilities came of age with African American voting as a natural part of the political landscape.