This Day in History

May 27, 1954: “Black Monday” Speech Incites White Supremacy

Time Periods: Cold War: 1945 - 1960
Themes: Civil Rights Movements, Laws & Citizen Rights

On May 27, 1954, future Mississippi Supreme Court Justice Tom P. Brady (pronounced “BRAD-dee”) delivered a defiant speech called “Black Monday” in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision (delivered ten days earlier, on Monday, May 17), inspiring many white leaders to join the White Citizens’ Council.

The racist diatribe was first delivered as a speech to the Sons of the American Revolution, and later printed as a 92-page booklet that was distributed to white schoolchildren across Mississippi. The speech also fueled the fanaticism of Byron De La Beckwith, who sold Black Monday pamphlets outside the governor’s mansion and later murdered NAACP leader Medgar Evers.

Award winning journalist Jerry Mitchell wrote about Brady’s defiant speech in the Clarion LedgerHistory: Dred Scott freed, Mississippi sit-in attacked. You can also learn more about Black Monday and find excerpts from the book here.