Fannie Lou Hamer, a leader of the Freedom Democratic party, speaks before the credentials committee of the Democratic national convention in Atlantic City, N.J., on Aug. 22, 1964. AP hide caption

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Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group, launched a grass-roots effort to make the Deep South's culture more accepting of gays and lesbians. Brad Clark discusses the group's work in Mississippi. Rogelio V. Solis/AP hide caption

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Black demonstrators run down a Natchez, Miss., street in 1967 after a report that several white youths with a gun were near. The town's civil rights past informs author Greg Iles' crime fiction. AP hide caption

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A missing persons poster displays the photographs of civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Earl Chaney and Michael Henry Schwerner after they disappeared in Mississippi in June 1964. It was later discovered that they were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Bettmann/Corbis hide caption

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A new exhibit at the Mississippi state archives includes photographs, excerpts from journals and film clips documenting 1964's Freedom Summer. Debbie Elliott/NPR hide caption

itoggle caption Debbie Elliott/NPR

Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran, who is seeking his seventh term, is in a heated primary race with a Tea Party-backed challenger. Supporters of his opponent are accused of conspiring to photograph Cochran's bedridden wife. J. Scott Applewhite/AP hide caption

itoggle caption J. Scott Applewhite/AP