Scott – People/Persons

Johnston, Earl

Earl Johnston lived most of his life in Forest, MS, and became the editor of the Scott County Times newspaper, leaving his job at the Clarion Ledger. He became involved in politics and eventually became Ross Barnett’s campaign manager for his gubernatorial campaign. He served as the public relations director for the Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, where he worked to promote a more positive image of segregation in Mississippi. Eventually, he became the general director of the commission and attempted to lead it in a more moderate direction – promoting cooperating with black leaders and attempting to build up black-only facilities to make good the claim of “separate but equal”. He frequently negotiated directly with Medgar Evers and was able to successfully thwart a boycott lead by Evers against black-only schools. In 1981, he returned to politics as the mayor of Forest, MS.

Civil Rights in Mississippi Digital Archive