Buford Posey

In 1925, Buford Posey was born to well-to-do parents in Philadelphia, MS. A voracious reader as a child, Posey developed a political consciousness early and stood out from his more conservative friends and family members. In addition to speaking out against the racism and mistreatment of Black soldiers during his time in the U.S. Army, Posey, in 1946, became the first white person in Mississippi to join the NAACP. Having graduated from the University of Southern Mississippi with a degree in History, Posey later served in several U.S. government agencies and worked as an Ambassador at the United Nations.

An avid civil rights activist, Posey was a regular at Tennessee's Highlander Folk School, which trained activists in the arts of political organizing and nonviolent direct action. He also worked alongside Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and several other prominent activists of the era. Posey was one of the few white people who dared to submit a letter of recommendation on behalf of Clyde Kennard, who died as a result of being sent to prison for attempting to desegregate the University of Southern Mississippi. Posey also became the target of violent attacks after he informed the FBI that he knew that Sheriff Lawrence Rainey and other law enforcement officers had worked with the Klan to murder civil rights activists James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. The three became targets of the Klan after seeking to register Blacks to vote during Mississippi's 1964 Freedom Summer. State trials and history proved Posey's information correct and he remained a pariah among many conservatives in the state. At age 90, Posey died at his home in Hattiesburg in 2015.