In 1964 the nation was faced with the civil rights movement. It captured the attention of Americans and showed signs of hope and progress. Mississippi Burning illustrates the civil rights battle that the nation was facing at this time. The film follows the story of Anderson and Ward, 2 FBI agents that are sent to Jessup County, Mississippi to investigate the disappearance of 3 civil rights workers. The movie portrays the pain and suffering of the blacks and the hatred and rage felt by the whites.
The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) portrayed during the events of Mississippi Burning, was a secret vigilante terrorist network. This particular KKK group employed tactics such as beating, hanging, and burning to instill fear into the black community. These tactics were supported from above and covertly used by members of the local government and sheriff's office, making it an obvious sign of early domestic terrorism.
The KKK in Jessup Mississippi in 1964 had such an affect on the community (both white and black), that residents were scared to speak with FBI agents during the initial bureau procedural investigation. The two lead investigators played by Hackman and Dafoe had to defer to less human tactics (but ethical in my opinion) in order to break the tightly maintained group apart. These tactics included kidnapping, assault, lying, and vandalism. These tactics, although not procedure, were defiantly required to get a break in the case and prevent additional innocent people from being injured or killed. Had these tactics not been deployed, there is no telling how long the KKK would have terrorized Jessup Mississippi, and may have even been able to corrupt additional southern governments.