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State of Mississippi
Flag of Mississippi State seal of Mississippi
Flag Seal
Nickname(s): The Magnolia State; The Hospitality State
Motto(s): Virtute et armis
before statehood, known as
the Mississippi Territory
Map of the United States with Mississippi highlighted
Official language(s) English
Demonym Mississippian
Capital Jackson
Largest city Jackson
Area  Ranked 32nd in the US
 - Total 48,430 sq mi
(125,443 km2)
 - Width 170 miles (275 km)
 - Length 340 miles (545 km)
 - % water 3%
 - Latitude 30° 12′ N to 35° N
 - Longitude 88° 06′ W to 91° 39′ W
Population  Ranked 31st in the US
 - Total 2,938,618 (Jul 1, 2008 est.)[1]
 - Density 60.7/sq mi  (23.42/km2)
Ranked 32nd in the US
 - Median income  $36,338[2] (51st)
Elevation  
 - Highest point Woodall Mountain[3]
806 ft  (246 m)
 - Mean 300 ft  (91 m)
 - Lowest point Gulf of Mexico[3]
0 ft  (0 m)
Admission to Union  December 10, 1817 (20th)
Governor Haley Barbour (R)
Lieutenant Governor Phil Bryant (R)
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R)
Roger Wicker (R)
U.S. House delegation 3 Democrats, 1 Republican (list)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations MS Miss. US-MS
Website http://www.mississippi.gov

Mississippi (Listeni /ˌmɪsɪˈsɪpi/) is a state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The state's name comes from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, and takes its name from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi ("Great River"). The state is heavily forested outside of the Mississippi Delta area. Its catfish aquaculture farms produce the majority of farm-raised catfish consumed in the United States.[4] The state symbol is the magnolia tree.

Contents

Geography

Mississippi is bordered on the north by Tennessee, on the east by Alabama, on the south by Louisiana and a narrow coast on the Gulf of Mexico and on the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and Arkansas.

Major rivers in Mississippi, apart from its namesake, include the Big Black River, the Pearl River, the Yazoo, the Pascagoula, and the Tombigbee. Major lakes include Ross Barnett Reservoir, Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake and Grenada Lake.

Mississippi State Map

The state of Mississippi is entirely composed of lowlands, the highest point being Woodall Mountain, in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, 806 feet (246 m) above sea level. The lowest point is sea level at the Gulf coast. The mean elevation in the state is 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.

Most of Mississippi is part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The Coastal Plain is generally composed of low hills, such as the Pine Hills in the south and the North Central Hills. The Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills in the northeast have somewhat higher elevations. Yellow-brown loess soil is found in the western parts of the state. The northeast is a region of fertile black earth that extends into the Alabama Black Belt.

The coastline includes large bays at Bay St. Louis, Biloxi and Pascagoula. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico proper by the shallow Mississippi Sound, which is partially sheltered by Petit Bois Island, Horn Island, East and West Ship Islands, Deer Island, Round Island and Cat Island.

The northwest remainder of the state consists of the Mississippi Delta, a section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The plain is narrow in the south and widens north of Vicksburg. The region has rich soil, partly made up of silt which had been regularly deposited by the floodwaters of the Mississippi River.

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:[5]

Major cities and towns

Map with all counties and many cities and towns labeled.

Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 50,000 (United States Census Bureau estimates as of 2008):[6]

  1. Jackson (173,861)
  2. Gulfport (70,055)
  3. Hattiesburg (51,993)

Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 20,000 but fewer than 50,000 (United States Census Bureau estimates as of 2008):[6]

  1. Biloxi (45,670)
  2. Southaven (44,076)
  3. Meridian (38,232)
  4. Tupelo (36,233)
  5. Greenville (35,764)

  1. Olive Branch (31,830)
  2. Clinton (26,313)
  3. Vicksburg (24,974)
  4. Horn Lake (24,669)
  5. Pearl (24,400)

  1. Starkville (24,187)
  2. Columbus (23,798)
  3. Pascagoula (23,609)
  4. Brandon (22,160)
  5. Ridgeland (21,509)

Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 10,000 but fewer than 20,000 (United States Census Bureau estimates as of 2008):[6]

  1. Laurel (18,693)
  2. Clarksdale (18,006)
  3. Madison (17,681)
  4. Oxford (17,265)
  5. Ocean Springs (17,149)
  6. Natchez (16,413)
  7. Gautier (16,306)
  8. Greenwood (16,084)

  1. Grenada (14,664)
  2. Corinth (14,253)
  3. Moss Point (13,951)
  4. McComb (13,684)
  5. Brookhaven (13,296)
  6. Canton (12,520)
  7. Hernando (12,318)
  8. Long Beach (12,234)

  1. Cleveland (12,218)
  2. Picayune (11,787)
  3. Yazoo City (11,425)
  4. West Point (11,292)
  5. Indianola (10,805)
  6. Petal (10,575)

(See: Lists of cities, towns and villages, census-designated places, metropolitan areas, micropolitan areas, and counties in Mississippi)

Climate

Mississippi has a humid subtropical climate with long summers and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about 85°F (about 28°C) in July and about 48 °F (about 9 °C) in January. The temperature varies little statewide in the summer, but in winter the region near Mississippi Sound is significantly warmer than the inland portion of the state. The recorded temperature in Mississippi has ranged from -19 °F (-28.3 °C), in 1966, at Corinth in the northeast, to 115 °F (46.1 °C), in 1930, at Holly Springs in the north. Yearly precipitation generally increases from north to south, with the regions closer to the Gulf being the most humid. Thus, Clarksdale, in the northwest, gets about 50 inches (about 1,270 mm) of precipitation annually and Biloxi, in the south, about 61 inches (about 1,550 mm). Small amounts of snow fall in northern and central Mississippi, although snow is not unheard of around the southern part of the state.

The late summer and fall is the seasonal period of risk for hurricanes moving inland from the Gulf of Mexico, especially in the southern part of the state. Hurricane Camille in 1969 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which killed 238 people in the state, are the most devastating hurricanes to hit the state, both causing nearly total storm surge damage around Gulfport, Biloxi and Pascagoula. As in the rest of the Deep South, thunderstorms are common in Mississippi, especially in the southern part of the state. On average, Mississippi has around 27 tornadoes annually; the northern part of the state has more tornadoes earlier in the year and the southern part a higher frequency later in the year. Two of the five deadliest tornadoes in US history have occurred in the state. These storms struck Natchez, in southwest Mississippi (see The Great Natchez Tornado) and Tupelo, in the northeast corner of the state. About five F5 tornadoes have been recorded in the state, the last one being in 1971.

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures (°F) For Various Mississippi Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Gulfport 61/43 64/46 70/52 77/59 84/66 89/72 91/74 91/74 87/70 79/60 70/51 63/45
Jackson 55/35 60/38 68/45 75/52 82/61 89/68 91/71 91/70 86/65 77/52 66/43 58/37
Meridian 58/35 63/38 70/44 77/50 84/60 90/67 93/70 93/70 88/64 78/51 68/43 60/37
Tupelo 50/30 56/34 65/41 74/48 81/58 88/66 91/70 91/68 85/62 75/49 63/40 54/33
[3]

Ecology

Mississippi state welcome sign

Mississippi is heavily forested, with over half of the state's area covered by wild trees; mostly pine, as well as cottonwood, elm, hickory, oak, pecan, sweetgum and tupelo.

Ecological problems

Flooding

Due to seasonal flooding possible from December to June, the Mississippi River created a fertile floodplain in the Mississippi Delta, including tributaries. Early planters used slaves to build levees along the Mississippi River to divert flooding. They built on top of the natural levees that formed from dirt deposited after the river flooded. As cultivation of cotton increased in the Delta, planters hired Irish laborers to ditch and drain their land.

The state took over levee building from 1858 to 1861, accomplishing it through contractors and hired labor. In those years, planters considered their slaves too valuable to hire out for such dangerous work. Contractors hired gangs of Irish immigrant laborers to build levees and sometimes clear land. Many of the Irish were relatively recent immigrants from the famine years, and struggling to get established.[7] Before the American Civil War, the earthwork levees averaged six feet in height, although in some areas they reached twenty feet.

Flooding has been an integral part of Mississippi history. It took a toll during the years after the Civil War. Major floods swept down the valley in 1865, 1867, 1874 and 1882. Such floods regularly overwhelmed levees damaged by Confederate and Union fighting during the war, as well as those constructed after the war.[8]

In 1877, the Mississippi Levee District was created for southern counties. In 1879, the United States Congress created the Mississippi River Commission, whose responsibilities included aiding state levee boards in the construction of levees. Both white and black transient workers built the levees in the late 19th century. By 1882, levees averaged seven feet in height, but many in the southern Delta were severely tested by the flood that year.[8]

After the flood, the levee system was expanded. In 1884, the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District was established to oversee levee construction and maintenance in the northern Delta counties; also included were some counties in Arkansas.[9]

Flooding overwhelmed northwestern Mississippi in 1912–1913, causing heavy damage to the levee districts. Regional losses and the Mississippi River Levee Association's lobbying for a flood control bill helped gain passage of national bills in 1917 and 1923 to provide Federal matching funds for local levee districts, on a scale of 2:1. Although US participation in World War I interrupted funding of levees, the second round of funding helped raise the average height of levees in the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta to 22 feet (6.7 m) in the 1920s.[10]

Nonetheless, the region was again flooded. Property, stock and crops all experiencing millions of dollars in damages due to the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. The most damage was in the lower Delta, including Washington and Bolivar counties.[11]

Even as scientific knowledge about the Mississippi River has grown, upstream development and the levees themselves have caused more severe flooding in some years. In addition, the levees are now seen to have changed the nature of the river, removing the natural protection of wetlands and forest cover. The state and federal governments have been struggling for the best approaches to restoring some natural habitats in order to best interact with the original riverine ecology.

Litter

In 2008, The American State Litter Scorecard, presented at the American Society for Public Administration national conference, ranked Mississippi "worst" of the 50 United States for removing litter from statewide public roadways and properties.[12]

History

Mississippi State Symbols
Flag of Mississippi.svg
The Flag of Mississippi.

Mississippistateseal.jpg
The Seal of Mississippi.

Animate insignia
Bird(s) Mockingbird (1944)
Wood Duck (1974)
Butterfly Spicebush Swallowtail (1991)
Fish Largemouth bass (1974)
Flower(s) Magnolia (1952)
Coreopsis (Tickseed) (1991)
Insect Honey bee (1980)
Mammal(s) White-tailed deer (1974)
Red Fox (1997)
Bottlenose dolphin (1974)
Reptile American Alligator (2005)
Tree Magnolia (1938)

Inanimate insignia
Beverage Milk (1984)
Dance American folk dance (1995)
Fossil Prehistoric whale (1981)
Rock Petrified wood (1976)
Shell Oyster (1974)
Slogan(s) Virtute et armis
Soil Natchez silt loam (2003)
Song(s) "Go, Mississippi" (1962)
Toy Teddy bear (2003)
Other Grand Opera House of Meridian (1993)
Tupelo Auto Museum (1972)
Mississippi Industrial Heritage Museum (1972)

Route marker(s)
Mississippi Route Marker

State Quarter
Quarter of Mississippi
Released in 2002

Lists of United States state insignia

Nearly 10,000 B.C.Native Americans or Paleo-Indians arrived in what today is referred to as the South.[13] Paleoindians in the South were hunter-gatherers who pursued the megafauna that became extinct following the end of the Pleistocene age. After thousands of years, the Paleoindians developed a rich and complex agricultural society. Archaeologists called these people the Mississippians of the Mississippian culture; they were Mound Builders, whose large earthworks related to political and religious rituals still stand throughout the Mississippi and Ohio valleys. Descendant Native American tribes include the Chickasaw and Choctaw. Other tribes who inhabited the territory of Mississippi (and whose names were honored in local towns) include the Natchez, the Yazoo and the Biloxi.

The first major European expedition into the territory that became Mississippi was that of Hernando de Soto, who passed through in 1540. The French, in April 1699, established the first European settlement at Fort Maurepas (also known as Old Biloxi), built at Ocean Springs and settled by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville. In 1716, the French founded Natchez on the Mississippi River (as Fort Rosalie); it became the dominant town and trading post of the area. The French called the greater territory "New Louisiana".

Through the next decades, the area was ruled by Spanish, British and French colonial governments. Under French and Spanish rule, there developed a class of free people of color (gens de couleur libres), mostly descendants of European men and enslaved women, and their multiracial children. In the early days the French and Spanish colonists were chiefly men. Even as more European women joined the settlements, there continued to be interracial unions. Often the European men would help their children get educated, and sometimes settled property on them, as well as freeing slave children and their mothers. The free people of color became educated and formed a third class between the Europeans and enslaved Africans in the French and Spanish settlements, although not so large a community as in New Orleans. After Great Britain's victory in the French and Indian War (Seven Years' War), the French deeded the Mississippi area to them under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763).

After the American Revolution, this area became part of the new United States of America. The Mississippi Territory was organized on April 7, 1798, from territory ceded by Georgia and South Carolina. It was later twice expanded to include disputed territory claimed by both the United States and Spain. From 1800 to about 1830, the United States purchased some lands (Treaty of Doak's Stand) from Native American tribes for new settlements of Americans.[citation needed]

On December 10, 1817, Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union.

When cotton was king during the 1850s, Mississippi plantation owners—especially those of the Delta and Black Belt regions—became wealthy due to the high fertility of the soil, the high price of cotton on the international market, and their assets in slaves. The planters' dependence on hundreds of thousands of slaves for labor and the severe wealth imbalances among whites, played strong roles both in state politics and in planters' support for secession. By 1860, the enslaved population numbered 436,631 or 55% of the state's total of 791,305. There were fewer than 1000 free people of color.[14] The relatively low population of the state before the Civil War reflected the fact that land and villages were developed only along the riverfronts, which formed the main transportation corridors. Ninety percent of the Delta bottomlands were frontier and undeveloped.[15] The state needed many more settlers for development.

On January 9, 1861, Mississippi became the second state to declare its secession from the Union, and it was one of the founding members of the Confederate States of America.

During Reconstruction, the first constitutional convention in 1868 framed a constitution whose major elements would last for 22 years. The convention was the first political organization to include freedmen representatives, 17 among the 100 members. Although 32 counties had black majorities, they elected whites as well as blacks to represent them. The convention adopted universal suffrage; did away with property qualifications for suffrage or for office, which also benefited poor whites; provided for the state's first public school system; forbade race distinctions in the possession and inheritance of property; and prohibited limiting civil rights in travel.[16] Under the terms of Reconstruction, Mississippi was restored to the Union on February 23, 1870.

While Mississippi typified the Deep South in passing Jim Crow laws in the early 20th century, its history was more complex. Because the Mississippi Delta contained so much fertile bottomland which had not been developed before the Civil War, 90 percent of the land was still frontier. After the Civil War, tens of thousands of migrants were attracted to the area. They could earn money by clearing the land and selling timber, and eventually advance to ownership. The new farmers included freedmen, who achieved unusually high rates of land ownership in the Mississippi bottomlands. In the 1870s and 1880s, many black farmers succeeded in gaining land ownership.[15]

By the turn of the century, two-thirds of the farmers in Mississippi who owned land in the Delta were African-American. Many were able to keep going through difficult years of falling cotton prices only by extending their debts. Cotton prices fell throughout the decades following the Civil War. As another agricultural depression lowered cotton prices into the 1890s, however, numerous African-American farmers finally had to sell their land to pay off debts, thus losing the land into which they had developed.[15]

White legislators created a new constitution in 1890, with provisions that effectively disfranchised most blacks and many poor whites. Estimates are that 100,000 black and 50,000 white men were removed from voter registration rolls over the next few years.[17] The loss of political influence contributed to the difficulties of African Americans in their attempts to obtain extended credit. Together with Jim Crow laws, increased frequency of lynchings beginning in the 1890s, failure of the cotton crops due to boll weevil infestation, successive severe flooding in 1912 and 1913 created crisis conditions for many African Americans. With control of the ballot box and more access to credit, white planters expanded their ownership of Delta bottomlands and could take advantage of new railroads.

By 1910, a majority of black farmers in the Delta had lost their land and were sharecroppers. By 1920, the third generation after freedom, most African Americans in Mississippi were landless laborers again facing poverty.[15] Starting about 1913, tens of thousands of black Americans left Mississippi for the North in the Great Migration to industrial cities such as St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia and New York. They sought jobs, better education for their children, the right to vote, relative freedom from discrimination, and better living. In the migration of 1910–1940, they left a society that had been steadily closing off opportunity. Most migrants from Mississippi took trains directly north to Chicago and often settled near former neighbors.

The Second Great Migration from the South started in the 1940s, lasting until 1970. Almost half a million people left Mississippi in the second migration, three-quarters of them black. Nationwide during the first half of the 20th century, African Americans became rapidly urbanized and many worked in industrial jobs. The Second Great Migration included destinations in the West, especially California, where the buildup of the defense industry offered high-paying jobs to African Americans.

Mississippi generated rich, quintessentially American music traditions: gospel music, country music, jazz, blues and rock and roll. All were invented, promulgated or heavily developed by Mississippi musicians and most came from the Mississippi Delta. Many musicians carried their music north to Chicago, where they made it the heart of that city's jazz and blues.

Mississippi was a center of activity to educate and register voters during the Civil Rights Movement. Although 42% of the state's population was African American in 1960, discriminatory voter registration processes still prevented most of them from voting, consequent to provisions of the state constitution, which had been in place since 1890.[18] Students and community organizers from across the country came to help register voters and establish Freedom Schools. Resistance and harsh attitudes of most white politicians (including the creation of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission), the participation of many Mississippians in the White Citizens' Councils, and the violent tactics of the Ku Klux Klan and its sympathizers, gained Mississippi a reputation in the 1960s as a reactionary state.[19][20]

In 1966, the state was the last to officially repeal statewide prohibition of alcohol. Prior to that, Mississippi had taxed the illegal alcohol brought in by bootleggers. Repeal occurred after then Governor Paul Johnson urged repeal and the sheriff "raided the annual Junior League Mardi Gras ball at the Jackson Country Club, breaking open the liquor cabinet and carting off the Champagne before a startled crowd of nobility and high-ranking state officials."[21]

The state repealed its segregationist era poll tax in 1989 and its ban on interracial marriage (miscegenation) in 1987. In 1995, it symbolically ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which had abolished slavery. In 2009, the legislature passed a bill to repeal other discriminatory civil rights laws that had been enacted in 1964 but ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by federal courts. Republican Governor Haley Barbour signed the bill into law.[22]

On August 17, 1969, Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage (1969 dollars). On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, though a Category 3 storm upon final landfall, caused even greater destruction across the entire 90 miles (145 km) of Mississippi Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama.

Demographics

As of 2008, Mississippi has an estimated population of 2,938,618[1]. Mississippi's population has the largest proportion of African Americans of any U.S. state, currently nearly 37%.[citation needed]

The 2000 Census reported Mississippi's population as 2,844,658.[23] The center of population of Mississippi is located in Leake County, in the town of Lena.[24]

Ethnic makeup and ancestry

Historical populations
Census Pop.  %±
1800 7,600
1810 31,306 311.9%
1820 75,448 141.0%
1830 136,621 81.1%
1840 375,651 175.0%
1850 606,526 61.5%
1860 791,305 30.5%
1870 827,922 4.6%
1880 1,131,597 36.7%
1890 1,289,600 14.0%
1900 1,551,270 20.3%
1910 1,797,114 15.8%
1920 1,790,618 −0.4%
1930 2,009,821 12.2%
1940 2,183,796 8.7%
1950 2,178,914 −0.2%
1960 2,178,141 0%
1970 2,216,912 1.8%
1980 2,520,638 13.7%
1990 2,573,216 2.1%
2000 2,844,658 10.5%
Est. 2008 2,938,618 3.3%
Mississippi population density map

The Census Bureau considers race and Hispanic ethnicity to be two separate categories. These data, however, are only for non-Hispanic members of each group: non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, etc. For more information on race and the Census, see here.

Demographics of Mississippi (csv)
By race White Black AIAN* Asian NHPI*
2000 (total population) 62.37% 36.66% 0.69% 0.82% 0.07%
2000 (Hispanic only) 1.12% 0.24% 0.04% 0.03% 0.01%
2005 (total population) 61.72% 37.24% 0.72% 0.91% 0.07%
2005 (Hispanic only) 1.50% 0.21% 0.04% 0.03% 0.01%
Growth 2000–05 (total population) 1.62% 4.33% 7.13% 13.67% 2.89%
Growth 2000–05 (non-Hispanic only) 0.96% 4.43% 7.21% 14.21% 6.30%
Growth 2000–05 (Hispanic only) 37.78% -11.11% 5.70% -1.51% -13.43%
* AIAN is American Indian or Alaskan Native; NHPI is Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander

On September 27, 1830, the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek was signed between the U.S. Government and Native American Choctaws. The Choctaws agreed to selling their traditional homelands in Mississippi and Alabama with just compensation, which opened it up for European-American immigrant settlement. Article 14 in the treaty allowed the Choctaws to remain in the state of Mississippi and to become the first major non-European ethnic group to become U.S. citizens.[25][26] Today approximately 9,500 Choctaws live in Neshoba, Newton, Leake, and Jones counties. Federally recognized tribes include the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians.

Until the 1930s, African Americans made up a majority of Mississippians. Due to the Great Migration, when more than 360,000 African Americans left the state during the 1940s and after to leave segregation and disfranchisement, and for better economic opportunities in the northern and western states, Mississippi's African-American population declined.

The state has the highest proportion of African Americans in the nation. Recently, the African-American percentage of population has begun to increase due mainly to a higher birth rate than the state average. Due to patterns of settlement, in many of Mississippi's public school districts, a majority of students are of African descent.[27] African Americans are the majority ethnic group in the northwestern Yazoo Delta and the southwestern and the central parts of the state, chiefly areas where the group owned land as farmers or worked on cotton plantations and farms.[citation needed]

According to the 2000 census, the largest ancestries are:

People of French Creole ancestry form the largest demographic group in Hancock County on the Gulf Coast. The African-American; Choctaw, mostly in Neshoba County; and Chinese-American segments of the population are almost entirely native born.

Although some ethnic Chinese were recruited as indentured laborers from Cuba during the 1870s and later 19th c., the majority immigrated directly from China to Mississippi between 1910–1930. They were recruited as laborers. While planters first made arrangements with the Chinese for sharecropping, most Chinese soon left that work. Many became small merchants and especially grocers in towns throughout the Delta.[28]

Religion

Under French and Spanish rule beginning in the 1600s, the few Europeans in what is now Mississippi were Roman Catholics. The flush times after 1815 brought in tens of thousands of settlers a year; few were Catholic. Thanks to immigration and revivals there was rapid growth in Protestant churches, especially Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist.[29] In 2000 the Southern Baptist Convention was the largest religious denomination in the state with 916,440 adherents, followed by the United Methodist Church with 240,576 and the Roman Catholic Church with 115,760.[30]

The revivals initially attracted the "plain folk" by reaching out to all members of society, including women and African Americans.

In the post-war years religion became even more influential as the South became known as the "Bible Belt". By 1900 many ministers, especially in the towns subscribed to the Social Gospel movement, which attempted to apply Christian ethics to social and economic needs of the day. Prohibition, especially, was the favorite weapon to attack sin.[31]

African-American Baptist churches grew to include more than twice the number of members as white Baptist churches. The African-American call for social equality resonated throughout the Great Depression in the 1930s and World War II in the 1940s. The American Civil Rights Movement had many roots in religion; both sides cited religious reasons for their viewpoints. The end of racial segregation led to the reintegration of some churches, but most still today remain all black or all white.[32] Since the 1970s, fundamentalist conservative churches have grown rapidly, fueling Mississippi's conservative political trends.[29]

Other religions have a small presence in Mississippi By 2000 there were 3900 black Muslims, 1400 Jews and 811 Bahá'í.[30]

Same-sex couples

The 2000 United States census counted 4,774 same-sex unmarried-partner households in Mississippi.[33][34] Of these, 2,521 are male partner households and 2,523 are female partner households. 41% contained at least one child. South Dakota and Utah were the only other states in which 40 percent or more of same-sex couple households had at least one child living in the household.[34] Mississippi has the largest percentage of African-American same-sex couples among total households. The state capital, Jackson, ranks tenth in the nation in concentration of African-American same-sex couples. The state ranks fifth in the nation in the percentage of Hispanic same-sex couples among all Hispanic households and ninth in the highest concentration of same-sex couples who are seniors.[35]

Health and public safety

The state is ranked 50th or last place among all the states for health care, according to the Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit foundation working to advance performance of the health care system.[36] For three years in a row, more than 30 percent of Mississippi's residents have been classified as obese. In a 2006 study, 22.8 percent of the state's children were classified as obese. Mississippi had the highest rate of obesity of any U.S. state from 2005–2008 and also ranks first in the nation for high blood pressure, diabetes, and adult inactivity.[37][38] In a 2008 study of African American women, contributing risk factors were shown to be: lack of knowledge about body mass index (BMI), dietary behavior, physical activity and lack of social support, defined as motivation and encouragement by friends.[39] A 2002 report on African American adolescents noted a 1999 survey which suggests that a third of children were obese, with higher ratios for those in the Delta.[40]

The study stressed that "obesity starts in early childhood extending into the adolescent years and then possibly into adulthood". It noted impediments to needed behavioral modification included the Delta likely being "the most underserved region in the state" with African Americans the major ethnic group; lack of accessibility and availability of medical care; and an estimated 60% of residents living below the poverty level.[40] Additional risk factors were that most schools had no physical education curriculum and nutrition education is not emphasized. Previous intervention strategies may have been largely ineffective due to not being culturally sensitive or practical.[40] A 2006 survey found nearly 95 percent of Mississippi adults considered childhood obesity to be a serious problem.[41]

Economy

A Mississippi U.S. quarter

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Mississippi's total state product in 2006 was $84 billion. Per capita personal income in 2006 was $26,908, the lowest per capita personal income of any state, but the state also has the nation's lowest living costs. Although the state has one of the lowest per capita income rates in the United States, Mississippians consistently rank as one of the highest per capita in charitable contributions.[42] A 2009 report by the American Legislative Exchange Council ranked Mississippi as having the nineteenth best economic outlook of all U.S. states.[43]

Before the Civil War, Mississippi was the fifth-wealthiest state in the nation, wealth generated by cotton plantations along the rivers.[44] Slaves were then counted as property and the rise in the cotton markets since the 1840s had increased their value. A majority – 55 percent – of the population of Mississippi was enslaved in 1860.[45] Ninety percent of the Delta bottomlands were undeveloped and the state had low population overall.

Largely due to the domination of the plantation economy, focused on the production of agricultural cotton, the state was slow to use its wealth to invest in infrastructure such as public schools, roads and railroads. Industrialization did not come in many areas until the late 20th century. The planter aristocracy, the elite of antebellum Mississippi, kept the tax structure low for themselves and made private improvements. Before the war the most successful planters, such as Confederate President Jefferson Davis, owned riverside properties along the Mississippi River. Most of the state was undeveloped frontier away from the riverfronts.

During the Civil War, 30,000 mostly white Mississippi men died from wounds and disease, and many more were left crippled and wounded. Changes to the labor structure and an agricultural depression throughout the South caused severe losses in wealth. In 1860 assessed valuation of property in Mississippi had been more than $500 million, of which $218 million (43 percent) was estimated as the value of slaves. By 1870, total assets had decreased in value to roughly $177 million.[46]

Poor whites and landless former slaves suffered the most from the postwar economic depression. The constitutional convention of early 1868 appointed a committee to recommend what was needed for relief of the state and its citizens. The committee found severe destitution among the laboring classes.[47] It took years for the state to rebuild levees damaged in battles. The upset of the commodity system impoverished the state after the war. By 1868 an increased cotton crop began to show possibilities for free labor in the state, but the crop of 565,000 bales produced in 1870 was still less than half of prewar figures.[48]

Blacks sold timber and developed bottomland to achieve ownership. In 1900, two-thirds of farm owners in Mississippi were blacks, a major achievement for them and their families. Due to the poor economy, low cotton prices and difficulty of getting credit, many of these farmers could not make it through the extended financial difficulties. Two decades later, the majority of African Americans were sharecroppers. The low prices of cotton into the 1890s meant that more than a generation of African Americans lost the result of their labor when they had to sell their farms to pay off accumulated debts.[49]

Mississippi's rank as one of the poorest states is related to its dependence on cotton agriculture before and after the Civil War, late development of its frontier bottomlands in the Mississippi Delta, repeated natural disasters of flooding in the late 19th and early 20th century requiring massive capital investment in levees, heavy capital investment to ditch and drain the bottomlands, and slow development of railroads to link bottomland towns and river cities.[50] In addition, when conservative white Democrats regained control, they passed the 1890 constitution that discouraged industry, a legacy that would slow the state's progress for years.[51]

Democratic Party paramilitary militias and groups such as the Red Shirts and White Camellia terrorized African American Republicans and suppressed voting. The Democrats regained political control of the state in 1877. The legislature passed statutes to establish segregation and a new constitution that effectively disfranchised most blacks, Native Americans and many poor whites by changes to electoral and voter registration rules.[52] The state refused for years to build human capital by fully educating all its citizens. In addition, the reliance on agriculture grew increasingly costly as the state suffered loss of crops due to the devastation of the boll weevil in the early 20th century, devastating floods in 1912–1913 and 1927, collapse of cotton prices after 1920, and drought in 1930.[50]

It was not until 1884, after the flood of 1882, that the state created the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta District Levee Board and started successfully achieving longer term plans for levees in the upper Delta.[9] Despite the state's building and reinforcing levees for years, the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 broke through and caused massive flooding of 27,000 square miles (70,000 km2) throughout the Delta, homelessness for hundreds of thousands, and millions of dollars in property damages. With the Depression coming so soon after the flood, the state suffered badly during those years. In the Great Migration, tens of thousands of African Americans migrated North and West for jobs and chances to live as full citizens.

The legislature's 1990 decision to legalize casino gambling along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast has led to economic gains for the state. Gambling towns in Mississippi include the Gulf Coast resort towns of Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and Biloxi, and the Mississippi River towns of Tunica (the third largest gaming area in the United States), Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez. Before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Mississippi was the second largest gambling state in the Union, after Nevada and ahead of New Jersey.[citation needed] An estimated $500,000 per day in tax revenue was lost following Hurricane Katrina's severe damage to several coastal casinos in August 2005.[citation needed] In 2007, Mississippi had the third largest gambling revenue of any state, behind New Jersey and Nevada.[53] Federally recognized Native American tribes have established gaming casinos on their reservations, which are yielding revenue to support education and economic development.[citation needed]

On October 17, 2005, Governor Haley Barbour signed a bill into law that allows casinos in Hancock and Harrison counties to rebuild on land (but within 800 feet (240 m) of the water). The only exception is in Harrison County, where the new law states that casinos can be built to the southern boundary of U.S. Route 90.[citation needed]

Mississippi collects personal income tax in three tax brackets, ranging from 3% to 5%. The retail sales tax rate in Mississippi is 7%. Additional local sales taxes also are collected. For purposes of assessment for ad valorem taxes, taxable property is divided into five classes.[citation needed]

On August 30, 2007, a report by the United States Census Bureau indicated that Mississippi was the poorest state in the country. Many cotton farmers in the Delta have large, mechanized plantations, some of which receive extensive Federal subsidies, yet many other residents still live as poor, rural, landless laborers. Of $1.2 billion from 2002–2005 in Federal subsidies to farmers in the Bolivar County area of the Delta, 5% went to small farmers. There has been little money apportioned for rural development. Small towns are struggling. More than 100,000 people have left the region in search of work elsewhere.[54] The state had a median household income of $34,473.[55]

Federal subsidies and spending

Despite Mississippi's fiscal conservatism in which Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, and other social programs are often cut, eliminated, have tightened eligibility requirements, and strict employment criteria, Mississippi ranks as having the 2nd highest ratio of any state receiving federal aid. Per dollar of federal tax collected in 2005, Mississippi citizens received approximately $2.02 in the way of federal spending. This ranks the state 2nd highest nationally, and represents a increase from 1995, when Mississippi received $1.54 per dollar of taxes in federal spending and was 3rd highest nationally.[56]

Law and government

As with all other U.S. states and the federal government, Mississippi's government is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial power. Executive authority in the state rests with the Governor, currently Haley Barbour (R). The Lieutenant Governor, currently Phil Bryant (R), is elected on a separate ballot. Both the governor and lieutenant governor are elected to four-year terms of office. Unlike the federal government, but like many other U.S. States, most of the heads of major executive departments are elected by the citizens of Mississippi rather than appointed by the governor.

Mississippi is one of five states that elects its state officials in odd-numbered years (The others are Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey and Virginia). Mississippi holds elections for these offices every four years in the years preceding Presidential election years. Thus, the last year when Mississippi elected a Governor was 2007, and the next gubernatorial election will occur in 2011.

Laws

In 2004, Mississippi voters approved a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage and prohibiting Mississippi from recognizing same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. The amendment passed 86% to 14%, the largest margin in any state.[57][58]

Transportation

The current state license plate design, introduced in October 2007.

Road

Mississippi is served by eight interstate highways:

and fourteen main U.S. Routes:

as well as a system of State Highways.

For more information, visit the Mississippi Department of Transportation website.

Rail

Passenger

Amtrak provides scheduled passenger service along two routes, the Crescent and City of New Orleans.

Freight

All but one of the United States Class I railroads serve Mississippi (the sole exception is the Union Pacific):

Water

Major rivers

Major lakes

  • Arkabutla Lake – 19,550 acres (79.1 km2) of water; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[59]
  • Grenada Lake – 35,000 acres (140 km2) of water; became operational in 1954; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[60]
  • Ross Barnett Reservoir – Named for Ross Barnett, the 52nd Governor of Mississippi; 33,000 acres (130 km2) of water; became operational in 1966; constructed and managed by The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, a state agency; Provides water supply for the City of Jackson.
  • Sardis Lake – 98,520 acres (398.7 km2) of water; became operational in October 1940; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[61]

Education

Until the Civil War era, Mississippi had a small number of schools and no educational institutions for black people. The first school for black people was established in 1862.

During Reconstruction in 1870, black and white Republicans were the first to establish a system of public education in the state. The state's dependence on agriculture and resistance to taxation limited the funds it had available to spend on any schools. As late as the early 20th century, there were few schools in rural areas. With seed money from the Julius Rosenwald Fund, many rural black communities across Mississippi raised matching funds and contributed public funds to build new schools for their children. Essentially, many black adults taxed themselves twice and made significant sacrifices to raise money for the education of children in their communities.[62]

Blacks and whites attended separate public schools in Mississippi until the 1960s, when they began to be integrated following the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional.

In the late 1980s, the state had 954 public elementary and secondary schools, with a total yearly enrollment of about 369,500 elementary pupils and about 132,500 secondary students. Some 45,700 students attended private schools. In 2008, Mississippi was ranked last among the fifty states in academic achievement by the American Legislative Exchange Council's Report Card on Education, with the lowest average ACT scores and sixth lowest spending per pupil in the nation. In contrast, Mississippi had the 17th highest average SAT scores in the nation. According to the report, 92% of Mississippi high school graduates took the ACT and 3% took the SAT, in comparison to the national averages of 43% and 45%, respectively.

In 2007, Mississippi students scored the lowest of any state on the National Assessments of Educational Progress in both math and science.[63]

(see: List of colleges and universities in Mississippi)

Culture

While Mississippi has been especially known for its music and literature, it has embraced other forms of art. Its strong religious traditions have inspired striking works by outsider artists who have been shown nationally.

Jackson established the USA International Ballet Competition, which is held every four years. This ballet competition attracts the most talented young dancers from around the world.[64]

The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, still held annually in Starkville, is the first and oldest in the state.

Music

Musicians of the state's Delta region were historically significant to the development of the blues. Their laments arose out of the region's hard times after Reconstruction.[citation needed] Although by the end of the 19th century, two-thirds of the farm owners were black, continued low prices for cotton and national financial pressures resulted in most of them losing their land. More problems built up with the boll weevil infestation, when thousands of agricultural jobs were lost. Many Mississippi musicians migrated to Chicago and created new forms of jazz and other genres there.[citation needed]

Jimmie Rodgers, a native of Meridian and white guitarist/singer/songwriter known as the "Father of Country Music", played a significant role in the development of the blues. He and Chester Arthur Burnett were friends and admirers of each other's music. Rodgers was supposed to have given Burnett his nickname of Howlin' Wolf. Their friendship and respect is an important example of Mississippi's musical legacy. While the state has had a reputation for being the most racist in America, individual musicians created an integrated music community. Mississippi musicians created new forms by combining and creating variations on musical traditions from Africa with the musical traditions of white Southerners, a tradition largely rooted in Scots–Irish music.

The state is creating a Mississippi Blues Trail, with dedicated markers explaining historic sites significant to the history of blues music, such as Clarksdale's Riverside Hotel, where Bessie Smith died after her auto accident on Highway 61. The Riverside Hotel is just one of many historical blues sites in Clarksdale. The Delta Blues Museum there is visited by tourists from all over the world. Close by are "Ground Zero" and "Madidi", a contemporary blues club and restaurant co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman.

Mississippians have contributed to American music. Elvis Presley, who created a sensation in the 1950s as a crossover artist and contributed to rock 'n' roll, was a native of Tupelo. From opera star Leontyne Price to the alternative rock band 3 Doors Down, to gulf and western singer Jimmy Buffett, to rappers David Banner and Afroman, Mississippi musicians have been significant in all genres.

(see: List of people from Mississippi)

Sports

Notable natives

Mississippi has produced a number of notable and famous individuals, especially in the realm of music and literature. Among the most notable are:

Popular culture

Children in the United States and Canada often count "One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi" during informal games such as hide and seek to approximate counting by seconds.

In 1891, the Biedenharn Candy Company bottled the first Coca-Cola in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Root beer was invented in Biloxi in 1898 by Edward Adolf Barq, the namesake of Barq's Root Beer.

The Teddy bear gets its name from President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. On a 1902 hunting trip to Sharkey County, Mississippi, he ordered the mercy killing of a wounded bear.[65]

In 1935, the world's first night rodeo held outdoors under electric lights was produced by Earl Bascom and Weldon Bascom in Columbia, Marion County, Mississippi

In 1936, Dr. Leslie Rush, of Rush Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi performed the first bone pinning in the United States. The "Rush Pin" is still in use.

Burnita Shelton Matthews from near Hazlehurst, Mississippi was the first woman appointed as a judge of a U.S. district court. She was appointed by Harry S. Truman on October 21, 1949.

Marilyn Monroe won the Miss Mississippi finals in the 1952 movie We're Not Married.

Texas Rose Bascom, of Columbia, Mississippi, became the most famous female trick roper in the world, performing on stage and in Hollywood movies. She toured the world with Bob Hope, billed as the "Queen of the Trick Ropers," and was the first Mississippian to be inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame.

In 1963, Dr. James D. Hardy of the University of Mississippi Medical Center performed the first human lung transplant in Jackson, Mississippi. In 1964, Dr. Hardy performed the first heart transplant, transplanting the heart of a chimpanzee into a human, where it beat for 90 minutes.

"At 10:00 a.m. on October 22, 1964, the United States government detonated an underground nuclear device in Lamar County, in south Mississippi. (...) The Project Salmon blast was about one-third as powerful as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. (...) The Project Sterling blast, on December 3, 1966, was considerably weaker than the blast two years earlier, as it was intended to be." [66]

Several warships have been named USS Mississippi.

The comic book character Rogue, from the well-known series X-Men, is a Mississippian and self-declared southern belle. Her home town is located in the fictional county of Caldecott.

For the past seven years, the Sundancer Solar Race Team from Houston, MS, has won first place in the Open Division of the Dell-Winston School Solar Car Challenge.[67]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b http://www.census.gov/popest/states/NST-ann-est.html 2008 Population Estimates
  2. ^ "Median household income in the past 12 months (in 2007 inflation-adjusted dollars)". American Community Survey. United States Census Bureau. 2007. http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/GRTTable?_bm=y&-_box_head_nbr=R1901&-ds_name=ACS_2007_1YR_G00_&-_lang=en&-format=US-30&-CONTEXT=grt. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  3. ^ a b "Elevations and Distances in the United States". U.S Geological Survey. 29 April 2005. http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/elvadist/elvadist.html#Highest. Retrieved November 6, 2006. 
  4. ^ "Aquaculture: Catfish", Mississippi State University
  5. ^ "Mississippi". National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/state/ms. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  6. ^ a b c U.S. Census Bureau, accessed 2 July 2009
  7. ^ David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class.New York: Verso, 1999, p.146
  8. ^ a b John Otto Solomon,The Final Frontiers, 1880–1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999, pp.10-11
  9. ^ a b The New York Times, The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board: Physical development of a levee system, accessed 11/13/2007
  10. ^ John Otto Solomon,The Final Frontiers, 1880–1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999, p.50
  11. ^ John Otto Solomon,The Final Frontiers, 1880–1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999, p.70
  12. ^ http://www.aspanet.org S.Spacek, American State Litter Scorecard, 2008 ASPA Conference, Dallas.
  13. ^ Prentice, Guy (2003). "Pushmataha, Choctaw Indian Chief". Southeast Chronicles. http://www.nps.gov/history/seac/SoutheastChronicles/NISI/NISI%20Cultural%20Overview.htm. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  14. ^ http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/php/state.php Historical Census Browser
  15. ^ a b c d John C. Willis, Forgotten Time: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta after the Civil War. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000
  16. ^ W.E.B. DuBois,Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1935; reprint New York: The Free Press, 1998, p.437
  17. ^ Stephen Edward Cresswell, Rednecks, Redeemers and Race: Mississippi after Reconstruction, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006, p.124
  18. ^ Historical Census Browser, 1960 US Census, University of Virginia, accessed 13 Mar 2008
  19. ^ Joseph Crespino, "Mississippi as Metaphor: State, Region and Nation in Historical Imagination", Southern Spaces, 23 Oct 1996, accessed 15 Mar 2008
  20. ^ Michael Schenkler, "Memories of Queens College and an American Tragedy", Queens Press, 18 Oct 2002, accessed 15 Mar 2008
  21. ^ Mississippi: Bourbon Borealis. Time Magazine. Friday, Feb. 11, 1966.
  22. ^ The Clarion-Ledger: Segregationist Mississippi laws repealed
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ "Population and Population Centers by State - 2000". United States Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/geo/www/cenpop/statecenters.txt. Retrieved 2008-12-05. 
  25. ^ Kappler, Charles (1904). "Indian Affairs: Laws and Treaties Vol. II, Treaties". Government Printing Office. http://digital.library.okstate.edu/kappler/Vol2/treaties/cho0310.htm#mn15. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  26. ^ 87, David (1973). "The Choctaws Meet the Americans, 1783 to 1843". The Choctaw People. United States: Indian Tribal Series. p. 36. Library of Congress 73-80708. 
  27. ^ [2]
  28. ^ Vivian Wu Wong, "Somewhere between White and Black: The Chinese in Mississippi", Magazine of History, v10, n4, pp33–36, Summer 1996, accessed 11/15/2007
  29. ^ a b Mississippi History Now - Religion in Mississippi
  30. ^ a b Mississippi Denominational Groups, 2000
  31. ^ Randy J. Sparks, Religion in Mississippi (2001) 374 pp. online edition
  32. ^ CNN - Segregated Sundays
  33. ^ Gay Demographics 2000 Census Data
  34. ^ a b Census.gov: Married-Couple and Unmarried-Partner Households 2000
  35. ^ Facts and Findings from The Gay and Lesbian Atlas
  36. ^ http://www.commonwealthfund.org/Content/State-Scorecards/Mississippi.aspx Commonwealth Fund, State Scorecard
  37. ^ Ronni Mott (2008-12-03). "We-the-Fat". Jackson Free Press. http://www.jacksonfreepress.com/index.php/site/comments/we_the_fat_120308/. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  38. ^ Thomas M. Maugh (2007-08-28). "Mississippi heads list of fattest states". Los Angeles Times. http://www.star-telegram.com/national_news/story/215983.html. Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  39. ^ Victor Sutton, PhD, and Sandra Hayes, MPH, Bureau of Health Data and Research, Mississippi Department of Health (2008-10-29). "Impact of Social, Behavioral and Environmental Factors on Overweight and Obesity among African American Women in Mississippi". American Public Health Association: APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing at 2008 136th Annual Meeting. http://apha.confex.com/apha/136am/techprogram/paper_172848.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  40. ^ a b c Gail D. Hughes, DrPH, MPH and Gloria Areghan, MSN both with Department of Preventive Medicine-Epidemiology, University of Mississippi Medical Centre; Bern'Nadette Knight, MSPH with Department of General Internal Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center and Abiodun A. Oyebola, MD with Department of Public Health, Jackson State University (2008-11-11). "Obesity and the African American Adolescent, The Mississippi Delta Report". American Public Health Association: 2002 130th Annual APHA Meeting. http://apha.confex.com/apha/130am/techprogram/paper_46137.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  41. ^ Lei Zhang, PhD MBA, Office of Health Data and Research, Mississippi State Department of Health; Jerome Kolbo, PhD ACSW, College of Health, Bonnie Harbaugh, PhD RN, School of Nursing and Charkarra Anderson-Lewis, PhD MPH, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Southern Mississippi (2008-10-29). "Public Perception of Childhood Obesity among Mississippi Adults". American Public Health Association: : APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing at 2008 136th Annual Meeting. http://apha.confex.com/apha/136am/techprogram/paper_178329.htm. Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  42. ^ Generosity Index
  43. ^ Rich States, Poor States: Mississippi
  44. ^ ""Mississippi Almanac Entry"". http://travel2.nytimes.com/2004/07/15/travel/NYT_ALMANAC_US_MISSISSIPPI.html?ex=1162094400&en=27939e8b35b285fa&ei=5070. , The New York Times Travel Almanac (2004)
  45. ^ http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/php/sate.php Historical Census Browser
  46. ^ W.E.B. DuBois,Black Reconstruction in America, 1860–1880. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1935; reprint New York: The Free Press, 1998, p.432
  47. ^ Du Bois, Ibid., p.437
  48. ^ Du Bois, Ibid., p.432 and 434
  49. ^ John C. Willis, Forgotten Time: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta after the Civil War. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000
  50. ^ a b John Otto Solomon,The Final Frontiers, 1880–1930: Settling the Southern Bottomlands. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1999, pp.10–11, 42–43, 50–51, and 70
  51. ^ V.S. Naipaul, A Turn in the South. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989
  52. ^ Stephen Edward Cresswell, Rednecks, Redeemers, and Race: Mississippi after Reconstruction, Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006, p.124
  53. ^ Industry Information: State Statistics. American Gaming Association. Last accessed December 23, 2008.
  54. ^ Gilbert M. Gaul and Dan Morgan, "A Slow Demise in the Delta: US Farm Subsidies Favor Big Over Small and White Over Blacks", The Washington Post, accessed 29 Mar 2008
  55. ^ Les Christie (August 30, 2007). "The Richest (and Poorest) Places in the U.S.". CNNMoney.com. http://finance.yahoo.com/real-estate/article/103432/The-Richest-(and-Poorest)-Places-in-the-U.S.?mod=oneclick. Retrieved 2007-09-22. 
  56. ^ Tax Foundation
  57. ^ "Amendment banning gay marriage passes". USA Today. 2004-11-02. http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/vote2004/2004-11-02-ms-intiative-gay-marriage_x.htm. Retrieved 2007-10-12. 
  58. ^ "Voters pass all 11 bans on gay marriage". AP via MSNBC. 2004-11-03. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6383353/. Retrieved 2007-12-07. 
  59. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Arkabutla Lake
  60. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Grenada Lake
  61. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Sardis Lake
  62. ^ James D. Anderson,The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina, 1988, pp.160–161
  63. ^ ""Study Compares States' Math and Science Scores With Other Countries'"". http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/14/education/14students.html. , The New York Times (2007)
  64. ^ USA International Ballet Competition
  65. ^ "History of the Teddy Bear". Retrieved March 7, 2006.
  66. ^ Nuclear Blasts in Mississippi
  67. ^ Mississippi, Believe It!

External links


Related information

Preceded by
Indiana
List of U.S. states by date of statehood
Admitted on December 10, 1817 (20th)
Succeeded by
Illinois

Coordinates: 33°N 90°W / 33°N 90°W / 33; -90


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Mississippi [1] is a state in the South of the United States of America. Most of its western border (with Arkansas and Louisiana) is the mighty Mississippi River. Tennessee lies to the north and Alabama to the east, and it has a small coastline on the Gulf of Mexico to the south.

Regions of Mississippi
Mississippi Capital-River
Mississippi Delta
Mississippi Pines
Gulf Coast
Mississippi Hills
  • Natchez- over 600 antebellum homes!! (first capital of Ms)

Understand

Mississipi is often overlooked by travelers, yet those who seek out the many things the state has to offer will not regret it. Mississippi is the home to the blues, an unrivaled literary tradition, and incredible food. Visit Mississippi to experience rich history and warm hospitality.

Much of the state was affected to some extent by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, particularly the Gulf Coast. While most areas have returned to normal or near-normal tourism, there are still parts of the coast where tourism is still limited.

Get in

By car

Interstate 20 (east-west route along the lower middle half of the state), I-10 (again, an east-west route along the Gulf Coast), I-55 (north-south route passing through the middle of the state), and I-59 (southeastern corner of the state). Highway 61 in known as the river highway. It goes through cities like Port Gibson, Vicksburg, and Natchez.

By plane

Jackson has the largest airport in the state, Jackson-Evers International Airport (JAN). The Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport is also of adequate size. Smaller airports are found in Columbus (Golden Triangle Regional Airport), Greenville, Hattiesburg (Pine Belt Regional), Natchez, and Tupelo.

By train

See Amtrak for the most current and active routes (several routes have permanently closed due to either the after-effects of Hurricane Katrina, or waning customer interest).

By Bus

Greyhound Bus Lines (or the Delta Bus Lines for most routes within Mississippi) offers service to several cities in Mississippi; however, check Greyhound Bus Lines' webpage [2] to see which cities currently are serviced in the state. Be aware, that there are several cities in Mississippi that has very limited service, meaning there is typically not a ticketing agent, service center, or even a enclosed bus stop at the side of a highway of such a city. At the time of writing this entry, the following cities that have limited bus service in Mississippi are: Batesville, Belzoni, Itta Bena, Lorman, Mount Olive, Pascagoula, Tunica, and Winona.

Get around

The easiest method of getting around Mississippi is by automobile (and in most cases, it’s the only method of getting around the state). You can travel around Mississippi by using the Greyhound Bus lines [3], but it is a very inconvenient method of traveling around the state. If you do decide to travel by bus, be prepared for long waits, uncomfortable rides to remote locations (typically the bus stops are at a gas station on the outskirts of the city), and unannounced bus route cancellations. The hassle of visiting the state by bus isn't worth the you money may save when compared to renting a car; sometimes, you may have to rent a car anyway due to the limited bus routes.

Visitors to Mississippi should seriously consider renting a car (usually, most auto rental locations are at airports - just be sure to make reservations far in advance), as there is not a well established public transportation system in this state. Be prepared to seek alternate transportation if you do not have the following: a valid driver's license accepted by the United States, be at least 25 years in age (some rental companies may allow 21 year old adults to rent their vehicles), and a major credit card issued by such companies as: Visa, Diner's Club, American Express, Discover Card, or MasterCard. The lack of such items and being the required age to rent, will make renting a car very difficult if not impossible.

Note - It may be very difficult, but it is not impossible to rent a car with a debit card (with the Visa or MasterCard logo) if you lack a credit card. Rental companies such as: Enterprise, Alamo (Enterprise's & Alamo's rental restrictions to non-credit card payers typically makes it much more of a hassle to rent from than from other rental agencies), Thrifty, Rent-a-wreck (typically RAW is the easiest company to rent from without a credit card), and Budget car rental will usually rent to customers without a major credit card; however, expect far more restrictions (and hassles) with their rental terms. Do your research first before exploring this option, and expect to have to speak with a manager rather than the front-line customer service representative you encounter to make any progress [4].

By car

Mississippi has four major interstate highways. I-55 runs North-South from New Orleans, McComb, to Memphis and runs through the state capitol of Jackson. I-20 runs East-West from Vicksburg to Meridian and crosses I-55 in Jackson. I-59 cuts across the southeast corner of the state connecting New Orleans to I-20 just west of Meridian. I-59 and I-20 merge into one interstate at that point and head east until they split in Birmingham, AL. I-10 runs the length of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. There are several interstate spurs and loops in Mississippi, the two of note are I-220 connecting I-20 to I-55 around the northwest perimeter of Jackson and I-110 connecting I-10 to US-90 (aka Beach Blvd) in Biloxi.

Interstate speed limits are mostly 70 miles per hour in rural areas, and 60 mph in urban areas. State highways with 4 or more lanes are usually 65 miles per hour and slow down by 10 mph increments when they enter developed areas (usually no lower than 45 mph). Typically, two-lane highways have a speed limit of 55 mph in rural areas.

Beware of red light running cameras. Several cities in Mississippi are either thinking about or already have these cameras in place.

Like any other state, Mississippi has a mixture of four-lane divided highways and two-lane rural highways and state routes. However, Mississippi does provide a respectable number of multi-lane highways. Highway 49 is a 4-lane highway that connects the Gulf Coast to Jackson and crosses the Mississippi River at Helena. Highway 98 connects I-55 and I-59 across the lower half of the state. Highway 25 (state route) connects Jackson to Starkville (Mississippi State University). Highway 82 runs east-west in the upper half of the state. Pay attention to your maps and ask the workers on duty at the state welcome centers for help. You might find a shorter route than if you stay on the interstates. Most on-line mapping services assume the worst about state highways when compared to interstates.

Get of the road and enjoy slower pace. Highway 51 runs parallel to I-55 through the state. Except in urban areas, US 51 is a fairly scenic route. The Natchez Trace Parkway is also a scenic option and is operated by the National Park Service. (just obey the speed limits... you've been warned!) US 80 parallels I-20 across the state, but makes for a more interesting drive by taking you through towns that were bypassed. US 90, also known as Beach Blvd, is about as far south you can get in MS. US 90 along the coast line between St Louis Bay and the Back Bay of Biloxi.

Be aware that when refueling your car, that if you intend to use your credit card (particularly credit card accounts issued from banks outside of the US) you may experience problems using the self-serve stations. Most self-serve gas stations may require the purchaser to input their home ZIP code (a five digit mail routing address used in the US) as a means of identifying the purchaser, as smart credit cards are not widely used in the US. Also be aware, there are very few full-service gas stations in America (where a gas station attendant fuels the car for you), but you may find a few in the much smaller cities in Mississippi. Expect fuel charges to be higher, and be aware that some unscrupulous merchants may attempt to add a credit card surcharge to your purchase for the convenience of using a credit card (which is a violation of Visa's [5] and MasterCard's merchant agreement [6]).

By train

You can travel by Amtrak on along the following routes: the center of the state (north / south route), southeastern corner of the state, and along the Gulf coast. If you have plenty of time and you are not in a hurry to get to your final destination, this might be an interesting way to visit the state. The main disadvantages of rail travel in Mississippi are that there are only a few stations that are still in use, sometimes travel times may be long, and the routes are limited so you cannot explore the state very well.

The stations that are still in service are:

  • The casinos of Biloxi, Gulfport, Vicksburg, Tunica, Greenville, Natchez, and Philadelphia (Choctaw Indian Reservation) are fun to visit. Be aware that you must be at least 21 years old and have a valid government issued ID to enter a casino (a government issued ID with your picture that is written in English, such as a passport (which is strongly recommended for foreign nationals) or a driver's license), otherwise, you will be refused entry into the casino. Expect to have your ID checked upon entry (and sometimes rechecked while you are in the casino too - if you have a youthful appearance) as most casinos are so cautious, almost to the point of being paranoid, in their efforts in preventing underage patrons from sneaking into their establishments.
  • The Civil War Park in Vicksburg is interesting to visit, and the entire park can easily be visited in a day using either a car or by bicycle. The cost is $8 US to enter, and it's a bargain. Be sure to allow yourself at least 2 to 3 hours for the Cairo battleship exhibit alone. Tourist pamphlets in multiple languages (Spanish, German, French, and Japanese) are available at the Cairo exhibit. More information about the park is found at the Vicksburg National Military Park's webpage[7].
  • Mississippi is the home of the blues, and the Blues Museum in Clarksdale is interesting for the blues music enthusiast. In addition, live blues is still fairly easy to find in the Delta and in Jackson (where the former Subway Lounge blues bands play on Saturday nights at Schimmel's Restaurant).
  • Although B.B. King was born in Itta Bena, the city of Indianola will have a B.B. King Homecoming Festival on the first week of June every year at Fletcher Park. Children under 12 are free from paying admission to the event.
  • Be sure to visit the antebellum houses in city of Natchez. The tours offered during the pilgrimages are a good way to see a wide selection of the houses and buildings. Tours are arranged at the Natchez Visitors Center, 640 S Canal St[8]. You can contact them by dialing toll-free (in the USA) 1-800-647-6742. Also in mid October Natchez has The Great Mississippi River Balloon Races. This event is a three day weekend of races, food, and music. Bring a blanket or chairs for the music fest.
  • For those who enjoy nature, a journey along the Natchez Trace Parkway (which starts in Natchez, MS, and ends in Nashville, TN) [9] is a good bet. Be aware that the speed limit is strictly enforced (by the US Park Police) at 50 mph (80 km/h), and that wild animals such as deer and turkeys will often run across the road suddenly. Also keep in mind that you will have to share the road with bicyclist and those camping along the Natchez Trace. Also, the roadway does not have streetlights, so it is very dark at night - so beware. No commercial vehicles are allowed on the Natchez Trace, so the traffic is light and easy-going.
  • The International Ballet Competition [10] takes place once every four years in Jackson (no, this is not a joke). The competition takes place at Thalia Mara Hall in downtown Jackson on Pearl Street, and some of the best ballet dancers from around the world come to Jackson to compete 1-601-355-9853 (157 E Pearl St).

Do

Outdoor activities are a favorite of Mississippians, given the state's low population density and natural resources. Hunting, fishing, water sports, camping, and hiking all have their devotees. Take tours through antebellum mansions. There are horse drawn carriage tours in Natchez.

Buy

The larger cities and towns in Mississippi provide your typical big box and retail stores. Some major malls in Mississippi include Barnes Crossing Mall in Tupelo, Northpark Mall in Ridgeland (Jackson Metro area), Dogwood Festival Market in Flowood (Jackson Metro area), Turtle Creek Mall in Hattiesburg, and Edgewater Mall in Biloxi. Other great shopping malls that you would find very interesting and good clothes is the Edgewood Mall in McComb, and the Bonita Lakes Mall in Meridian.

Most smaller towns still offer your typical nationwide and regional stores, but local antique and furniture stores abound. If you go looking for antiques, you will likely find one near the old town centers. Natchez has Franklin st., which is known as "antiques row". Canton, located north of Jackson on I-55, is well known for its biannual flea market, and antique stores surrounding its historic town square. Canton is also the county seat of Madison County. The flea market is held each May and October[11].

Eat

The state is largely rural. Outside of large towns and away from major interstates and state highways, dining options are fairly limited, but even the smallest of towns will have a local diner. However, if you enjoy country cooking, there is no shortage of good to excellent places to eat. Fried chicken, country-fried steak, fresh vegetables, and cornbread are favorites, although barbecue is also fairly widely available. Mississippi barbecue tends to pork ribs and pulled pork or chopped beef sandwiches with tomato-based sauces, usually slightly sweet. Of particular note is Leatha's [12], in Hattiesburg, which enjoys a tremendous (and well-deserved) reputation.

Fried catfish is one meal that Mississippians pride themselves on. If you want to visit the world catfish festival [13] go to Belzoni (pronounced by the locals as: bell-zone-uh). There's not much to see there, but it's interesting if you're in that area. One treat often served with catfish is fried dill pickles, a strange sounding but delicious side dish.

Generally, one can't go wrong with Mississippi staples of biscuits, corn bread, fried chicken or steak, collards and other greens, and fresh vegetables.

In Indianola, you can visit the Indianola Pecan House [14] where you won't find a shortage of ways to consume pecans, which are found in abundance in the local area.

If during your visit to Mississippi State University in Starkville, pay a visit to the MAFES (Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station) store [15]on campus to purchase either the muscadine wine or their edam cheeses (which is sold over-the-counter year round, but they only ship their products from November to April - domestic US only).

Drink

Laws regarding alcohol are a frequent source of confusion to outsiders. Mississippi continues to practice "local option" with regard to sale of alcohol. Under this system, local jurisdictions may choose whether or not to allow the sale or consumption of alcohol. Beer, where sold, may be purchased from convenience stores or supermarkets, while wine and spirits may only be purchased from licensed liquor stores. Alcohol-by-the-drink is yet another area of local option; some permit purchase of alcoholic beverages at restaurants but do not permit liquor stores. Where they are allowed, liquor stores are limited to the hours of 10am-10pm; hours during which beer sales are permitted are at the discretion of the county or municipality. The only reliable way to determine the regulations is to ask a local. Do note that there are still numerous counties where alcohol is forbidden; enforcement is typically lax regarding alcohol purchased elsewhere for personal consumption, but may not be if an officer of the law decides to make it an issue.

Try Lazy Magnolia beer, [16] brewed in Kiln, MS. Its most popular brew is Southern Pecan Ale. Lazy Magnlia beers can be found on tap in many bars and restaurants throughout the state.

  • Mississippi does have tornadoes in the early spring to summer months. You might want to check the Tornado safety page if you are visiting Mississippi.
  • In terms of race relations, much has changed for the better since the 1950's; however, that is not to say that there aren't still remnants of racism within the state. In the more rural areas of the state, particularly those who are of Latino (often assumed to be illegal immigrants), Asian, Middle Eastern (often confused to be Latino and an illegal immigrant), or even bi-racial heritage, should be aware they may encounter ignorant behavior and unwanted attention. In the larger cities and college communities, you would generally not expect to encounter this type of behavior as the environment is a bit more integrated, but anything is possible.
  • Beware of the hunting seasons if you intent to trek in some of the wooded areas of the state. It's not unusual to learn of a hunting accident where a victim was accidentally shot and killed by a hunter. If you do intent to trek the wooded areas during hunting season, use caution and always wear a bright "hunters" orange vest, so other hunters will not mistake you for wild game. Considering the risk of personal injury, it would be wise to avoid the wooded areas (especially during deer season) if you do not know what land is authorized for hunting.
  • Occasionally you might encounter a panhandler (a beggar) in a casino parking lot asking for a handout (asking to "borrow" (begging for) five or even ten dollars), or claiming to want to sell you something for a huge bargain. Do not engage this person, and immediately walk away without saying anything. It might be wise to alert the casino's security personnel of the event, as most casinos in Mississippi are active in removing panhandlers and nuisances from their property quickly (as they do not want to acquire a reputation of having their customers being harassed by panhandlers).
  • When driving at night, keep in mind that most highway roads and even a majority of the Interstate routes in Mississippi do not have lights posted on the sides of the roads, making the roads very dark at night. This can sometimes make driving a little more challenging, as you have to always anticipate wild animals (and sometimes wild drivers) darting out in front of you at a moments notice.
  • One should be sensitive to the fact that most of the people within the state are both very socially and religiously conservative, and have little tolerance for public drunkenness or public displays of homosexual affection between partners. Public drunkenness can land you up to 30 days in the city / county jail and a $1000 penalty. Gay / lesbian couples should use their best judgment, and should err on the side of discretion to avoid any conflict or unwanted attention.
  • Hurricanes can and do strike the gulf coast of Mississippi. Some of the worst hurricanes (such as Hurricanes Camille and Katrina) have caused wide spread devastation, which have taken years to overcome. Whenever you hear in the news of a hurricane watch (conditions are favorable for a hurricane to strike land within 36 hours and you should plan to evacuate) or a warning (a hurricane strike is enviable within 24 hours and you should seek shelter immediately), do take them seriously and take appropriate precautions.
  • During the warmer months of the year, you should seriously consider using mosquito repellent with a high DEET concentration. This may help reduce the opportunity of becoming infected with the West Nile virus [17] that is transmitted by mosquitoes. In the Delta region, mosquitoes are awful during the summer months.
  • Occasionally through out the year, you'll read or hear about boil water alerts (usually as a result of a water treatment center that had lost its water pressure for one reason or another). Although it is safe to shower and bathe with the water, it is not advisable to cook, drink, or brush your teeth using untreated tap water during an alert notice. Check the with the Mississippi State department of Health for current notice alerts [18].
  • During the summer months, the humidity and high temperatures can be very intense for those who have never lived in hot muggy environments before. Be sure to drink adequate amounts of water or sport drinks (I.E. Gatorade) if you are going to work or play outdoors during the summer.
  • The larger cities in Mississippi have sufficient levels of hospital care that can handle most serious and critical illnesses or life-threatening injuries (IE world class medical care). Most of the smaller cities (usually those with populations of at least a few thousand citizens) have a nearby county hospital, which is sufficient for minor non-life threatening injuries or illnesses, but you may have to be transported via medical helicopter to the larger regional medical facilities (sometimes out of state if necessary) if you are facing a critical injury or illness when time is of the utmost of the essence. Smaller cities of less than a few thousand people in population generally do not have a hospital, and you will have to travel to the nearest county hospital for care. Be aware there is not a national health care system, and you are expected to be fully insured to pay for all medical services rendered. Otherwise, expect a huge medical bill that you will be expected to pay in full upon your discharge from the hospital (which can very easily run into the thousands of dollars for even minor emergency medical care).
  • An alternative to the emergency room (typically in the larger cities in Mississippi) for non-life threatening care only and minor illnesses, are "urgent care clinics." An appointment is not required, but you can expect to wait for sometimes an hour or two before seeing the doctor. Again, you must be insured for medical treatment, or expect a moderately high bill (not nearly as expensive as an emergency room visit, but its still not inexpensive either). Hours of operation vary, but generally are open from noon till 6 PM, and are usually closed on weekends. When checking in for services and you do not have insurance but you do have the means to pay, be sure to let the receptionist know, - otherwise you may be subjected to expensive tests which are not needed.
  • Being that the state is very socially and religiously conservative, it is wise to not make jokes about the predominant Christian religion practiced in the South - the Baptist denomination. You may be asked by people whom you've only met once, as to what religion you practice. To most Mississippians, this isn't considered as a personal question to ask another individual. If you feel this is too personal of a question to respond to, you might reply that are not comfortable discussing such a personal matter outside of your family and religious network. You may also be asked to attend one's church, and if you are inclined to do so, men should be sure to wear a respectable, yet conservative, suit and tie, or a conservative dress for women. You are not obligated to attend one's church if you do not feel comfortable doing so, but be sure to be very tactful when declining an invitation.
  • The state flag of Mississippi contains the Confederate flag in its upper left corner. To many people this is an extremely emotional and sensitive image (on both sides of the political spectrum). It is wise as an outsider of the state, to avoid the discussion of the state flag (either positively or negatively), as you will attract unwanted attention.
  • As in other Southern States, when addressing people whom you have met for the first time (particularly those who are older than you) be sure to say either, "Yes Sir / No Sir" or "Yes Ma'am / No Ma'am", in much the same manner that a solder in the military would address a superior officer. Do not use first names until you've been told it is acceptable to do so, as it is considered rude to do as such without permission.
  • Be aware that many Mississippians have or are enlisted into the US military, or have relatives who are active or reserve members of either the US Military, or the Mississippi National Guard. Pride and respect is very strong for members of the military and the economic support that the military provides to Mississippi. Under no circumstances should you make jokes or derogatory statements about the military, especially of its servicemen and servicewomen.

Communications

Cell phone coverage in Mississippi is generally better (especially with Sprint's & T-Mobile's networks) along the major Interstate routes. Coverage in the southern Mississippi region is sometimes spotty (particularly west of Hattiesburg). 3G coverage though growing sporadically throughout the state near the college cities, generally is located in the Jackson metropolitan area; however, outside of the Jackson area, EDGE service is typically available. Check with your cell phone provider for coverage maps. The regional cell phone provider Cellular South has a large network established throughout Mississippi, and you might be able to roam on their towers if you are not a customer.

Consider purchasing a disposable cell phone from any major electronic department store in Mississippi during your visit. There are not as many pay telephones as there used to be, and disposable phone are becoming more common. The cost is about $25 a month is the average price for approximately 100 minutes of talk time with no / or limited SMS capabilities (in other words, its expensive for what you purchase). You don't need a phone with all of the latest features, just one that you can use during emergencies and for short conversations.

Any phone that's pre-3G technology (TDMA) will work fine in nearly all parts of the state. Be aware, that pretty much any cell phone from either South Korea or Japan will typically not work anywhere in Mississippi (or the USA for that matter), but some of the older European model cell phones (operating in the 3G UTMS frequencies of 850/1900/2100MHz) should work fine in the larger cities within the state.

  • Mississippi's department of tourism can be found at this hyperlink[19] or by calling 1-866-733-6477.
  • In the event of an emergency you can dial 911 (for police, fire department, and emergency medical assistance) from any cell phone or land line free of charge. If using a cellphone it is important to let the operator know exactly where you are located at, as it takes time to triangulate your location if you do not give that information (time which you cannot waste). For non-emergency calls, do not dial 911, but rather contact the specific organization directly from their non-emergency phone number listed in the respective local phone book.
  • The Mississippi Highway Patrol may be contacted (in the state) on your cell phone by dialing *HP (*47). Note - this is only for emergency calls on the highways or Interstate routes from cell phones only.
  • There is not a foreign consulate from any country represented within the state of Mississippi, in the event you require assistance of your government (loss of a passport, arrest, etc). Consulates are typically located in the much larger metropolitan cities outside of Mississippi (cities such as Atlanta GA, New Orleans LA, Houston TX, Dallas TX, and Memphis TN). Refer your specific countries consulate web page to learn where they are located in the southern part of the US.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

MISSISSIPPI, a South Central state of the United States, situated between 35° N. lat. and 31 0 N. lat., with its S.E. part extending to the Gulf of Mexico, the extreme southern point being in 30° 13' N. lat. near the mouth of the Pearl River. On the E. the line is mostly regular, its extreme E. point being at 88° 7' W. long. in the N.E. corner of the state; the W. boundary has its extreme W. point at 91 0 41' W. long. in the S.W. corner of the state. Mississippi is bounded N. by Tennessee, E. by Alabama, S. by the Gulf of Mexico and Louisiana, W. by Louisiana, from which it is separated by the Pearl River and by the Mississippi, and by Arkansas, from which also it is separated by the Mississippi. The total area is 46,865 sq. m., of which 503 sq. m. are water surface.

Physical Features. - Mississippi lies for the most part in the Mississippi embayment of the Gulf Coastal Plain. A feature of its surface is a strip of bottom land between the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, known as the Yazoo Delta; it extends from north to south about 175 m., and has an average width of more than 60 m., and covers an area of about 7000 sq. m. With the exception of a few flat ridges running from north to south, it is so low that it requires, to protect it from overflows, an unbroken line of levees averaging 15 ft. in height; these were built and are maintained by the state in part from a special tax on the land and in part from the sale of swamp lands of the United States (under an act of 1850). Along the eastern border of this delta, and southward of it, along the Mississippi itself, extends a belt of hills or bluffs (sometimes called "cane-hills"), which is cut by deep ravines and, though very narrow in the north, has in the south an average width of about to m. East of the belt are level or gently rolling prairies, and along the Gulf Coast is a low, marshy tract. The highest elevations, from 800 to moo ft. above the sea, are on the Pontotoc ridge in Tippah and Union counties; and from this ridge there is an almost imperceptible slope south and west from the Appalachian Mountain system. Along the margins of valleys there are hills rising from 30 to 120 ft., but farther back from the water courses the differences of elevation are much less. The coast-line, about 85 m. long, is bordered by a beach of white sand, and broken by several small and shallow indentations, among which are St Louis, Biloxi. Pascagoula and Point aux Chenes bays; separated from it by the shallow and practically unnavigable Mississippi Sound is a chain of low, long and narrow sand islands, the largest of which are Petit Bois, Horn, Ship and Cat. The principal rivers are: the Mississippi on the western border, and its tributaries, the Yazoo and the Big Black; the Pearl and Pascagoula, which drain much of the southern portion of the state and flow into the Gulf; and the Tombigbee, which drains most of the north-eastern portion. The Pontotoc ridge separates the drainage system of the Mississippi from that of the Tombigbee; extending from the northeastern part of the state southward, this ridge divides in Choctaw county, the eastern branch separating the drainage basin in the Pascagoula from that of the Pearl, and the western branch separating the drainage basin of the Pearl from that of the Big Black and the Mississippi. The Delta is drained chiefly by the Yazoo. A small area in the north-eastern corner of the state is drained northward by the Tennessee and the Hatchie. Each of the larger rivers is fed by smaller streams; their fall is usually gentle and quite uniform. The valleys vary in width from a few hundred yards to several miles. In the east of the state much of the valley of each of the larger streams is several feet above the stream's present highwater mark and forms the "hommock" or "second bottom" lands. Most of the rivers flowing into the Gulf are obstructed by sand-bars and navigable only during high-water from January to April. Oxbow lakes and bayous are common only in the Delta.

Table of contents

Geology

The older formations are nearly all overlaid by deposits of the Quaternary period, which will be described last. In the extreme north-east are found the oldest rocks in the state - lower Devonian (the New Scotland beds of New York) and, not so old, an extension of the Lower Carboniferous which underlies the Warrior coalfields of Alabama, and which consists of cherts, limestones, sandstones and shales, with a depth of 800 to 900 ft. The strata here show some traces of the upheaval which formed the Appalachian Mountain chain. When this chain formed the Atlantic mountainborder of the continent excepting this north-eastern corner, Mississippi had not emerged from the waters of the ancient Gulf of Mexico. As the shore line of the Gulf slowly receded southward and westward, the sediment at its bottom gradually came to the surface, and constituted the Cretaceous and Tertiary formations. Wherever stratification is observed in these formations in Mississippi, it shows a dip west and south of 20 or 30 ft. to the mile.

The Cretaceous region includes, with the exception of the Lower Carboniferous, all that part of the state eastward of a line cutting the Tennessee boundary in 88° 50' W. long., and drawn southward and eastward near Ripley, Pontotoc, and Starkville, crossing into Alabama in latitude 32° 45'. There are four formations of Cretaceous strata in Mississippi, defined by lines having the same general direction as the one just described. The oldest, bordering the Lower Carboniferous, is the Tuscaloosa formation of clays and sands arranged as follows: dark clays, thin lignite seams, lignitic clays, sands and chert, and light clays; this formation is 5-15 m. wide and reaches from about 33° 30' on the Alabama boundary north to the Tennessee boundary. It is about 270 ft. thick. Tuscaloosa clays are used in the manufacture of pottery. Overlying the Tuscaloosa are the Eutaw sands, characterized by sandy laminated clays, and yellow, orange, red and blue sands, containing lignite and fossil resin. The Eutaw formation is a strip about 5 to 12 m. wide with a maximum depth of 300 ft. Westward to Houston and southward to about 32° 48' on the Alabama boundary and occupying a much larger area than the other Cretaceous formations, is the Selma chalk, called "Rotten Limestone" by Hilgard; it is made up of a material of great uniformity, - a soft chalky rock, white or pale blue, composed chiefly of tenacious clay, and white carbonate of lime in minute crystals. Borings show that the thickness of this group varies from 35 o ft. in the north to about moo ft. at Starkville. Fossils are abundant, and forty species are recorded. The latest Cretaceous is the Ripley formation, which lies west of the northern part of the last-named, and, about Scooba, in a small strip, the most southerly of the Cretaceous - it is composed of coarse sandstones, hard crystalline white limestones, clays, sands, phosphatic greensands, and darkcoloured, micaceous, glauconitic marls; its greatest thickness is about 280 ft. Its marine fossils are admirably preserved, and one hundred and eight species have been described.

Deposits of the Tertiary period form the basis of more than half the state, extending from the border of the Cretaceous westward nearly to the Yazoo Delta and the Mississippi Bottom, and southward to within a few miles of the Gulf coast. Seven formations (or groups) of the Tertiary strata have been distinguished in Mississippi. The oldest is the Midway limestone and clays in a narrow strip whose western limit is nearly parallel to the western boundary of the Selma chalk; it includes: the Clayton formation, characterized by the hard blue Turritella limestone (so named from the frequent fossil (Turritella mortoni); and Porters Creek (previously called Flatwoods) clay, which is grey, weathering white, and is occasionally overlain by grey fossiliferous sandstone. The Wilcox formation (called Lignitic by Hilgard, and named by Safford the Lagrange group) lies to the west of the last, and its western limit is from about 32° 12' on the Alabama boundary about due north-west; in its north-westernmost part it is on the western edge of the Tertiary in this state. Its minimum depth is 850 ft. It is marked by grey clays and sands, lignitic fossiliferous clays, beds of lignite or brown coal, sometimes 8 ft. in thickness, and brownish clays. The siliceous Claiborne (or Tallahatta Buhrstone) formation lies south-westward from the last-named in a strip 10-30 m. wide, whose south-eastern extremity is the intersection of the 32nd meridian with the Alabama boundary, is characterized by beds of aluminous grey and white sandstone, aluminous and siliceous clay-stone, quartzitic sandstone, and green sand and marls. The calcareous Claiborne or ClaiborneLisbon formation-group lies south of the last, in a wedge-like strip with the apex on the Alabama boundary; it is a series of clays and sands, richly fossiliferous. The Jackson formation south-west of the Lisbon beds, is made up chiefly of grey calcareous clay marls, bluish lignitic clays, green-sand and grey siliceous sands. Basilosaurus (or Zeuglodon) bones are found only in the Jackson marls, and other marine fossils are abundant. The minimum thickness of the formation is 240 ft. The Vicksburg formation lies next in order south-west, in a narrow strip of fairly regular width which alone of the Tertiary formations runs as far west as the Mississippi River; it is probably nowhere more than 110 ft. deep. It is characterized by semi-crystalline limestones and blue and white sandy marls. Marine fossils are very abundant in the marl. The Grand Gulf group, of formations of different ages, consisting of sands, sandstones and clays, and showing a few fossil plants, but no marine fossils, extends southward from the last to within a few miles of the coast, and is 750-800 ft. deep.

The older formation of the Quaternary period is the Lafayette (also called "Orange-sand" or "stratified drift"), which immediately overlies all the Cretaceous groups except the prairies of the Selma chalk, and all the Tertiary except the Porters Creek and Vicksburg formations and parts of the Jackson. Its depth varies from a few feet to over 200 ft. (in the southern part of the state), and it forms the body of most of the hills in the state. Its materials are pebbles, clays and sands of various' colours from white to deep red, tinged with peroxide of iron, which sometimes cements the pebbles and sands into compact rocks. The shapes of these ferruginous sandstones are very fantastic - tubes, hollow spheres, plates, &c., being common. The name stratified drift has been used to indicate its connexion with the northern drift. The fossils are few, and in some cases probably derived from the underlying formations. Well-worn pebbles of amorphous quartz (agate, chalcedony, jasper, &c.) are found in the stratified drift along the western side of the Tertiary region of the state, and from Columbus northward. The second Quaternary formation is the Port Hudson, occurring within 20 m. of the Gulf coast, and, with alluvium, in the Yazoo Delta. Heavy clays, gravel and sands, containing cypress stumps, driftwood and mastodon bones, are characteristic. The loess or bluff formation lies along the bluffs bordering the Bottom, nearly continuously through the state. Its fine-grained, unstratified silt contains the remains of many terrestrial animals, including fifteen mammals.

Fauna

Among the more common species of game are squirrels, opossums, musk-rats, rabbits, racoons, wild turkeys, ", partridges" (quail, or Bob White), geese, and ducks; deer, black bears, grey (or timber) wolves, black wolves and "wild cats" (lynx), once common, have become rare. Alligators inhabit the southern river-bottoms, and there are some rattlesnakes on the uplands. Among a great variety of song-birds the mocking-bird is prominent; the parakeet is found in the southern part of the state. Buffalo-fish, paddle-fish, cat-fish, drum, crappie, black bass, rock bass, German carp, sturgeon, pike, perch, eels, suckers and shrimp inhabit the waters of the Mississippi and its tributaries, and oysters, shrimp, trout, Spanish mackerel, channel bass, black bass, sheepshead, mullet, croakers, pompano, pin-fish, blue-fish, flounders, crabs and terrapin are obtained from the Mississippi Sound and the rivers flowing into it.

Flora

Originally Mississippi was almost entirely covered with a growth of forest trees of large size, mostly deciduous; and in 1900 about seven-tenths of its area was still classed as timber-land. The north central part of the state, known as the "flat woods," is level and heavily forested. There are more than 120 species of trees in the state, 15 of oak alone. The most valuable species for lumber are the long-leaf pine which is predominant in the low southern third of the state, sometimes called the "cow-country"; the short-leaf pine, found farther north; the white oak, quite widely distributed; cotton-wood and red gum, found chiefly on the rich alluvial lands; and the cypress, found chiefly in the marshes of the Delta. The beautiful live oaks and magnolias grow only in the south of the state; the holly in the lowlands; and the finest species of pecan, in the Delta. The sassafras, persimmon, wild cherry and Chickasaw plum are found in all parts of the state. The grape, Ogeechee lime (Nyssa capitata) and pawpaw are also native fruits. Among indigenous shrubs and vines are the blackberry, dewberry, strawberry, yellow jasmine, mistletoe and poisonoak; and among medicinal herbs are horehound, ginger and peppermint. Here, too, grows Spanish moss, used by upholsterers.

Climate

The southern latitude, the low elevation and the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico produce in southern Mississippi a rather mild and equable climate, but to the northward the extremes increase. The normal annual temperature for the state is 64° F.; on the coast it is 67° F., and on the northern border it is 61° F. During a period of twenty years, from January 1887 to December 1906, extremes of temperature at Biloxi, on the coast, ranged from 1 ° F. to 100° F.; during nearly the same period at Pontotoc, in the north-eastern part of the state, they ranged from - i 1 ° F. to 105° F. The greatest extremes recorded were - 15° F. at Aberdeen, Monroe county, on the 13th of February 1899, and 107° F. at several places in July and August of different years. January is the coldest month, and July is the warmest. During the winter the normal temperature decreases quite steadily from south to north; thus the mean temperature in January at Biloxi is 51° F., at Meridian, in the east central part, it is 46° F., and at Pontotoc it is 43° F. But during the summer, temperatures are affected as much by altitude as by latitude, and the coast is cooled at night by breezes from the Gulf. The July mean is 82° F. at several places in the southern part of the state, and at Yazoo city, in the west central part, it is 83° F. The normal annual precipitation for Mississippi is about 51 in.; for the southern half, 54 in., and for the northern half, 49 in. An average of 4 in. of snow falls in the northern half, but south of Natchez snow is seldom seen. Nearly one-third of the rain falls in January, February and March; July, also, is one of the wet months. The driest season is in September and October. The prevailing winds are from the south-east; but the rain-bearing winds are chiefly from the southwest, and the high winds from the west and north-west.

Soils

The most fertile soil is the alluvium of the' Delta, deposited during the overflows of the Mississippi. Others that are exceedingly productive are the black calcareous loam of the prairies, the calcareous silt of the bluff belt along the eastern border of the Delta, and the brown loam of the tableland in the central part of the state. Of inferior quality are the yellow loam of the hills in the north-east and the sandy loam in the pine belt of the south. Throughout the southern portion sand is a large ingredient, and to the northward there is more or less lime.

Agriculture

Mississippi is devoted largely to the cultivation of cotton. Of the total land area of the state, 18,240,736 acres (61.3%) were, in 1900, included in farms, and the improved farm land increased from 4,209,146 acres in 1870 to 7,594,428 acres (41.6% of all farm land) in 1900. After the abolition of slavery, farms greatly decreased in size and increased in number; the number grew from 68,023 in 1870 to 220,803 in 1900; the average size fell from 369.7 acres in 1860 to 82.6 acres in 1900. Of the total number of farms in 1900, 81,412 were worked by owners or part owners (60,585 by whites and 20,827 by negroes); 70,699 were worked by cash tenants (13,505 by whites and 57,194 by negroes); and 67,153 were worked by share tenants (16,748 by whites and 50,405 by negroes).

The acreage of cotton increased from 2,106,215 acres in 1879 to 3,220,000 in 1907; the yield increased from 936,111 bales in 1879 to 1,468,177 bales in 1907. Cotton is grown in every county of the state, but the large yields are in the Delta (Bolivar, Coaohma, Washington, Yazoo and Leflore counties), the greatest cotton-producing region of the world, and in Monroe, Lowndes and Noxubee counties on the Alabama border. The acreage of Indian corn in 1907 was 2,500,000 acres and the crop 42,500,000 bushels. The production of other cereals decreased during the latter half of the 19th century: oats, from 1,959,620 bushels in 1879 to 1,611,000 bushels in 1907; wheat, from 587,925 bushels in 1859 to 22,000 in 1907; rye, from 39,474 bushels in 1859 to 963 bushels in 1899, after which year the crop has been negligible; and rice, from 2,719,856 lb in 1849 to about 1,080,000 lb in 1907. The largest Indian-corn producing districts are nearly the same as those which produce the most cotton; oats and wheat are grown chiefly in the north-eastern quarter of the state, and rice in the south-western quarter.

Between 1850 and 1907 dairy cows increased from 214,231 to 330,000; other neat cattle from 519,739 to 589,000; sheer decreased from 304,929 to 181,000; swine decreased from 1,582,734 to 1,316,000; horses increased from 115,460 to 260,000, and mules from 54,547 to 279,000.

Sugar-cane is grown principally in the southern part of the state, but sorghum-cane is grown to some extent in nearly every county. Sweet potatoes, white potatoes and onions also are important crops. The greatest relative advance between 1889 and 1899 in any branch of agriculture was made in the growth of market-garden produce and small fruits; for old pine lands, formerly considered useless, had been found valuable for the purpose. The number of orchard trees increased nearly 100% within the same decade. At Crystal Springs tomatoes were first successfully grown for the market (1874-1876). Orchard trees and grape-vines are widely distributed throughout the state, but with the exception of peaches their yield is greater in the northern portion.

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Lumber

Mississippi ranks high among the southern states in the production of lumber. Its timber-land in 1900 was estimated at 32,300 sq. m. From the extreme south most of the merchantable timber had been cut, but immediately north of this there were still vast quantities of valuable long-leaf pine; in the marshes of the Delta was much cypress, the cotton-wood was nearly exhausted, and the gum was being used as a substitute for it; and on the rich upland soil were oak and red gum, also cotton-wood, hickory and maple. The lumber and timber product increased in value from $1,920,335 in 1880 to $ 2 4, 0 35,539 in 1905. Pine stumps and waste limbs are utilized, notably at Hattiesburg, for the manufacture of charcoal, tar, creosote, turpentine, &c. Fisheries Fishing is a minor industry, confined for the most part to the Mississippi Sound and neighbouring waters and to the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers. The most valuable branch is the oyster N ,;: E, A i=De;I{1a iladelphia ', o K E .' fhage ?% ° ° Neshoba y ° S o ' ? `` 4 ockhar? L°? c1tuf el) D E ° ' ?

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'hlatherv i W A WoodVillef w Scale, 1:2,200,000 English Miles 20 30 40 Longitude Nest gi of Greenwich z fishery on the reefs in the Sound, much developed since 1880. The shrimp fishery, too, grew during the same period. About 40% of the total catch of the state is made by the inhabitants of Harrison county on the Gulf of Mexico.

Minerals.

The mineral wealth of the state is limited. Clays and mineral waters are, however, widely distributed. Large quantities of mineral water, sulphur, chalybeate and lithia, bottled at Meridian, Raymond and elsewhere, are sold annually. The state contains deposits of iron, gypsum, marl, phosphate, lignite, ochre, glass-sand, tripoli, fuller's earth, limestones and sandstones; and there are small gas flows in the Yazoo Delta.

Manufactures

The lack of mineral resources, especially of coal and iron, of a good harbour (until the improvement of Gulfport), and of an adequate supply of labour has discouraged most kinds of manufacturing. The value of the total factory product was $57,45 1 ,445 in 1905, when a little more than three-fourths was represented by lumber and timber products, cotton-seed oil and cake, and cotton goods. The leading manufacturing centres are Meridian, Vicksburg, Jackson, Natchez and Biloxi.

Transport

Along the entire western border of the state the Mississippi River is navigable for river steamboats. On the southern border, the Mississippi Sound affords safe navigation for small coasting vessels, and from Gulfport (13 m. W.S.W. of Biloxi) to Ship Island, which has one of the best harbours on the entire Gulf Coast, the Gulf & Ship Island Railroad Company, with the co-operation of the United States Government, in 1901 began to dredge a channel 300 ft. wide and 19 ft. at mean low water, and to construct an anchorage basin (completed in 1906) at Gulfport, 2 m. long and 4 m. wide, and 19 ft. deep. In June 1908 the maximum low-water draft of the channel and the basin was 19 ft. The Gulfport project reduced freight rates between Gulfport and the Atlantic seaboard cities and promoted the trade of Gulfport, which is the port of entry for the Pearl River customs district. Its imports for 1909 were valued at $82,028 and its exports at $8,581,471. The Yazoo, Tallahatchie, Yalobusha, Sunflower, Big Black, Pascagoula and Pearl rivers are also navigable to a limited extent. The first railway in Mississippi was completed from Vicksburg to Clinton in 1840, but the state had suffered severely from the panic of 1837, and in.1850 it had only 75 m. of railway. This was increased to 862 m. by 1860. The Civil War then interfered, and in 1880 the mileage was only 1127 m. During the next decade it was a little more than doubled, and at the close of 1908 it was 3916.85 m. The principal lines are the Illinois Central, the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley, the Southern, the Mobile & Ohio, the New Orleans & North-eastern, the Kansas City, Memphis & Birmingham, the Mobile, Jackson & Kansas City, the Alabama & Vicksburg, and the Gulf & Ship Island.

Population

The population increased from 1,131,597 in 1880 1 to 1,289,600 in 1890, of 14% within the decade, and by 'goo it had grown to 1 i 551,270 (9 9.4 8% native-born), and by 1 9 10 to 1,7 9 7,11 4. The density of population in 1900 was 33.5 per sq. m.; 641,200, or 41 3%, were whites; 907,630, or 58.5%, were negroes; 2203 were Indians, and 237 were Chinese; in eight counties of the Delta the ratio of negroes to whites was almost 7 to 1. The Indians are descendants of the Choctaw tribe; they are all subject to taxation, and most of them live in the east central part of the state. The principal religious denominations are the Baptist (371,518 in 1906) and the Methodist (212,105 in 1906). The cities and towns having a population in 1900 of 4000 or more were: Vicksburg, Meridian, Natchez, Jackson, Greenville, Columbus, Biloxi, Yazoo City, McComb and Hattiesburg.

Government

The chief special object of the present constitution, adopted on the 1st of November 1890, was to preserve in a legal manner the supremacy of the whites over the ignorant negro majority. In addition to the ordinary suffrage qualifications of age, sex, and residence, the voter must have paid all taxes due from him for the two years immediately preceding the election, and he must be able to read any section of the constitution or "be able to understand the same when read to him, or give a reasonable interpretation thereof." The former provision, strengthened by a poll-tax for school purposes assessed on adult males, affects both white and blacks; the latter, owing to the discretion vested in the election officers, affects (in practice) mainly the blacks. The chief executive officials are the governor, lieutenant-governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney-general, and superintendent of education. All are chosen for terms of four years, and the governor, treasurer, and auditor are ineligible for immediate re-election.

1 The population at each of the preceding censuses was: 8850 in 1800; 40,352 in 1810; 75,448 in 1820; 136,621 in 1830; 375,651 in 1840; 606,526 in 1850; 791,305 in 1860; and 827,922 in 1870.

The method of election is peculiar, being based in part upon the national presidential model. Each county or legislative district casts as many electoral votes as it has members in the state house of representatives, and a majority of both the electoral and the popular vote is required. If no one has such a majority, the house of representatives chooses one of the two who have received the highest number of popular votes; but this is really a provision never executed, as the Democratic nominees are always elected without any serious opposition. The governor is empowered to call extraordinary sessions of the legislature, to grant pardons and reprieves, and to exercise a power of veto which extends to items in appropriation bills; a two-thirds majority of the legislature is necessary to pass a bill over his veto. His appointing power is not very extensive, as nearly all officials, except judges, are elected by popular vote.

The legislature consists of a senate and a house of representatives, chosen every four years. It meets in regular session quadrennially, in special sessions in the middle of the interval to pass the appropriation and revenue bills, and in extraordinary session whenever the governor sees fit to call it. Revenue measures may originate in either house, but a three-fifths vote in each is necessary to their enactment. The constitution goes into minute detail in prohibiting local, private and special legislation.

The judiciary consists of a supreme court of three judges, thirteen (1908) circuit courts, seven (1908) chancery courts, county courts and justice of thelpeace courts. Under the constitution of 1890 the governor, with the consent of the senate, appoints supreme court judges for a term of nine years, and circuit and chancery judges for four years. The local judicial authorities are the county board of supervisors of five members and the justices of the peace.

The other county officials are the sheriff, coroner, treasurer, assessor, surveyor and superintendent of education. The superintendent is chosen by the state board of education except in those counties (now all or nearly all) in which the legislature has made the office elective. The courts have interpreted this to mean that the manner of selection need not be uniform (Wynn v. State, 67 Miss. 312), a rule which would possibly apply to other local offices. The intention seemed to be to permit the appointment of officials in counties and districts where there was any likelihood of negro supremacy.

Mississippi has taken a leading part in the movement to bring about the removal of the common law disabilities of married women, the first statute for that purpose having been passed in 1839. Under the present constitution they are "fully emancipated from all disability on account of coverture," and are placed on an equality with their husbands in acquiring and disposing of property and in making contracts relative thereto. A divorce may be granted only to one who has lived for at least one year in the state; among the recognized causes for divorce are desertion for two years, cruelty, insanity or physical incapacity at time of marriage, habitual drunkenness or excessive use of opium or other drugs, and the conviction of either party of felony. The homestead of a householder (with a family) who occupies it may be held exempt from sale for the collection of debts other than those for purchase-money, taxes, or improvements, or for the satisfaction of a judgment upon a forfeited recognizance or bail-bond, but a homestead so exempted is limited to $3000 in value and to 160 acres of land. A considerable amount of personal property, including furniture, a small library, provisions, tools, agricultural implements, livestock and the proceeds of a life insurance policy, is also exempt from seizure for the satisfaction of debts. Since 1909 the sale of intoxicating liquors has been prohibited by statute.

Penal and Charitable Institutions

The penitentiary at Jackson was established under an Act of 1836, was erected in 1838-1839, was opened in 1840, was burned by the Federals in 1863, and was rebuilt in 1866-1867. The board of control is composed of the governor, attorney-general and the three railroad commissioners. The convict lease system was abolished by the constitution of 1890 (the provision to take effect on the 31st of December 1894), and state farms were purchased in Rankin, Hinds and Holmes counties. As these were insufficient to give employment to all the prisoners, some were put to work on Yazoo Delta plantations on partnership contracts. Under an act of 1900, however, 13,889 acres of land were purchased in Sunflower county; and there and at Tchula, Holmes county, and at Oakley, Hinds county, the negro convicts - the white convicts are on the Rankin county farm - are kept on several large plantations, with saw-mills, cotton gins, &c. Under a law of 1906 these farm penitentiaries are controlled by a board of three trustees, elected by the people; they are managed by a superintendent, appointed once every four years by the governor. The charitable institutions of the state are supervised by separate boards of trustees appointed by the governor. The state insane hospital, opened at Jackson in 1856 (act of 1848), in time became overcrowded and the East Mississippi insane hospital was opened, 2 m. west of Meridian in 1885 (act of. 1882). The state institution for the education of the deaf and dumb (1854) and the state institution for the blind (1848) are at Jackson. State aid is given to the hospitals at Vicksburg and Natchez.

Education

Educational interests were almost entirely neglected during the colonial and territorial periods. The first school established in the state was Jefferson College, now Jefferson Military College, near Natchez, Adams county, incorporated in 1802. Charters were granted to schools in Claiborne, Wilkinson and Amite counties in 1809-1815, and to Port Gibson Academy and Mississippi College, at Clinton, in 1826. The public school system, established in 1846, never was universal, because of special legislation for various counties; public education was retarded during the Civil War and the Reconstruction period (when immense sums appropriated for schools were grossly mismanaged), but conditions gradually improved after 1875, especially through the concentration of schools. The sessions are still too short, teachers are poorly paid and attendance is voluntary. The long lack of normal training for white teachers (from 1870 to 1904 there was a normal school for negroes at Holly Springs) lasted until 1890, when a teacher's training course was introduced into the curriculum of the state university. There are separate schools for whites and blacks, and the equipment and service are approximately equal, although the whites pay about nine-tenths of the school taxes. The schools are subject to the supervision of a state superintendent of public education and of a board of education, composed of the superintendent, the secretary of state, and the attorney-general, and within each county to a county superintendent. The schools are supported by a poll-tax, by general appropriations, by local levies, and by the Chickasaw school fund. An act of Congress of the 3rd of March 1803 reserved from sale section sixteen of the public lands in each township for educational purposes. When the Chickasaws ceded their lands to the national government, in 1830 and in 1832, thestate made a claim to the sixteenth sections, and finally in 1856 received 174,550 acres - one thirty-sixth of the total cession of 6,283,804 acres. The revenue derived from the sales and leases of this land constitutes an endowment fund upon which the state as trustee pays 6% interest. It is used for the support of the schools in the old Chickasaw territory in the northern part of the state.

Among the institutions for higher education are the university of Mississippi (chartered 1844; opened 1848), at Oxford, which was opened to women in 1882; the Agricultural and Mechanical College (opened 1880), at Agricultural College, near Starkville, Oktibbeha county; the Industrial Institute and College for Girls (opened 1885), at Columbus; and the Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College for negroes (1871; reorganized in 1878), at Westside. In 1819 Congress granted thirty-six sections of public land for the establishment of a university. This land was sold in 1833 for $277,332.52, but the entire sum was lost in the failure of the Planters' Bank in 1840. In 1880 the state assumed liability for the full amount plus interest, and this balance, $544,061.23, now constitutes an endowment fund, upon' which the state pays 6% interest. Congress granted another township (thirty-six sections) for the university in 1892, and its income is supplemented by legislative appropriations for current expenses and special needs. The two agricultural and mechanical colleges were founded by the sale of public lands given by Congress under the Morrill Act of 1862. An agricultural experiment station established in 1887 under the Hatch Act, is at Agricultural College; and there are branch experiment stations at McNeill, Pearl River county (1906), near Holly Springs, and at Stoneville, near Greenville.

Finance

The chief sources of revenue are taxes on realty, personalty and corporations, a poll-tax, and licences. The more important expenditures are for public schools, state departments, educational and charitable institutions and pensions for Confederate veterans. The early financial history of the state is not very creditable. The Bank of Mississippi, at Natchez, incorporated by the Territorial legislature in 1809, was rechartered by the state in 1818, and was guaranteed a monopoly of the banking business until 1840. In violation of this pledge, and in the hope that a new bank would be more tractable than the Bank of Mississippi, the Planters' Bank was established at Natchez, in 1830, with a capital of $3,000,000, two-thirds of which was subscribed by the state. During the wild era of speculation which followed (especially in 1832 - upon the opening of the Chickasaw Cession to settlement) a large number of banks and railroad corporations with banking privileges were chartered. The climax was reached in 1838 with the incorporation of the Union Bank. This, the most pretentious of all the state banks of the period, was capitalized at $15,500,000. The state subscribed $5,000,000, which was raised on bonds sold to Nicholas Biddle, president of the United States Bank of Pennsylvania. As the Union Bank was founded in the midst of a financial panic and was mismanaged, its failure was a foregone conclusion. Agitation for repudiation was begun by Governor A. G. McNutt (1801-1848), and that question became the chief issue in the gubernatorial campaign of 1841, Tilghman M. Tucker (1802-1859), the Democratic candidate, representing the repudiators and David O. Shattuck, Whig, representing the anti-repudiators. The Democrats were successful, and the bonds were formally repudiated in 1842. In 1853 the High Court of Appeals and Errors of the state in the case of Mississippi v. Hezion Johnson (35 Miss. Reports, 625) decided unanimously that nothing could absolve the state from its obligation. The decision was disregarded, however, and in the same year the Planters' Bank bonds were also repudiated by popular vote. These acts of repudiation were sanctioned by the constitution of 1890. The $7,000,000 saved in this manner has doubtless been more than offset by the additional interest charges on subsequent loans, due to the loss of public confidence. Mississippi suffered less than most of the other Southern states during the Reconstruction period; but expenditures rose from $463,219.71 in 1869 to $1,729,046.34 in 1871. At the close of the Republican regime in 1876 its total indebtedness was $2,631,704.24, of which $814,743 belonged to the Chickasaw fund (see above) and $718,946.22 to the general school fund. As the principal of these funds is never to be paid, the real debt was slightly over $1,000,000. On the 1st of October 1907 the payable debt was $1,253,029.07, the non-payable $ 2 ,33 6, 1 97.5 8, 1 a total of $3,589,226.65. Since the Civil War the banking laws have become more stringent and the national banks have exercised a wholesome influence. There were, in 1906, 24 national banks and 269 state banks, but no trust companies, private banks or savings banks.

History

At the beginning of the 16th century the territory included in the present state of Mississippi was inhabited by three powerful native tribes: the Natchez in the south-west, the Choctaws in the south-east and centre, and the Chickasaws in the north. In addition, there were the Yazoos in the Yazoo valley, the Pascagoulas, the Biloxis, and a few weaker tribes on the borders of the Mississippi Sound. The history of Mississippi may be divided into the period of exploration (154 1699), the period of French rule (1699-1763), the period of English rule (1763-1781), the period of Spanish rule (1781-1798), the territorial period (1798-1817), and the period of statehood (1817 seq.).

Hernando de Soto and a body of Spanish adventurers crossed the Tombigbee river, in December 1540, near the present city of Columbus, marched through the north part of the state, and reached the Mississippi river near Memphis in 1541. In 1673 a French expedition organized in Canada under Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet sailed down the Mississippi to the mouth of the Arkansas, and nine years later (1682) Rene Robert Cavelier, sieur de la Salle, reached the mouth of the river, took formal possession of the country which it drains, and named it Louisiana in honour of Louis XIV. The first European settlement in Mississippi was founded in 1699 by Pierre Lemoyne, better known as Iberville, at Fort Maurepas (Old Biloxi) on the north side of Biloxi Bay, in what is now Harrison county. The site proving unfavourable, the colony was transferred to Twentyseven Mile Bluff, on the Mobile River, in 1702, and later to Mobile (1710). The oldest permanent settlements in the state are (New) Biloxi (c. 1712), situated across the bay from Old Biloxi and nearer to the Gulf, and Natchez or Fort Rosalie (1716). During the next few years Fort St Peter and a small adjoining colony were established on the Yazoo River in Warren county, and some attempts at settlement were made on Bay St Louis and Pascagoula Bay. The efforts (1712-1721) to foster colonization and commerce through trading corporations established by Antoine Crozat and John Law failed, and the colony soon came again under the direct control of the king. It grew very slowly, partly because of the hostility of the Indians and partly because of the incapacity of the French as colonizers. In1729-1730the Natchez tribe destroyed Fort St Peter, and some of the small outposts, and almost destroyed the Fort Rosalie (Natchez) settlement.

At the close of the Seven Years' War (1763) France ceded to Great Britain all her territory east of the Mississippi except New Orleans, and Spain ceded Florida to Great Britain. By a royal proclamation (Oct. 7, 1763) these new possessions were divided into East Florida and West Florida, the latter lying S. of the 3 ist parallel and W. of the Chattahoochee and Apalachicola rivers. Crown orders of 1764 and 1767 extended the limits N. to 1 The increase is due mainly to the assumption of the university obligations in 1880.

a line due E. from the mouth of the Yazoo at about 32° 28' N. lat. Under English rule there was an extensive immigration into this region from England, Ireland, Georgia and South Carolina. A settlement was made on the Big Black, 17 m. from its mouth, in 1774 by Phineas Lyman (1716-1774) of Connecticut and other "military adventurers," veterans of the Havana campaign of 1762; this settlement was loyal during the War of Independence. Spain took military possession in 1781, and in the Treaty of Paris (1783) both of the Floridas were ceded back to her. But Great Britain recognized the claims of the United States to the territory as far south as the 31st parallel, the line of 1763. Spain adhered to the line of 1764-1767, and retained possession of the territory in dispute. Finally, in the treaty of San Lorenzo el Real (ratified 1796) she accepted the 1763 (31°) boundary, and withdrew her troops in 1798. Mississippi Territory was then organized, with Winthrop Sargent as governor. The territorial limits were extended on the north to the state of Tennessee in 1804 by the acquisition of the west cessions of South Carolina and Georgia, and on the south to the Gulf of Mexico by the seizure of West Florida in 1810-1813, 1 but were restricted on the east by the formation of the Territory of Alabama in 1817. Just after the uprising of1729-1730the French, with the help of the Choctaws, had destroyed the Natchez nation, and the shattered remnants were absorbed by the neighbouring tribes. The Chickasaws ceded their lands to the United States in 1816 and the Choctaws theirs in 1830-1832; and they removed to the Indian Territory. The smaller tribes have been exterminated, absorbed or driven farther west.

An Enabling Act was passed on the 1st of March 1817, and the state was formally admitted into the Union on the 10th of December. The first state constitution (1817) provided a high property qualification for governor, senator and representative, and empowered the legislature to elect the judges and the more important state officials. In 1822 the capital was removed to Jackson from Columbia, Marion county. 2 The constitution of 1832 abolished the property qualification for holding office and provided for the popular election of judges and state officials. Mississippi thus became one of the first states in the Union to establish an elective judiciary. 3 The same constitution prohibited the importation of negro slaves from other states; but this prohibition was never observed, and the United States Supreme Court held that it was ineffective without an act of the legislature. On the death of John C. Calhoun in 1850 the state, under the leadership of Jefferson Davis, began to rival South Carolina as leader of the extreme pro-slavery States' Rights faction. There was a brief reaction: Henry Stuart Foote (1800-1880), Unionist, was elected governor in 1851 over Davis, the States' Rights candidate, and in the same year a Constitutional Convention had declared almost unanimously that "the asserted right of secession". .. "is utterly unsanctioned by the Federal Constitution." But the particularistic sentiment continued to grow. An ordinance of secession was passed on the 9th of January 1861, and the constitution was soon amended to conform to the new constitution of the Confederate States. During the Civil War battles were fought at Corinth (1862), Port Gibson (1863), Jackson (1863) and Vicksburg (1863). In 1865 President Johnson appointed as provisional governor William Lewis Sharkey (1797-1873), who had been chief justice of the state in 1832-1850, and a convention which assembled on the 14th of August recognized the "destruction" of slavery and declared the ordinance of secession null and void. The first reconstruction legislature met on the 16th of October 1865, and at once proceeded to enact stringent vagrancy laws and other measures against the freedmen; these laws the North 1 South Carolina ceded its western lands to the United States in 1787 and Georgia in 1802. The government added them to Mississippi in 1804. The seizure of West Florida was supplemented by the treaty of 1819-1821, in which Spain surrendered all of her claims.

The seats of government have been Natchez (1798-1802), Washington (1802-1817), Natchez (1817-1821), Columbia (1821-1822), Jackson (1822 seq.).

This system proved unsatisfactory, and in 1869 was abandoned.

interpreted as an effort to restore slavery. Under the Reconstruction Act of the 2nd of March 1867 Mississippi with Arkansas formed the fourth military district, commanded successively by Generals E. O. C. Ord (1867), Alvan C. Gillem (1868) and Irvin McDowell (June-July 1868), and by Gillem (1868-1869) and Adelbert Ames (1869-1870). The notorious "Black and Tan Convention" of 1868 adopted a constitution which conferred suffrage upon the negroes and by the imposition of test oaths disfranchised the leading whites. It was at first rejected at the polls, but was finally ratified in November 1869 without the disfranchising clauses. The fourteenth and fifteenth amendments to the Fedc al Constitution were ratified in 1870, and the state was formally readmitted into the Union on the 23rd of February of that year.

From 1870 to 1875 the government was under the control of "carpet-baggers," negroes and the most disreputable element among the native whites. Taxes were increased - expenditure increased nearly threefold between 1869 and 1871 - and there was some official corruption; but the state escaped the heavy burden of debt imposed upon its neighbours, partly because of the higher character of its reconstruction governors, and partly because its credit was already impaired by the repudiation of obligations contracted before the war. The Democrats carried the legislature in 1875, and preferred impeachment charges against Governor Adelbert Ames (b. 1835), a native of Maine, a graduate of the United States Military Academy (1861), a soldier in the Union army, and military governor of Mississippi in 1868-1870. The lieutenant-governor, A. K. Davis, a negro, was impeached and was removed from office; T. W. Cardoza, another negro, superintendent of education under Ames, was impeached on twelve charges of malfeasance, but was permitted to resign. Governor Ames, when the impeachment charges against him were dismissed on the 29th of March 1876, immediately resigned. The whites maintained their supremacy by very dubious methods until the adoption of the constitution of 1890 made it no longer necessary. The state has always been Democratic in national politics, except in the presidential elections of 1840 (Whig) and 1872 (Republican). The electoral vote was not counted in 1864 and 1868.

Governors

Territorial Period (1798-1817).

Winthrop Sargent..1798-1801William C. C. Claiborne1801-1805Robert Williams1805-1809David Holmes1809-1817Statehood Period (1817 seq.).

David Holmes Democrat1817-1820George Poindexter.. „1820-1822Walter Leake. Democrat (died in office)1822-1825Gerard C. Brandon (ad int.). Democrat1825-1826David Holmes. Democrat (resigned) 1826 Gerard C. Brandon (ad int. 1826-1828) 1826-1832 Abram M. Scott Democrat (died in office) 1832-1833 Charles Lynch 4 (ad int.). .. Democrat 1833 Hiram G. Runnels „1833-1835John Anthony Quitman (ad int.) Whig1835-1836Charles Lynch Democrat1836-1838Alexander Gallatin McNutt. „1838-1842Tilghman M. Tucker.. „1842-1844Albert Gallatin Brown. „1844-1848Joseph W. Matthews John Anthony Quitman 51850-1851John Isaac Guion 6 (ad int.).. 1851 James Whitfield (ad int.)..1851-1852Henry Stuart Foote Unionist1852-1854John Jones Pettus 7 (ad int.). Democrat 1854 John J. McRae. ..1854-1857William McWillie1857-1859John Jones Pettus1859-18634 Under the constitution of 1832 the president of the senate succeeded the governor in case of a vacancy.

6 Governor Quitman resigned because of charges against him of aiding Lopez's expedition against Cuba.

On the 4th of November the term for which Guion had been elected as a senator expired and he was succeeded in the governorship by Whitfield, elected by the senate to be its president.

7 Served from the 5th of January (when Foote resigned) to the 10th, when McRae was inaugurated.

Charles Clark' Democrat1863-1865William Lewis Sharkey. ... Provisional 1865 Benjamin Grubb Humphreys 2. Republican1865-1868Adelbert Ames.. Republican (Military Governor)1868-1870James Lusk Alcorn'.. Republican1870-1871Ridgley Ceylon Powers (ad int.) „ Adelbert Ames 4 „ John Marshall Stone (ad int. 1876-78) Democrat Robert Lowry „ J. M. Stone Anselm Joseph McLaurin Andrew Houston Longino James Kimble Vardaman Edmund Favor Noel .

See T. A. Owen, "A Biography of Mississippi," in the Annual Report of the American Historical Association, 1 899, i. 633-828 (Washington, 1900); "Report of the Mississippi Historical Commission" in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, v. 52310 (Oxford, Miss., 1902). J. F. H. Claiborne's Mississippi as a Province, Territory and State (Jackson, 1880), gives the best account of the period before the Civil War. R. Lowry and W. H. McCardle, History of Mississippi (New York, 1893), is useful for local history. Of most value for the history are the writings of P. J. Hamilton, J. W. Garner and F. L. Riley. Hamilton's Colonial Mobile (Boston and New York, 1898), and the Colonization of the South (Philadelphia, 1904) are standard authorities for the French and English periods (1699-1781). Garner's Reconstruction Mississippi (New York, 1902) is judicial, scholarly and readable. Most of Riley's work is in the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society (Oxford, 1898 seq.), which he edited; see his Spanish Policy in Mississippi-after the Treaty of San Lorenzo, i. 50-66; Location of the Boundaries of Mississippi, iii. 167-184; and Transition from Spanish to American Rule in Mississippi, iii. 261-311. There is much material in the Encyclopaedia of Mississippi History (2 vols., Madison, Wisconsin, 1907), edited by Dunbar Rowland. There is a state Department of Archives and History


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

Contents

English

Map of US highlighting Mississippi

Etymology

From Ojibwe misi-ziibi (great river) or gichi-ziibi (big river).

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Mississippi

Plural
-

Mississippi

  1. A state of the United States of America.. Capital Jackson: Postal abbreviation: MS
  2. (geography) A major river in North America that rises in Minnesota and flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

Interjection

Mississippi

  1. Used to count out a time of about one second, especially in games.
    • 1996, “Cheers & Jeers”, in Field and Stream, v 101, September, p 12:
      Any reader who uses the old “One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, etc.” method to estimate distance to a storm, and doesn't get any further than a count of five to eight had better be in a safe shelter.

Noun

Singular
Mississippi

Plural
Mississippis

Mississippi (plural Mississippis)

  1. A recitation of “Mississippi” (interjection).
    • 1997, George Clark, The Small Bees’ Honey: Stories, Buffalo, NY: White Pine Press, p 129:
      I counted five Mississippis between each flash of lightning and the thunder crash that followed.

Synonyms

  • (state): the Magnolia State, the Hospitality State (nicknames)
  • (river): the Big Muddy (also more commonly used for the Missouri), Big River, Body of a Nation, El Grande, El Grande de Soto, the Father of Waters, the Gathering of Waters, the Great River, the Mighty Mississippi, the Muddy Mississippi, Old Man River (nicknames)

Derived terms

Translations

See also


Genealogy

Up to date as of February 01, 2010

From Familypedia

State of Mississippi
Flag of Mississippi State seal of Mississippi
Flag of Mississippi SealImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Nickname(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: The Magnolia State, The Hospitality State
Motto(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: Virtute et armis (By Valor and Arms)
Map of the United States with Mississippi highlighted
Official language(s)Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif English
CapitalImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Jackson
Largest cityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Jackson
Largest metro areaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Jackson metropolitan area
AreaImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 32ndImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total 48,434 sq miImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
(125,443 km²Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Width 170 miles (275 kmImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif)
 - Length 340 miles (545 km)
 - % water 3
 - Latitude 30° 12′ N to 35° N
 - Longitude 88° 06′ W to 91° 39′ W
PopulationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  Ranked 31stImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
 - Total (2000Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif) 2,910,540
 - DensityImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif 60.7/sq mi 
23.42/km² (32nd)
ElevationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  
 - Highest point Woodall Mountain[1]
806 ft  (246 m)
 - Mean 300 ft  (91 m)
 - Lowest point Gulf of Mexico[1]
0 ft  (0 m)
Admission to UnionImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif  December 10, 1817 (20th)
GovernorImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Haley Barbour (R)
U.S. SenatorsImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Thad Cochran (R)
Trent Lott (R)
Congressional DelegationImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif ListImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Time zoneImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations MSImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif Miss.Image:Wp_globe_tiny.gif US-MSImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif
Web site www.mississippi.gov

Mississippi (IPA: /ˌmɪsɨˈsɪpi/) is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. The state takes its name from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary.

Contents

Geography

Mississippi is bordered on the north by the state of Tennessee, on the east by Alabama, on the south by Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico, and on the west by Louisiana and Arkansas (across the Mississippi River).

Major rivers include Mississippi River, Big Black River, Pearl River, Yazoo River, Pascagoula River, and Tombigbee River. Major lakes include Ross Barnett Reservoir, Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake, and Grenada Lake.

Mississippi State Map

The highest point in Mississippi, part of the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains is Woodall Mountain. Hardly a mountain, Woodall Mountain is only 806 feet (246 m) above sea level. The lowest point is along the shore at the Gulf of Mexico; sea level. The Mean Elevation is 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.

Most of Mississippi is part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain, and the rest of the state is made up of a section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. The East Gulf Coastal Plain is generally composed of low hills, such as the Pine Hills in the south and the North Central Hills. Somewhat higher elevations are in the Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills in the northeast. Yellow-brown loess soil is in the west, and a region of fertile black earth, part of the Black Belt, is in the northeast. The coastline, which includes large bays at Bay Saint Louis, Biloxi, and Pascagoula, is separated from the Gulf of Mexico proper by the shallow Mississippi Sound, which is partially enclosed by Petit Bois, Horn, Ship, and Cat islands. The Mississippi Alluvial Plain, known also as the Mississippi Delta, is narrow in the south and widens north of Vicksburg. The region has rich soil, partly made up of silt deposited by floodwaters of the Mississippi River.

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:

Climate

Mississippi has a hot humid subtropical climate with long summers and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about 82 °F (about 28 °C) in July and about 48 °F (about 9 °C) in January. The temperature varies little across the state in summer, but in winter the region near Mississippi Sound is significantly warmer than most of the rest of the state. The recorded temperature in Mississippi has ranged from -19 °F (-28.3 °C), in 1966, at Corinth in the northeast, to 115 °F (46.1 °C), in 1930, at Holly Springs in the north. Yearly precipitation generally increases from north to south. Thus, Clarksdale, in the northwest, gets about 50 inches (about 1,270 mm) of precipitation annually and Biloxi, in the south, about 61 inches (about 1,550 mm). Small amounts of snow fall in northern and central Mississippi, although snow is not unheard of around the southern part of the state.

In the late summer and the fall, the state (especially the southern part) is often affected by hurricanes moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, and occasionally impacted by major hurricanes, which can be quite devastating in coastal communities. Thunderstorms are common in Mississippi, especially in the southern part of the state. On average, Mississippi has around 27 tornadoes annually with the northern part of the state more vulnerable earlier in the year and the southern part becoming more vulnerable a little later.

Monthly Normal High and Low Temperatures For Various Mississippi Cities
City Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Jackson 55/35 60/38 68/45 75/52 82/61 89/68 91/71 91/70 86/65 77/52 66/43 58/37
Meridian 58/35 63/38 70/44 77/50 84/60 90/67 93/70 93/70 88/64 78/51 68/43 60/37
Tupelo 50/30 56/34 65/41 74/48 81/58 88/66 91/70 91/68 85/62 75/49 63/40 54/33
[1]

Ecology

Mississippi is heavily forested, with over half of the state's area covered by wild trees (mostly pine trees, but Mississippi has an abundance of other trees) (cottonwood, elm, hickory, oak, pecan, sweet gum, and tupelo). Lumber is a prevalent industry in Mississippi.

Early planters used slaves to build levees along the Mississippi River to divert flooding. They built on top of the natural levees that formed from dirt pushed up in flooding. As cultivation of cotton increased in the Delta, planters hired Irish laborers to ditch and drain their land. The state took over levee building from 1858-1861, accomplishing it through contractors. Planters considered their slaves too valuable to hire out for such dangerous work. Contractors hired gangs of Irish immigrant laborers to build levees and sometimes clear land.[2]Before the war, the earthwork levees averaged six feet in height, although in some areas they reached twenty feet.

The system was expanded after the flood of 1882. By 1884 the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District was established to oversee levee construction and maintenance. [3]

History

{{Wikipedia:WikiProject_Mississippi/MississippiSymbols}}

Mississippi was part of the Mississippian culture in the early part of the 2nd millennium AD; descendant Native American tribes include the Chickasaw and Choctaw. Other tribes who inhabited the territory of Mississippi (and whose names became those of local towns) include the Natchez, the Yazoo, and the Biloxi.

The first European expedition into the territory that became Mississippi was that of Hernando de Soto, who passed through in 1540. The first settlement was Fort Maurepas (or Old Biloxi) at Ocean Springs, settled by Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville in April 1699. In 1716, Natchez was founded on the Mississippi River (as Fort Rosalie); it became the dominant town and trading post of the area. After spending some time under Spanish, British, and French nominal jurisdiction, the Mississippi area was deeded to the British after the French and Indian War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris.

The Mississippi Territory was organized on April 7, 1798, from territory ceded by Georgia and South Carolina. It was later twice expanded to include disputed territory claimed by both the U.S. and Spain. Land was purchased (generally through unequal treaties) from Native American tribes from 1800 to about 1830.

Mississippi was the 20th state admitted to the Union, on December 10, 1817.

When cotton was king during the 1850s, Mississippi plantation owners—especially those of the Delta and Black Belt regions—became increasingly wealthy due to the high fertility of the soil, the high price of cotton on the international market, and their assets in slaves. The planters' dependence on hundreds of thousands of slaves for labor, and the severe wealth imbalances among whites played heavy roles in both state politics and in the support for secession. By 1860 the enslaved population numbered 436,631 or 55% of the state's total of 791,305. There were fewer than 1000 free people of color.[4]The relatively low population before the Civil War reflected the fact that much of the state was still frontier and needed more settlers for development.

Mississippi was the second state to secede from the Union as one of the Confederate States of America on January 9, 1861. During the Civil War the Confederate States were defeated.

During Reconstruction the first constitutional convention in 1868 framed a constitution whose major elements would last for 22 years. The convention was the first political organization to include colored representatives, 17 among the 100 members. Although 32 counties had Negro majorities, they elected whites as well as Negroes to represent them. The convention adopted universal suffrage; did away with property qualifications for suffrage or for office, which benefited poor whites, too; provided for the state's first public school system; forbade race distinctions in the possession and inheritance of property; and prohibited limiting of civil rights in travel.[5]

Under the terms of Reconstruction, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union on February 23, 1870.

Mississippi was considered to typify the Deep South during the era of Jim Crow. This was not the full story, however. Because Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana contained so much bottomland which had not been farmed, away from the river settlements African Americans achieved more land ownership than expected. There developed a surprisingly high proportion of black land owners in the 1870s and 1880s. By the turn of the century, two-thirds of the farmers (in numbers) who owned land in the Delta were African American. Their clearing and development of the land made it valuable.[6]

Disfranchisement of African Americans, a series of increasingly restrictive racial segregation laws enacted during the first part of the 20th century, and failure of the cotton crops due to boll weevil infestation resulted in the emigration to the North to other opportunities of almost half a million people, three-quarters of them black, in the 1940s.

Mississippi became a center of rich, quintessentially American music traditions: gospel music, country music, jazz, blues, and rock and roll all were invented, promulgated, or heavily developed by Mississippi musicians. Mississippi was also noted for its authors in the early twentieth century, especially William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams.

Mississippi was a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement. Through the actions and attitudes of many white politicians (Including the creation of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission), the involvement of many Mississippians in the White Citizens' Council movement, and the violent tactics of the Ku Klux Klan and its sympathizers, Mississippi gained a reputation in the 1960s as a reactionary state.[2]

The state was the last to repeal prohibition (in 1966). It symbolically adopted the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, in 1995. These amendments were still in effect in Mississippi even before their ratification there.

On August 17, 1969, Category 5 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage (1969 dollars). On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina, though a Category 3 storm upon final landfall, caused even greater destruction across the entire 90 miles (145 km) of Mississippi Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Alabama.

On August 30, 2007, a report by the Census Bureau indicated that Mississippi is the poorest state in the country. The state had a median household income of $34,473[7].

Demographics

Mississippi Population Density Map

Population

As of 2005, Mississippi has an estimated population of 2,921,088, which is an increase of 20,320, or 0.7%, from the prior year and an increase of 76,432, or 2.7%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 80,733 people (that is 228,849 births minus 148,116 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 75 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United States resulted in a net increase of 10,653 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 10,578 people. Mississippi has the highest Black population of any U.S. state. It currently stands at about 37% of the population.

Racial makeup and ancestry

The Census Bureau considers race and Hispanic ethnicity to be two separate categories. These data, however, are only for non-Hispanic members of each group: non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, etc. For more information on race and the Census, see here. {{US DemogTable|Mississippi|03-28.csv|= | 62.37| 36.66| 0.69| 0.82| 0.07|= | 1.12| 0.24| 0.04| 0.03| 0.01|= | 61.72| 37.24| 0.72| 0.91| 0.07|= | 1.50| 0.21| 0.04| 0.03| 0.01|= | 1.62| 4.33| 7.13| 13.67| 2.89|= | 0.96| 4.43| 7.21| 14.21| 6.30|= | 37.78| -11.11| 5.70| -1.51| -13.43}} Until the 1930s, African Americans made up a majority of Mississippians. Due to the Great Migration, the state's African American population declined. It is the highest proportion of state population in the nation (not counting the District of Columbia). Recently it has begun to increase again, due mainly to a higher birthrate than the state average. In many of Mississippi's public school districts, a majority of students are black. [5] Blacks are a majority in the northwestern Yazoo Delta, the southwestern, and the central parts of the state, chiefly areas where they had worked on cotton plantations and farming.

More than 98% of the white population of Mississippi is native born, predominantly of British and Celtic descent. According to the 2000 census, the largest ancestries are:

  • Flag of the United States American (14.2%)
  • Template:Country data Republic of Ireland Irish (6.9%)
  • Template:Country data England English (6.1%)
  • Template:Country data Germany German (4.5%)
  • Flag of France French (2.3%)
  • Template:Country data Ulster Scots-Irish (1.9%)
  • Template:Country data Italy Italian (1.4%)
  • Template:Country data Scotland Scottish (1.2%)

People of French Creole ancestry form the largest demographic group in Hancock County on the Gulf Coast. The African American; Choctaw, mostly in Neshoba County; and Chinese segments of the population are also almost entirely native born.

Although some ethnic Chinese were recruited as indentured laborers from Cuba during the 1870s and later 19th c., the majority immigrated directly from China to Mississippi between 1910-1930. While planters first made arrangements with the Chinese for sharecropping, most Chinese soon left that work. Many became small merchants and especially grocers in towns throughout the Delta.[8]

According to recent statistics, Mississippi leads the country in the growth of immigrants.

Obesity

For three years in a row over 30 percent of Mississippi's residents have been classified as obese. In the most recent (2006), 22.8 percent of its children were also classified as obese.[9]

Gay and lesbian community

In response to a murder and anti-gay legislation to ban same-sex couples in the state from adopting children, a statewide gay rights organization was formed in March of 2000. First called the Mississippi Gay Lobby, it changed its name in 2001 to the more inclusive Equality Mississippi.

Of Mississippi’s same-sex couples, 41% have one or more child. This figure is higher in Mississippi than in any other state. Further, Mississippi has a larger percentage of African-American same-sex couples among total households than does any other state. Additionally, Mississippi ranks number 5 in the nation in the percentage of Hispanic same-sex couples among all Hispanic households. Mississippi ranks number 9 nationally among states with the highest concentration of same-sex couples who are seniors.[10]

In 2004, Mississippi voters approved a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. The amendment also prohibited Mississippi from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states and countries, where it may be legal.[11]

Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Mississippi's total state product in 2003 was $72 billion. Per capita personal income in 2005 was $33,569, 50th in the nation (ranking includes the District of Columbia), but the cost of living in Mississippi is one of the lowest in the country. In contrast to one of the lowest per capita income rates in the United States, Mississippians consistently rank as one of the highest per capita in charitable contributions Generosity Index

Mississippi's rank as one of the poorest states is related to its dependence on agriculture before and after the Civil War, a failure to build railroads to link its towns and river cities, the segregation and disfranchisement of African Americans after the war, and its refusal for years to build human capital by educating and encouraging abilities of all its citizens. Before the war, Mississippi was the fifth-wealthiest state in the nation. [12] Slaves were then counted as property and the rise in the cotton markets since the 1840s had increased their value. More than half the population of Mississippi was enslaved in 1860, with the overwhelming number of them African Americans. In non-slave states, human capital was not included in estimates of wealth. Further, Mississippi's antebellum wealth rank should not be compared with today's GDP rank, which is an estimate of income. Wealth and income are separate concepts.

The war cost the state 30,000 men. Changes to the labor structure and an agricultural depression throughout the South caused severe losses in wealth to the planter class. In 1860 assessed valuation of property in Mississippi had been more than $500,000,000, of which $218,000,000 was estimated as the value of slaves. By 1870 the remainder of assets had decreased in value to $177,278,890. [13]

Poor whites and landless freedmen suffered even more from poverty in the early postwar years. The constitutional convention of early 1868 appointed a committee to recommend what was needed for relief of the state and its citizens. The committee found severe destitution among the laboring classes, with 30,000-40,000 people in distress.[14]

Union troops left widespread destruction in their wake. It took years for the state to rebuild levees damaged in the widespread battle of Vicksburg and this took much available capital. The upset of the commodity system impoverished the state after the war. By 1868 an increased cotton crop began to show possibilities for free labor in the state, but the crop of 565,000 bales produced in 1870 was still less than half that of 1860.[15]

It was not until after the flood of 1882 that the state created the Mississippi-Yazoo Delta District Levee Board and started successfully achieving longer term plans for levees in the upper Delta.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 caused massive flooding of 27,000 square miles throughout the Delta and millions of dollars in property damages. With the Depression coming so soon after the flood, the state suffered badly during those years. Tens of thousands of people left for jobs and chances elsewhere.

The legislature's 1990 decision to legalize casino gambling along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast has led to economic gains for the state. An estimated $500,000 per day in tax revenue was lost following Hurricane Katrina's severe damage to several coastal casinos in August 2005. Gambling towns in Mississippi include the Gulf Coast towns of Bay Saint Louis, Gulfport and Biloxi, and the Mississippi River towns of Tunica (the third largest gaming area in the United States), Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez. Before Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast, Mississippi was the second largest gambling state in the Union, after Nevada and ahead of New Jersey.

On October 17, 2005, Governor Haley Barbour signed a bill into law that now allows casinos in Hancock and Harrison counties to rebuild on land (but within 800 feet of the water). The only exception is in Harrison County, where the new law states that casinos can be built to the southern boundary of U.S. Route 90.

Mississippi collects personal income tax in three tax brackets, ranging from 3% to 5%. The retail sales tax rate in Mississippi is 7%. Additional local sales taxes also are collected. For purposes of assessment for ad valorem taxes, taxable property is divided into five classes.

Mississippi's balance of payments

Mississippi is highly dependent on the Federal government. It depends on donor states such as New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and California for its fiscal well-being. In Fiscal year 2004 , Mississippi paid $11.5 Billion dollars in taxes to the Federal government but received $22.3 Billion dollars back link Amount of Money given and returned to the Federal Government by states . This means that for every $1 dollar Mississippi taxpayers give to the Federal government, they get $1.71 back.

Mississippi is among the states that are the greatest beneficiaries of Federal government programs, including agricultural subsidies.

Some state critics suggest Mississippi should take advantage of Federal spending by increasing Medicaid spending. For example, if Mississippi were to spend $1 on Medicaid , then the Federal government would give it $3.50 for every dollar spent link Study of imbalance of payments to the Federal Government and what states do or don't do. In contrast, if New York spends $1 on Medicaid, the federal government would only give them $1. This is in part because Medicaid funding formulas are based on per capita income and not the number of people who live in poverty. This policy has been criticized by politicians such as Senator Dianne Feinstein, whose state has a large number of people living in poverty link and has been pointed out by the General Accounting Office link Medicaid Matching Funds Study. Mississippi limits spending on social services and anti-poverty programs link Mississippi Poor leave welfare but for what?

Despite politicians' rhetoric and criticism of the current system, it is true that Mississippi would lose a lot if it weren't for Federal payments, including agricultural subsidies. In fact certain states have the most to gain. As a result Mississippi has a low tax burden. Due to its high sales tax that applies to even groceries, it has been ranked closer to middle of the pack rather than in the Top 15 or so link Mississippi tax burden. Alabama has a similar situation to Mississippi link Alabama Tax Burden.

It should be noted that this policy is favored by people who favor increased social spending as long as a lot of money is being spent (i.e., is the state spending as much money as it could and should be spending since federal formulas favor it). Some states tend not to spend the money that they could spend even though funding formulas are favored for it. Mississippi tends to limit benefits due to the fact that despite the formula, it is still a poor state. Unlike other states, Mississippi's funding formula is based on lower per capita income.

Transportation

Road

Mississippi is served by eight interstate highways:

and fourteen main U.S. Routes:

as well as a system of State Highways. Two further interstate highways are proposed: Interstate 69 and Interstate 269.

For more information, visit the Mississippi Department of Transportation website.

Rail

Amtrak provides scheduled passenger service along two routes.

Canadian National Railroad's Illinois Central Railroad subsidiary provides north-south service.

The BNSF Railway has an east-west line across northern Mississippi.

Kansas City Southern provides east-west service in the middle of thee state and north-south service along the Alabama state line.

Norfolk Southern provides service in the extreme north and southeast, while CSX has a line along the Gulf Coast.

Water

Major rivers

Major lakes

  • Arkabutla Lake - 19,550 acres of water; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[16]
  • Grenada Lake - 35,000 acres of water; became operational in 1954; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[17]
  • Ross Barnett Reservoir - Named for Ross R. Barnett, the 52nd Governor of Mississippi; 33,000 acrs of water; became operational in 1966; constructed and managed by The Pearl River Valley Water Supply District, a state agency; Provides water supply for the City of Jackson; Commonly referred to by locals as "The Rez"[18]
  • Sardis Lake - 98,520 acres of water; became operational in October 1940; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District[19]

Air

The following airports in Mississippi currently have scheduled air service:

Of these airports, Gulfport-Biloxi, Jackson and Tupelo are the only airports to have daily scheduled service to multiple destinations; the remaining airports only have non-stop service via commuter aircraft to either Northwest Airlines' hub at Memphis International Airport or Delta Air Lines' hub at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Northwestern Mississippi is also served by Memphis International Airport.

Law and government

As with all other U.S. States and the federal government, Mississippi's government is based on the separation of legislative, executive and judicial power. Executive authority in the state rests with the Governor, currently Haley Barbour (Republican). The Lieutenant Governor, currently Amy Tuck (originally elected as a Democrat, she switched to the Republican Party in 2002), is elected on a separate ballot. Both the governor and lieutenant governor are elected to four-year terms of office. Unlike the federal government, but like many other U.S. States, most of the heads of major executive departments are elected by the citizens of Mississippi rather than appointed by the governor.

Mississippi is one of only five states that elects its state officials in odd numbered years (The others are Kentucky, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Virginia). Mississippi holds elections for these offices every 4 years in the years preceding Presidential election years. Thus, the last year when Mississippi elected a Governor was 2003; the next gubernatorial election will occur in 2007, with future gubernatorial elections to take place in 2011, 2015, 2019, etc.

(See: List of Governors of Mississippi)
(See: List of Lt. Governors of Mississippi)
(See: List of State Treasurers of Mississippi)
(See: List of Attorneys-General of Mississippi)
(See: Mississippi general election results, 2003)

Legislative authority resides in the state legislature, composed of the Senate and House of Representatives. The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate, while the House of Representatives selects their own Speaker. The state constitution permits the legislature to establish by law the number of senators and representatives, up to a maximum of 52 senators and 122 representatives. Current state law sets the number of senators at 52 and representatives at 122. The term of office for senators and representatives is four years.

(See: List of state legislatures of the United States.)

Judicial branch

Supreme judicial authority rests with the state Supreme Court, which has statewide authority. In addition, there is a statewide Court of Appeals, as well as Circuit Courts, Chancery Courts and Justice Courts, which have more limited geographical jurisdiction. The nine judges of the Supreme Court are elected from three districts (three judges per district) by the state's citizens in non-partisan elections to eight-year staggered terms. The ten judges of the Court of Appeals are elected from five districts (two judges per district) for eight-year staggered terms. Judges for the smaller courts are elected to four-year terms by the state's citizens who live within that court's jurisdiction.

Federal representation

Mississippi has two U.S. senators, currently Trent Lott (Republican) and Thad Cochran (Republican).

As of the 2001 reapportionment, the state has four congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives, currently Chip Pickering (Republican), Bennie Thompson (Democrat), Gene Taylor (Democrat), and Roger Wicker (Republican).

(See: List of United States Representatives from Mississippi)

Mississippi has 82 counties. Citizens of Mississippi counties elect the five members of their county Board of Supervisors from single-member districts, as well as other county officials.

(See: List of Mississippi counties)

Politics

Federal politics

Presidential elections results
Year Republican Democrat
2004 59.55% 684,981 39.75% 458,094
2000 57.62% 573,230 40.70% 404,964
1996 49.21% 439,838 44.08% 394,022
1992 49.68% 487,793 40.77% 400,258
1988 59.89% 557,890 39.07% 363,921
1984 61.85% 581,477 37.46% 352,192
1980 49.42% 441,089 48.09% 429,281
1976 47.68% 366,846 49.56% 381,309
1972 78.20% 505,125 19.63% 126,782
1968* 13.52% 88,516 23.02% 150,644
1964 87.14% 356,528 12.86% 52,618
1960 24.67% 73,561 36.34% 108,362
*State won by George Wallace
of the American Independent Party,
at 63.46%, or 415,349 votes

Mississippi, like the rest of the South, long supported the Democratic Party. The policies of Reconstruction, which included federally appointed Republican governors, led to white Southern resentment toward the Republican Party. Following the Compromise of 1877, federal troops enforcing the provisions of Reconstruction were pulled out of the South. The Democratic Party regained political control of the state, using methods designed to suppress black voter turnout, which had understandably favored Republican candidates. In 1890 the Mississippi legislature was the first in the South to use a Grandfather Clause law to prevent freedmen from voting. After the law was declared unconstitutional, the state passed bills requiring voters to pay a poll tax and pass literacy tests as created by local boards. By 1900 these measures effectively disfranchised the vast majority of African Americans in the state. Not until 1966, following the passage of the Federal Voting Rights Act of 1965, would most African American men, and by then women, have the change to vote.

For 116 years (from 1876 to 1992), Mississippians only elected Democratic governors. Over the same period, the Democratic Party dominated state and federal elections in Mississippi. However, since the 1960s the Republican Party has become competitive in statewide elections. In recent years, it has become dominant in the state's federal elections, carrying the state's electoral votes in every election since 1980. Jimmy Carter was the last Democratic nominee to win in Mississippi, when he narrowly carried the state in 1976 by only 2 percentage points. Mississippi has elected Republican nominees 9 out of 11 times in presidential elections since 1960.

State politics

On some social issues, Mississippi is one of the more conservative states in the US, with religion often playing a large role in citizens' political views. Liquor laws are particularly strict and variable from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Liquor sales are frequently banned on Sunday. Many cities and counties allow no alcoholic beverage sales ("dry"), while others allow beer but not liquor, or liquor but not beer. Some allow beer sales, but only if it is not refrigerated.[20] In 2001, Mississippi banned adoption by same-sex couples and banned recognition of adoptions by same-sex couples which were done and recognized in other states or countries. In 2004, 86% of voter turnout amended the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage and ban state recognition of same-sex marriages which were done and recognized in other states and countries. At the same time, Mississippi has been one of the more innovative states in the country, having been the first state to implement a sales tax and the first state to pass a Married Women's Property Act. Also, Mississippi has more African American elected officials than any other state in the United States. Mississippi is one of only a few states to have decriminalized the possession of marijuana to a degree in that possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $100 - $250 for the first offense with no jail time.[6].

Major cities and towns

Fishing Boats in Biloxi

Mississippi City Population Rankings (U.S. Census Bureau estimates as of 2005)

1. Jackson (177,977)
2. Gulfport (72,464)
3. Biloxi (50,209)
4. Hattiesburg (47,176)
5. Meridian (39,968)
6. Southaven (38,840)
7. Greenville (38,724)
8. Tupelo (35,930)
9. Olive Branch (27,964)
10. Pascagoula (26,932)
11. Clinton (24,425)
12. Columbus (21,000)

(See: List of cities in Mississippi)
(See: List of towns and villages in Mississippi)
(See: List of metropolitan areas in Mississippi)
(See: List of micropolitan areas in Mississippi)

Education

Until the Civil War era, Mississippi had only a small number of schools and no educational institutions for blacks. The first school for blacks was established in 1862, and a system of public education was started in 1870, but as late as the early 20th century, there were few schools in rural areas. Blacks and whites attended separate public schools in Mississippi until the 1960s, when they began to be integrated following a 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional. In the late 1980s, the state had 954 public elementary and secondary schools, with a total yearly enrollment of about 369,500 elementary pupils and about 132,500 secondary students. Some 45,700 students attended private schools. In 2004, Mississippi was ranked last among the fifty states in academic achievement by the American Legislative Exchange Council's Report Card on Education, with the lowest average ACT scores and spending per pupil in the nation.

Colleges, universities and community colleges

(see: List of colleges and universities in Mississippi)

Music History

Mississippi has been historically significant in the development of the blues, especially the Delta region. Mississippi blues greats include: Bo Carter, Son House, Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Muddy Waters, Skip James, Bukka White, Tommy Johnson, Mississippi John Hurt, Willie Brown, Big Joe Williams, Willie Dixon, Howlin Wolf, Albert King, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Big Bill Broonzy, Jimmy Rogers, Bo Diddley, Otis Rush, Otis Spann, and B.B. King. Jimmie Rodgers, a white guitarist/singer/songwriter, known as the "Godfather of Country," also played a significant role in the development of the blues. He and Chester Arthur Burnett were friends and mutual admirers of each others' music, and it is rumored that it was Rodgers who gave him the nickname that he became known as, Howlin' Wolf. This friendship and respect is an important example of Mississippi's musical legacy. While the state has had a reputation for being the most racist in America, a claim that is not without justification, it also played a significant role in the integration of American music, combining the musical traditions from Africa with the musical traditions of white Southerners, a tradition that is largely rooted in Celtic music.

The Mississippi Blues Trail, now being implemented, is dedicating markers for historic sites such as Clarksdale's Riverside Hotel where Bessie Smith died after her auto accident on Highway 61. The Riverside Hotel is just one of many historical blues sites in Clarksdale.

The Delta Blues Museum is located in Clarksdale and is visited by people from all over the world. Close by is Ground Zero and Madidi, a blues club and restaurants co-owned by actor, Morgan Freeman.

Mississippi has been fundamental in the development of American music has a whole. Elvis Presley was a native of Tupelo, Mississippi, and country music, while its origins lie more in Tennessee than Mississippi, found its first superstar in Jimmie Rodgers, a native of Meridian. From famous alternative rock band 3 Doors Down to famous gulf and western singer Jimmy Buffet, Mississippi has a long and proud music history.

(see: List of people from Mississippi)

Famous Mississippians

Mississippi has produced a number of notable and famous individuals. From actors Jim Henson, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, James Earl Jones, Gerald McRaney, Parker Posey and Sela Ward to National Football League greats Archie Manning, Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Walter Payton, Deuce McAllister, and Steve McNair to authors William Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Tennessee Williams, John Grisham and Kevin Sessums to business leaders Jim Barksdale (founder of Netscape) and Robert "Bob" Pittman (founder and former President and CEO of MTV). Actors, artists, astronauts, authors, cooks, musicians, sports figures and more, Mississippi has contributed significantly to America's culture.

(see: List of people from Mississippi)

Miscellaneous topics

Children in the United States often count "One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi" during informal games such as hide and seek to approximate counting by seconds.

The Teddy Bear gets its name from a 1902 hunting trip to Sharkey County by President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt in which he refused to shoot a captured bear.

In 1936 Dr. Leslie Rush, of Rush Hospital in Meridian performed the first bone pinning in the United States. This led to the development of the "Rush Pin", which is still in use to this day.

The first woman Federal judge in the United States was Burnita Shelton Matthews of the Burnell community near Hazlehurst. She was appointed by Harry S. Truman on October 21, 1949.

The first human lung transplant was performed in 1963 by Dr. James D. Hardy of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. In 1964, Dr. Hardy performed the first heart transplant, transplanting the heart of a chimpanzee into a human, with some success. The heart continued to beat for 90 minutes.

Former astronaut and administrator of NASA Richard H. Truly is from Fayette. Educated in Mississippi and Georgia, Truly was in charge of reforming NASA (1989 to 1992) in the era immediately following the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. He was the first former astronaut to head NASA.

The world-renowned USA International Ballet Competition takes place in Jackson every four years.

Root beer was invented in Biloxi in 1898 by Edward Adolf Barq, the namesake of Barq's Root Beer.

The pledge to the State of Mississippi flag: "I salute the flag of Mississippi and the sovereign state for which it stands with pride in her history and achievements and with confidence in her future under the guidance of Almighty God."

Several warships have been named USS Mississippi in honor of this state.

Biloxi is home to one of two Mississippi-based professional ice hockey teams, the Mississippi Sea Wolves. The Sea Wolves are a minor league team based at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. The ECHL's 1998-1999 Kelly Cup Champions return to the ice for the 2007-2008 season after a two-year hiatus due to Hurricane Katrina damage in 2005 at the Coliseum.

Southhaven hosts the Mississippi RiverKings of the CHL, who changed their name from the Memphis Riverkings after an online fan vote to select a new team name.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Elevations and Distances in the United States. U.S Geological Survey (29 April 2005). Retrieved on November 6, 2006.
  2. ^ David R. Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class.New York: Verso, 1999, p.146
  3. ^ The New York Times, The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee Board: Physical development of a levee system, accessed 11/13/2007
  4. ^ http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/collections/stats/histcensus/php/state.php Historical Census Browser
  5. ^ W.E.B. DuBois,Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1935; reprint New York: The Free Press, 1998, p.437
  6. ^ John C. Willis, Forgotten Time: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta after the Civil War. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000
  7. ^ Les Christie (August 30, 2007). The Richest (and Poorest) Places in the U.S.. CNNMoney.com. Retrieved on 2007-09-22.
  8. ^ [www.oah.org/pubs/magazine/asianamerican/vivian-wong.html, Vivian Wu Wong,Magazine of History, "Somewhere between White and Black: The Chinese in Mississippi", v10, n4, pp33-36, Summer 1996, accessed 11/15/2007]
  9. ^ {{cite web |title=Mississippi heads list of fattest states |url=http://www.star-telegram.com/national_news/story/215983.html |author=Thomas M. Maugh |publisher=Los Angeles Times |date=[[2007-08-28|]]
  10. ^ Facts and Findings from The Gay and Lesbian Atlas
  11. ^ {{cite news |first= |last= |title=Amendment banning gay marriage passes |url=http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/vote2004/2004-11-02-ms-intiative-gay-marriage_x.htm |work=USA Today |date=[[2004-11-02|]]
  12. ^ "Mississippi Almanac Entry"., The New York Times Travel Almanac (2004)
  13. ^ W.E.B. DuBois,Black Reconstruction in America, 1860-1880. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1935; reprint New York: The Free Press, 1998, p.432
  14. ^ Du Bois, Ibid., p.437
  15. ^ Du Bois, Ibid., p.432 and 434
  16. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Arkabutla Lake
  17. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Grenada Lake
  18. ^ Ross Barnett Reservoir official web site
  19. ^ U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District: Sardis Lake
  20. ^ Proposed New Ordinances, [[Oxford, Mississippi|]; note section 5-23 paragraph (b), which states in part, "It shall be unlawful in the City of Oxford, Mississippi, for any owner, proprietor, manager or employee of any establishment which has a permit or privilege license authorizing the sale of light wine or beer at retail to... Sell, give or dispense or permit to be consumed any light wine or beer which has been refrigerated."]

External links

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Articles on this topic in other Wikimedia projects can be found at: Mississippi



CoordinatesImage:Wp_globe_tiny.gif: 33° N 90° W

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Mississippi. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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Subdivision of country United States  +

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Simple English

State of Mississippi
File:Flag of [[File:|100px|State seal of Mississippi]]
Flag of Mississippi Seal of Mississippi
Also called: The Magnolia State, The Hospitality State
Saying(s): Virtute et armis
Official language(s) English
Capital Jackson
Largest city Jackson
Area  Ranked 32nd
 - Total 48,434 sq mi
(125,443 km²)
 - Width 170 miles (275 km)
 - Length 340 miles (545 km)
 - % water 3
 - Latitude 30°13'N to 35°N
 - Longitude 88°7'W to 91°41'W
Number of people  Ranked 31st
 - Total (2010) {{{2010Pop}}}
 - Density {{{2010DensityUS}}}/sq mi 
{{{2010Density}}}/km² (32nd)
 - Average income  $33,659 (49th)
Height above sea level  
 - Highest point Woodall Mountain[1]
806 ft  (246 m)
 - Average 300 ft  (91 m)
 - Lowest point Gulf of Mexico[1]
0 ft  (0 m)
Became part of the U.S.  December 10, 1817 (20th)
Governor Haley Barbour (R)
U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R)
Trent Lott (R)
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5
Abbreviations MS US-MS
Web site www.mississippi.gov

Mississippi is one of the states of the United States. Its capital and largest city is Jackson. The state flower and tree are the magnolia. Other large cities are Biloxi, Greenville, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Meridian, Pascagoula, Southaven, Tupelo, and Vicksburg.

Other pages

References

frr:Mississippi








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