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Mississippi () is a
state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, Un ...
in the
Southeastern The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydrostatic equilibrium, rounded by its own gravity ...
region of the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, bordered to the north by
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...

Tennessee
; to the east by
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
; to the south by the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning ...

Gulf of Mexico
; to the southwest by
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
; and to the northwest by
Arkansas Arkansas () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegihan languages, Dhegiha Siouan la ...

Arkansas
. Mississippi's western boundary is largely defined by the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
. Mississippi is the 32nd largest and 34th-most populous of the 50 U.S. states.
Jackson Jackson may refer to: People * Jackson (name), including a list of people with the surname or given name, with nicknames including "Jackson" "Jacky" or "Jack" Places Australia *Jackson, Queensland, a town in the Maranoa Region *Jackson North, ...
is both the state's
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
and largest city.
Greater Jackson The Jackson, MS Metropolitan Statistical Area is a metropolitan area in the central region of the U.S. state of Mississippi that covers five counties: Copiah County, Mississippi, Copiah, Hinds County, Mississippi, Hinds, Madison County, Mississippi ...
is the state's most populous
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the cul ...
, with an estimated population of 580,166 in 2018. On December 10, 1817, Mississippi became the 20th state admitted to the Union. By 1860, Mississippi was the nation's top
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of s ...

cotton
-producing state and
slaves Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave, who is someone forbidden to quit their service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as their property. Slavery typically involves the enslaved per ...
accounted for 55% of the state population. Mississippi declared its
secession Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, ...
from the Union on January 9, 1861, and was one of the seven original
Confederate States The Confederate States of America (CSA), commonly referred to as the Confederate States or the Confederacy, was an unrecognized breakaway state in existence from February 8, 1861, to May 9, 1865, that fought against the United States of Ame ...

Confederate States
, which constituted the largest slaveholding states in the nation. Following the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
, it was restored to the Union on February 23, 1870. Until the Great Migration of the 1930s,
African Americans African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
were a majority of Mississippi's population. In 2010, 37.3% of Mississippi's population was African American, the highest percentage of any state. Mississippi was the site of many prominent events during the
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North ...
, including the
Ole Miss riot of 1962 The Ole Miss riot of 1962, or Battle of Oxford, was an incident of mob violence by proponents of racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racia ...
by white students objecting to desegregation, the 1963 assassination of
Medgar Evers Medgar Wiley Evers (July 2, 1925June 12, 1963) was an American activist in Mississippi, the state's field secretary for the , and a veteran who had served in the . He worked to overturn at the , end the segregation of public facilities, and e ...
, and the 1964
Freedom Summer murders The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, also known as the Freedom Summer murders, the Mississippi civil rights workers' murders or the Mississippi Burning murders, refers to three activists who were abducted and murdered in Neshoba Count ...
of three activists working on voting rights. Mississippi is almost entirely within the
Gulf coastal plain The Gulf Coastal Plain extends around the Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an oceanic basin, ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, largely surrounded by the North American continent. It is bounded o ...
, and generally consists of
lowland plains
lowland plains
and low hills. The northwest remainder of the state consists of the
Mississippi Delta The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo–Mississippi Delta, or simply the Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
, a section of the
Mississippi Alluvial Plain 150px, The Mississippi River Alluvial Plain is an alluvial plain created by the Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem), second-longest river and chief river of the second-la ...
. Mississippi's highest point is
Woodall Mountain Woodall Mountain is the highest natural point in the U.S. state of Mississippi at 806 feet (246 m). It is located just off Mississippi Highway 25, south of Iuka, Mississippi, Iuka in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, Tishomingo County in the northea ...
at 807 feet (246 m) above sea level adjacent to the
Cumberland Plateau 300px, Map showing the Cumberland Plateau in yellow as defined by Bailey's ecoregions. The Cumberland Plateau is the southern part of the Appalachian Plateau in the Appalachian Mountains The Appalachian Mountains, often called the Appalachians ...
; the lowest is the Gulf of Mexico. Mississippi has a
humid subtropical climate A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitude In geography Geograp ...
classification. Mississippi frequently ranks low among U.S. states in measures of health, education, and development, while ranking high in measures of poverty. The adage " Thank God for Mississippi" became popular due to these rankings and is often said by natives of other low-ranking U.S. states, as Mississippi's extremely low ranking usually spares those states from the shame of coming in last place.


Etymology

The state's name is derived from the
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
, which flows along and defines its western boundary. European-American settlers named it after the
Ojibwe The Ojibwe, Ojibwa, Chippewa, or Saulteaux are an Anishinaabe The Anishinaabe are a group of culturally related Indigenous peoples resident in what are now called Canada and the United States. They include the Odawa, Saulteaux, Ojibwe (inc ...
word ᒥᓯ-ᓰᐱ ''misi-ziibi'' ().


Geography

Mississippi is bordered to the north by
Tennessee Tennessee (, ), officially the State of Tennessee, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The S ...

Tennessee
, to the east by
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
, to the south by
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
and a narrow coast on the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning ...

Gulf of Mexico
; and to the west, across the Mississippi River, by Louisiana and
Arkansas Arkansas () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegihan languages, Dhegiha Siouan la ...

Arkansas
. In addition to its namesake, major rivers in Mississippi include the Big Black River, the
Pearl River The Pearl River, also known by its Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populati ...
, the
Yazoo River The Yazoo River is a river in the U.S. states of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is considered by some to mark the southern boundary of what is called the Mississippi Delta, a broad floodplain that was cultivated for cotton plantations before the ...
, the
Pascagoula RiverImage:Pascagoularivermap.png, 250 px The Pascagoula River is a river, about 80 miles (130 km) long, in southeastern Mississippi in the United States. The river drains an area of about 8,800 square miles (23,000 km²) and flows into Mississ ...
, and the
Tombigbee River The Tombigbee River is a tributary of the Mobile River, approximately 200 mi (325 km) long, in the U.S. states of Mississippi Mississippi () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of ...
. Major lakes include
Ross Barnett Reservoir The Ross Barnett Reservoir is a reservoir A reservoir (; from French language, French ''réservoir'' ) is most commonly an enlarged natural or artificial lake created using a dam to water storage, store water. Reservoirs can be created in a n ...
, Arkabutla,
Sardis Sardis () or Sardes (; Lydian Lydian may refer to: * Lydians, an ancient people of Anatolia * Lydian language, an ancient Anatolian language * Lydian alphabet ** Lydian (Unicode block) * Lydian (typeface), a decorative typeface * Lydian dominan ...
, and
Grenada Grenada ( ; Grenadian Creole French: ) is an island country in the West Indies The West Indies are a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "ea ...
, with the largest being Sardis Lake. Mississippi is entirely composed of
lowland Upland and lowland are conditional descriptions of a plain In geography Geography (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Re ...
s, the highest point being
Woodall Mountain Woodall Mountain is the highest natural point in the U.S. state of Mississippi at 806 feet (246 m). It is located just off Mississippi Highway 25, south of Iuka, Mississippi, Iuka in Tishomingo County, Mississippi, Tishomingo County in the northea ...
, at above
sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of the numbers divided by how many numbers are in th ...

sea level
, in the northeastern part of the state. The lowest point is sea level at the
Gulf Coast The Gulf Coast of the United States is the coastline The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the sea or ocean, or as a line that forms the boundary between the land and the ocean T ...

Gulf Coast
. The state's mean elevation is above sea level. Most of Mississippi is part of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. The
coastal plain A coastal plain is flat, low-lying land adjacent to a sea coast. A fall line A fall line (or fall zone) is the area where an upland region and a coastal plain meet and is typically prominent where rivers cross it, with resulting rapids or water ...
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 A fall line (or fall zone) is the area where an upland region and a coastal plain meet and is typically prominent where rivers cross it, with resulting rapids or waterfalls. The uplands are relatively hard Basement (geology), crystalline basement r ...
Hills in the northeast have somewhat higher elevations. Yellow-brown
loess Loess (, ; from German ''Löss'' ) is a clastic, predominantly silt-sized sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently sediment transport, transported by ...
soil is found in the western parts of the state. The northeast is a region of fertile black earth uplands, a geology that extend into the
Alabama Black Belt The Black Belt is a region of the U.S. state of Alabama. The term originally referred to the region's rich, black topsoil, much of it in the soil order Vertisols. The term took on an additional meaning in the 19th century, when the region was de ...
. The coastline includes large bays at Bay St. Louis,
Biloxi Biloxi (; ) is a city and one of two county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
, and
Pascagoula The Pascagoula (also Pascoboula, Pacha-Ogoula, Pascagola, Pascaboula, Paskaguna) were an indigenous group living in coastal Mississippi Mississippi () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of A ...
. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico proper by the shallow
Mississippi Sound The Mississippi Sound is a sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (phy ...
, 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 The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo–Mississippi Delta, or simply the Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
, a section of the
Mississippi Alluvial Plain 150px, The Mississippi River Alluvial Plain is an alluvial plain created by the Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the List of longest rivers of the United States (by main stem), second-longest river and chief river of the second-la ...
. The plain is narrow in the south and widens north of Vicksburg. The region has rich soil, partly made up of
silt Silt is granular material A granular material is a conglomeration of discrete solid, macroscopic scale, macroscopic particles characterized by a loss of energy whenever the particles interact (the most common example would be friction when gra ...
which had been regularly deposited by the flood waters of the Mississippi River. Areas under the management of the
National Park Service The National Park Service (NPS) is an agency Agency may refer to: * a governmental or other institution Institutions, according to Samuel P. Huntington, are "stable, valued, recurring patterns of behavior". Institutions can refer to mecha ...
include: *
Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site commemorates the Battle of Brices Crossroads, in which the Confederate army, under Major-General Nathan Bedford Forrest, defeated a much larger Union force on June 10, 1864, to ultimately secure supply ...
near Baldwyn *
Gulf Islands National Seashore Gulf Islands National Seashore offers recreation opportunities and preserves natural and historic resources along the Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin and a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, large ...
*
Natchez National Historical Park Natchez National Historical Park commemorates the history of Natchez, Mississippi, and is managed by the National Park Service. The park consists of three separate sites: Fort Rosalie is the site of a former fortification from the 18th century, b ...
in Natchez *
Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail The Natchez Trace Trail is a designated National Scenic Trail in the United States, whose route generally follows sections of the Natchez Trace Parkway through the states of Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. The Natchez Trace Trail is not a ...
in
Tupelo Tupelo , genus ''Nyssa'' , is a small genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscripti ...
*
Natchez Trace Parkway The Natchez Trace Parkway is a national parkway in the southeastern United States that commemorates the historic Natchez Trace and preserves sections of that original trail. Its central feature is a two-lane road that extends 444 miles (715  ...
*
Tupelo National Battlefield Tupelo National Battlefield commemorates the American Civil War battle of Tupelo, also known as the Battle of Harrisburg, fought from July 14 to 15, 1864, near Tupelo, Mississippi. The United States, Union victory over Confederate States of Amer ...
in Tupelo *
Vicksburg National Military Park and Cemetery
Vicksburg National Military Park and Cemetery
in Vicksburg


Major cities and towns

Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 50,000 (
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
as of 2017): Retrieved September 20, 2013 Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 20,000 but fewer than 50,000 (
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
as of 2017): Mississippi City Population Rankings of at least 10,000 but fewer than 20,000 (
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
as of 2017): ''(See: Lists of
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...
, towns and villages,
census-designated places A census-designated place (CDP) is a concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical S ...
,
metropolitan areas A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories sharing Industry (economics), industries, commercial areas, transport infrastructure, transport net ...
, micropolitan areas, and
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
in Mississippi)''


Climate

Mississippi has a
humid subtropical climate A humid subtropical climate is a zone of climate characterized by hot and humid summers, and cool to mild winters. These climates normally lie on the southeast side of all continents, generally between latitude In geography Geograp ...
with long, hot and humid summers, and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about in July and about in January. The temperature varies little statewide in the summer; however, in winter, the region near
Mississippi Sound The Mississippi Sound is a sound In physics Physics (from grc, φυσική (ἐπιστήμη), physikḗ (epistḗmē), knowledge of nature, from ''phýsis'' 'nature'), , is the natural science that studies matter, its Motion (phy ...
is significantly warmer than the inland portion of the state. The recorded temperature in Mississippi has ranged from , in 1966, at
Corinth Corinth ( ; el, Κόρινθος, Kórinthos, ) is the successor to an ancient city, and is a former municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). ...
in the northeast, to , in 1930, at Holly Springs in the north. Heavy snowfall rarely occurs, but isn't unheard of, such as during the New Year's Eve 1963 snowstorm. Yearly
precipitation In meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw mod ...
generally increases from north to south, with the regions closer to the Gulf being the most humid. Thus, , in the northwest, gets about of precipitation annually and
Biloxi Biloxi (; ) is a city and one of two county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
, in the south, about . Small amounts of snow fall in northern and central Mississippi; snow is occasional in the southern part of the state. The late summer and fall is the seasonal period of risk for
hurricanes A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by a low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation Atmospheric circulation is the large-scale movement of air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg ...
moving inland from the Gulf of Mexico, especially in the southern part of the state.
Hurricane Camille Hurricane Camille was the second most intense tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort s ...
in 1969 and
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
in 2005, which killed 238 people in the state, were the most devastating hurricanes to hit the state. Both caused nearly total
storm surge A storm surge, storm flood, tidal surge, or storm tide is a coastal flood Coastal flooding normally occurs when dry and low-lying land is submerged by seawater. The range of a coastal flooding is a result of the elevation of floodwater that penet ...

storm surge
destruction of structures in and around Gulfport,
Biloxi Biloxi (; ) is a city and one of two county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
, and
Pascagoula The Pascagoula (also Pascoboula, Pacha-Ogoula, Pascagola, Pascaboula, Paskaguna) were an indigenous group living in coastal Mississippi Mississippi () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of A ...
. As in the rest of the
Deep South The Deep South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the l ...
, thunderstorms are common in Mississippi, especially in the southern part of the state. On average, Mississippi has around 27
tornado A tornado is a violently rotating column of air File:Atmosphere gas proportions.svg, Composition of Earth's atmosphere by volume, excluding water vapor. Lower pie represents trace gases that together compose about 0.043391% of the atmos ...

tornado
es 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 United States history have occurred in the state. These storms struck Natchez, in southwest Mississippi (see The Great Natchez Tornado) and
Tupelo Tupelo , genus ''Nyssa'' , is a small genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscripti ...
, in the northeast corner of the state. About seven F5 tornadoes have been recorded in the state.


Climate change


Ecology, flora, and fauna

Mississippi is heavily forested, with over half of the state's area covered by wild or cultivated trees. The southeastern part of the state is dominated by
longleaf pine The longleaf pine (''Pinus palustris'') is a pine A pine is any Pinophyta, conifer in the genus ''Pinus'' () of the family (biology), family Pinaceae. ''Pinus'' is the sole genus in the subfamily Pinoideae. The Plant List compiled by the Royal ...
, in both uplands and lowland
flatwoods Flatwoods, pineywoods, pine savannas and longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem are terms that refer to an ecological community in the Southeastern coastal plain A coastal plain is flat, low-lying land adjacent to a sea coast. A fall line A fall l ...

flatwoods
and
Sarracenia ''Sarracenia'' ( or ) is a genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxono ...

Sarracenia
bogs A bog or bogland is a wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes ...
. The Mississippi Alluvial Plain, or
Delta Delta commonly refers to: * Delta (letter) (Δ or δ), a letter of the Greek alphabet * River delta, a landform at the mouth of a river * D (NATO phonetic alphabet: "Delta"), the fourth letter of the modern English alphabet * Delta Air Lines, an Ame ...
, is primarily farmland and aquaculture ponds but also has sizeable tracts of ,
willows Willows, also called sallows and osiers, from the genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining ( ...
,
bald cypress ''Taxodium distichum'' (bald cypress, swamp cypress; french: cyprès chauve; ''cipre'' in Louisiana_French, Louisiana) is a deciduous Pinophyta, conifer in the family Cupressaceae. It is native to the southeastern United States. Hardy and tough, ...

bald cypress
, and
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
s. A belt of
loess Loess (, ; from German ''Löss'' ) is a clastic, predominantly silt-sized sediment Sediment is a naturally occurring material that is broken down by processes of weathering and erosion, and is subsequently sediment transport, transported by ...
extends north to south in the western part of the state, where the Mississippi Alluvial Plain reaches the first hills; this region is characterized by rich, mesic mixed hardwood forests, with some species disjunct from Appalachian forests. Two bands of historical
prairie Wheatfield intersection in the Southern Saskatchewan prairies, Canada. Prairies are ecosystem An ecosystem is a community (ecology), community of living organisms in conjunction with the nonliving components of their environment, interact ...
, the Jackson Prairie and the
Black Belt Black Belt may refer to: Martial arts * Black belt (martial arts), an indication of attainment of a mastery in martial arts * Black Belt (magazine), ''Black Belt'' (magazine), a magazine covering martial arts news, technique, and notable individu ...
, run northwest to southeast in the middle and northeastern part of the state. Although these areas have been highly degraded by conversion to agriculture, a few areas remain, consisting of grassland with interspersed woodland of ,
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
s, ,
osage-orange ''Maclura pomifera'', commonly known as the Osage orange, horse apple, hedge, or hedge apple tree is a small deciduous In the fields of horticulture and botany, the term ''deciduous'' (; ) means "falling off at maturity" and "tending to fall ...
, and sugarberry. The rest of the state, primarily north of
Interstate 20 Interstate 20 (I‑20) is a major east–west Interstate Highway in the Southern United States. I-20 runs beginning near Kent, Texas, at Interstate 10 in Texas, I-10 to Florence, South Carolina, at Interstate 95 in South Carolina, I-95. Between T ...
not including the prairie regions, consists of mixed pine-hardwood forest, common species being
loblolly pine ''Pinus taeda'', commonly known as loblolly pine, is one of several pine A pine is any Pinophyta, conifer in the genus ''Pinus'' () of the family (biology), family Pinaceae. ''Pinus'' is the sole genus in the subfamily Pinoideae. The Plant List ...

loblolly pine
,
oak An oak is a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, supporting branches and leaves in most species. In some usages, the definition of a tree may be narrower, including on ...

oak
s (e.g.,
water oak ''Quercus nigra'', the water oak, is an oak in the red oak group (''Quercus'' sect. ''Lobatae''), native to the eastern and south-central United States, found in all the coastal states from New Jersey to Texas, and inland as far as Oklahoma, Kentu ...

water oak
), , , and
elm Elms are deciduous In the fields of horticulture Horticulture is the art of cultivating plants in gardens to produce food and medicinal ingredients, or for comfort and ornamental purposes. Horticulturists are agriculturists who grow ...

elm
. Areas along large rivers are commonly inhabited by
bald cypress ''Taxodium distichum'' (bald cypress, swamp cypress; french: cyprès chauve; ''cipre'' in Louisiana_French, Louisiana) is a deciduous Pinophyta, conifer in the family Cupressaceae. It is native to the southeastern United States. Hardy and tough, ...

bald cypress
, , water elm, and . Commonly cultivated trees include loblolly pine, longleaf pine,
cherrybark oak ''Quercus pagoda'', the cherrybark oak, is one of the most highly valued red oaks in the southern United States. It is larger and better formed than southern red oak and commonly grows on more moist sites. Its strong wood and straight form make ...

cherrybark oak
, and cottonwood. There are approximately 3000 species of
vascular plants Vascular plants (from Latin ''vasculum'': duct), also known as Tracheophyta (the tracheophytes , from the Greek ''trācheia''), form a large group of plants ( 300,000 accepted known species) that are defined as land plants with lignified tissue ...
known from Mississippi. As of 2018, a project funded by the U.S.
National Science Foundation The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent agency of the United States government Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group)The Independents were a group of ...

National Science Foundation
aims to update that checklist of plants with museum (
herbarium A herbarium (plural: herbaria) is a collection of preserved plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical ener ...
)
vouchers A voucher is a bond of the redeemable transaction type which is worth a certain monetary value and which may be spent only for specific reasons or on specific goods. Examples include housing Housing, or more generally living spaces, refers to ...
and create an online
atlas Blaeu's world map, originally prepared by Joan Blaeu for his ''Atlas Maior">Joan_Blaeu.html" ;"title="world map, originally prepared by Joan Blaeu">world map, originally prepared by Joan Blaeu for his ''Atlas Maior'', published in the first b ...

atlas
of each species's distribution. About 420 species of birds are known to inhabit Mississippi. Mississippi has one of the richest fish faunas in the United States, with 204 native fish species. Mississippi also has a rich
freshwater mussel Freshwater bivalve Bivalvia (), in previous centuries referred to as the Lamellibranchiata and Pelecypoda, is a class Class or The Class may refer to: Common uses not otherwise categorized * Class (biology), a taxonomic rank * Class (kn ...
fauna, with about 90 species in the primary family of native mussels (
Unionidae The Unionidae are a family In , family (from la, familia) is a of people related either by (by recognized birth) or (by marriage or other relationship). The purpose of families is to maintain the well-being of its members and of societ ...
). Several of these species were extirpated during the construction of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway. Mississippi is home to 63
crayfish A man selling dried crayfish at an African market Crayfish are freshwater crustacean Crustaceans (Crustacea ) form a large, diverse arthropod taxon which includes such animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, Caridea, shrimp, krill, Dendrobran ...

crayfish
species, including at least 17
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest gro ...
species. Mississippi is home to eight winter stonefly species.


Ecological problems


Flooding

Due to seasonal flooding, possible from December to June, the
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...

Mississippi
and Yazoo rivers and their tributaries created a fertile
floodplain A floodplain or flood plain or bottomlands is an area of land adjacent to a river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows int ...
in the Mississippi Delta. The river's flooding created natural levees, which planters had built higher to try to prevent flooding of land cultivated for cotton crops. Temporary workers built
levees file:River Levee Cross Section Figure.svg, Components of a levee: file:Sacramento River Levee.jpg, The side of a levee in Sacramento, California A levee (), dike (American English), dyke (Commonwealth English), embankment, floodbank, or stop ...
along the Mississippi River on top of the natural levees that formed from dirt deposited after the river flooded. From 1858 to 1861, the state took over levee building, 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 who were struggling to get established. Before the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by other names Other most often refers to: * Other (philosophy), a concept in psychology and philosophy Other or The Other may also refer to: Books * The Other (Tryon novel), ''The Other'' (Tryon nove ...
, 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, but clearing of the land for cultivation and to supply wood fuel for steamboats took away the absorption of trees and undergrowth. The banks of the river were denuded, becoming unstable and changing the character of the river. 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. In 1877, the state created the Mississippi Levee District for southern counties. In 1879, the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, comprising a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, t ...

United States Congress
created the
Mississippi River Commission The United States Army Corps of Engineers , colors = , battles = , battles_label = Wars , website = , commander1 = Lt. Gen. Scott A. ...
, whose responsibilities included aiding state levee boards in the construction of levees. Both white and black transient workers were hired to build 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. After the 1882 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 Arkansas () is a U.S. state, state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States, home to more than three million people as of 2018. Its name is from the Osage language, a Dhegihan languages, Dhegiha Siouan la ...

Arkansas
which were part of the Delta. 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 U.S. participation in
World War I World War I, often abbreviated as WWI or WW1, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war A world war is "a war engaged in by all or most of the principal nations of the world". The term is usually reserved for ...

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 in the 1920s. Scientists now understand the levees have increased the severity of flooding by increasing the flow speed of the river and reducing the area of the floodplains. The region was severely damaged due to the
Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States The history of the United States started with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. Numerous indigenou ...
, which broke through the levees. There were losses of millions of dollars in property, stock and crops. The most damage occurred in the lower Delta, including
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
and Bolivar counties. Even as scientific knowledge about the Mississippi River has grown, upstream development and the consequences of the levees have caused more severe flooding in some years. Scientists now understand that the widespread clearing of land and building of the levees have changed the nature of the river. Such work removed the natural protection and absorption of wetlands and forest cover, strengthening the river's current. The state and federal governments have been struggling for the best approaches to restore some natural habitats in order to best interact with the original riverine ecology.


History

Near 10,000 BC
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
s or
Paleo-Indians Paleo-Indians, Paleoindians or Paleo-Americans, were the first peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to ...
arrived in what today is referred to as the
American South The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the American South, Dixie, the Southland, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geograph ...
. Paleo-Indians in the South were
hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most populous and widespread species of primates, characterized by bipedality, opposable thumbs, hairlessness, and intelligence allowing the use of culture, language and tools. T ...
s who pursued the
megafauna In terrestrial zoology Zoology ()The pronunciation of zoology as is typically regarded as nonstandard, though it is not uncommon. is the branch of biology that studies the animal kingdom, including the anatomy, structure, embryology, evolutio ...
that became extinct following the end of the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the ''Ice Age'') is the geological Epoch (geology), epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the earth’s most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change finally ...
age. In the
Mississippi Delta The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo–Mississippi Delta, or simply the Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
, Native American settlements and agricultural fields were developed on the natural levees, higher ground in the proximity of rivers. The Native Americans developed extensive fields near their permanent villages. Together with other practices, they created some localized deforestation but did not alter the ecology of the Mississippi Delta as a whole. After thousands of years, succeeding cultures of the
Woodland A woodland () is, in the broad sense, land covered with trees, or in a narrow sense, synonymous with wood (or in the U.S., the ''plurale tantum A ''plurale tantum'' (Latin for "plural only"; ) is a noun that appears only in the plural The plu ...
and
Mississippian culture The Mississippian culture was a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United Sta ...
eras developed rich and complex agricultural societies, in which surplus supported the development of specialized trades. Both were
mound builder The various cultures collectively termed "Mound Builders" were prehistoric, indigenous inhabitants of North America who, during a 5,000-year period, constructed various styles of earthen mounds for religious, ceremonial, burial, and elite residen ...
cultures. Those of the
Mississippian culture The Mississippian culture was a Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United Sta ...
were the largest and most complex, constructed beginning about 950 AD. The peoples had a trading network spanning the continent from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. Their large earthworks, which expressed their cosmology of political and religious concepts, still stand throughout the
Mississippi Mississippi () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States, bordered to the north by Tennessee; to the east by Alabama; to the south by the Gulf of Mexico; to the southwest by Louisiana; a ...
and
Ohio River The Ohio River is a long river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course wi ...

Ohio River
valleys. Descendant
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
tribes of the Mississippian culture in the Southeast include the
Chickasaw The Chickasaw ( ) are an indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands Indigenous peoples of the Southeastern Woodlands, Southeastern cultures, or Southeast Indians are an ethnographic Ethnography (from Greek ''ethnos'' "folk, peopl ...

Chickasaw
and
Choctaw The Choctaw (in the Choctaw language The Choctaw language (Choctaw: ), spoken by the Choctaw, an Indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands, is part of the Muskogean languages, Muskogean language family. Chickasaw language, Chickasaw (C ...

Choctaw
. Other tribes who inhabited the territory of Mississippi (and whose names were honored by colonists in local towns) include the Natchez, the Yazoo, and the
Biloxi Biloxi (; ) is a city and one of two county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
. The first major European expedition into the territory that became Mississippi was that of the Spanish explorer,
Hernando de Soto Hernando de Soto (; ; 1500 – May 21, 1542) was a Spanish explorer and ''conquistador Conquistadors (, ) or conquistadores (, ; meaning 'conquerors') were the invaders, knights, soldiers, and explorers of the Spanish Empire, Spanish and ...
, who passed through the northeast part of the state in 1540, in his second expedition to the New World.


Colonial era

In April 1699, French colonists established the first European settlement at ''
Fort Maurepas Fort Maurepas, later known as Old Biloxi, "Pierre Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville" (biography), ''Catholic Encyclopedia'', 1907, webpage: gives dates: 13 Feb. 1699, went to the mainland Biloxi, with fort completion May 1, 1699; sailed f ...

Fort Maurepas
'' (also known as Old Biloxi), built in the vicinity of present-day
Ocean Springs Ocean Springs is a city in Jackson County, Mississippi, Jackson County, Mississippi, United States, approximately east of Biloxi, Mississippi, Biloxi and west of Gautier, Mississippi, Gautier. It is part of the Pascagoula, Mississippi Pascagoula m ...
on the Gulf Coast. It was settled by
Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville (16 July 1661 – 9 July 1706) was a soldier, ship captain, explorer, colonial administrator, knight of the order of Saint-Louis, adventurer, privateer, trader, member of Compagnies Franches de la Marine and founder o ...
. In 1716, the French founded Natchez on the Mississippi River (as ''
Fort Rosalie Fort Rosalie was built by the French French (french: français(e), link=no) may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country prima ...

Fort Rosalie
''); it became the dominant town and trading post of the area. The French called the greater territory "
New France New France (french: Nouvelle-France) was the area colonized by France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its extends from the to the a ...
"; the Spanish continued to claim part of the
Gulf coast The Gulf Coast of the United States is the coastline The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the sea or ocean, or as a line that forms the boundary between the land and the ocean T ...

Gulf coast
area (east of
Mobile Bay Mobile Bay ( ) is a shallow inlet of the Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrolo ...
) of present-day southern
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
, in addition to the entire area of present-day
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
. The British assumed control of the French territory after the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
. During the colonial era, European settlers imported
enslaved Africans The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of various enslaved List of ethnic groups of Africa, African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regular ...
to work on cash crop
plantation A plantation is a large-scale estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that specializes in cash crops. The crops that are grown include cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, opium, sisal, oil seeds, oil pa ...

plantation
s. Under French and Spanish rule, there developed a class of
free people of color In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color (French: ''gens de couleur libres''; Spanish: ''gente de color libre'') were people of mixed Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most popul ...
(''gens de couleur libres''), mostly
multiracial Multiracial people are people of more than one race or ethnicity. A variety of terms have been used for multi-racial people, including ''mixed-race'', ''biracial'', ''multiethnic'', ''polyethnic'', ''Métis The Métis (; ) are Indigenous ...
descendants of European men and enslaved or free black women, and their
mixed-race Multiracial people are people of more than one race or ethnicity. A variety of terms have been used for multi-racial people, including ''mixed-race'', ''biracial'', ''multiethnic'', ''polyethnic'', ''Métis The Métis (; ) are Indigenous ...
children. In the early days the French and Spanish colonists were chiefly men. Even as more European women joined the settlements, the men had interracial unions among women of African descent (and increasingly, multiracial descent), both before and after marriages to European women. Often the European men would help their multiracial children get educated or gain apprenticeships for trades, and sometimes they settled property on them; they often freed the mothers and their children if enslaved, as part of contracts of '' plaçage''. With this
social capital Social capital is "the networks of relationships among people who live and work in a particular society, enabling that society to function effectively". It involves the effective functioning of social group In the social science Soc ...
, the free people of color became artisans, and sometimes educated merchants and property owners, forming a third class between the Europeans and most enslaved Africans in the French and Spanish settlements, although not so large a free community as in the city of
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
, Louisiana. After Great Britain's victory in the
French and Indian War The French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Great Britain ...

French and Indian War
(
Seven Years' War The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) is widely considered to be the first global conflict in history, and was a struggle for world supremacy between Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain and Kingdom of France, France. In Europe, the conflict ar ...
), the French surrendered the Mississippi area to them under the terms of the
Treaty of Paris (1763) The Treaty of Paris, also known as the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763 by the kingdoms of Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by ...
. They also ceded their areas to the north that were east of the Mississippi River, including the Illinois Country and Quebec. After the
Peace of Paris (1783) The Peace of Paris of 1783 was the set of treaties that ended the American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegate ...
, the lower third of Mississippi came under Spanish rule as part of
West Florida West Florida ( es, Florida Occidental) was a region on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geo ...
. In 1819 the United States completed the purchase of West Florida and all of
East Florida East Florida ( es, Florida Oriental, link=no) was a colony of Great Britain Great Britain is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water ...
in the
Adams–Onís Treaty The Adams–Onís Treaty () of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, the Florida Purchase Treaty, or the Florida Treaty,Weeks, p.168. was a treaty between the United States and Spanish Empire, Spain in 1819 that ceded Spanish Florida, F ...
, and in 1822 both were merged into the
Florida Territory The Territory of Florida was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from March 30, 1822, until March 3, 1845, when it was admitted to the Union as the state of Florida Florida (, ) is a state located in the ...
.


United States territory

After the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
(1775–83), Britain ceded this area to the new United States of America. The
Mississippi Territory The Territory of Mississippi was an organized incorporated territory of the United States that existed from April 7, 1798, until December 10, 1817, when the western half of the territory was admitted to the United States, Union as the History of ...
was organized on April 7, 1798, from territory ceded by
Georgia Georgia usually refers to: * Georgia (country) Georgia (, ; ) is a country located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It is a part of the Caucasus region, bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north and east by ...
and
South Carolina South Carolina () is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspap ...

South Carolina
to the United States. Their original colonial charters theoretically extended west to the Pacific Ocean. The Mississippi Territory 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 A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set of rules, norms, and standards generally accepted in relati ...
) from Native American tribes for new settlements of European Americans. The latter were mostly migrants from other Southern states, particularly Virginia and North Carolina, where soils were exhausted. New settlers kept encroaching on Choctaw land, and they pressed the federal government to expel the Native Americans. On September 27, 1830, the
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek The ''Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek'' was a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes ...
was signed between the U.S. Government and the
Choctaw The Choctaw (in the Choctaw language The Choctaw language (Choctaw: ), spoken by the Choctaw, an Indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands, is part of the Muskogean languages, Muskogean language family. Chickasaw language, Chickasaw (C ...

Choctaw
. The Choctaw agreed to sell their traditional homelands in Mississippi and Alabama, for compensation and removal to reservations in
Indian Territory The Indian Territory and the Indian Territories are terms that generally described an evolving land area set aside by the United States Government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. governmen ...
(now Oklahoma). This opened up land for sale to
European-American European Americans (also referred to as Euro-Americans) are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney Ge ...
migrant settlement. Article 14 in the treaty allowed those Choctaw who chose to remain in the states to become U.S. citizens, as they were considered to be giving up their tribal membership. They were the second major Native American ethnic group to do so (some Cherokee were the first, who chose to stay in North Carolina and other areas during rather than join the removal). Today their descendants include approximately 9,500 persons identifying as Choctaw, who live in Neshoba, Newton, Leake, and Jones counties. The
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
reorganized in the 20th century and is a Federally recognized tribe. Many slaveholders brought enslaved
African Americans African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
with them or purchased them through the domestic slave trade, especially in
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
. Through the trade, an estimated nearly one million slaves were forcibly transported to the
Deep South The Deep South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the l ...
, including Mississippi, in an internal migration that broke up many slave families of the Upper South, where planters were selling excess slaves. The Southerners imposed slave laws in the Deep South and restricted the rights of free blacks. Beginning in 1822, slaves in Mississippi were protected by law from cruel and unusual punishment by their owners. The Southern slave codes made the willful killing of a slave illegal in most cases. For example, the 1860 Mississippi case of ''Oliver v. State'' charged the defendant with murdering his own slave.


Statehood to Civil War

Mississippi became the 20th state on December 10, 1817. David Holmes was the first governor. The state was still occupied as ancestral land by several Native American tribes, including Choctaw, Natchez, Houma, Creek, and Chickasaw. Plantations were developed primarily along the major rivers, where the waterfront provided access to the major transportation routes. This is also where early towns developed, linked by the
steamboats upright=1.35, Dutch river steam-tugboat ''Mascotte II'' A steamboat is a boat that is propelled primarily by steam power, typically driving propellers or paddlewheels. Steamboats sometimes use the prefix designation SS, S.S. or S/S (for 'Sc ...

steamboats
that carried commercial products and crops to markets. The remainder of Native American ancestral land remained largely undeveloped but was sold through treaties until 1826, when the Choctaws and Chickasaws refused to sell more land. The combination of the Mississippi state legislature's abolition of Choctaw Tribal Government in 1829, President Andrew Jackson's
Indian Removal Act The Indian Removal Act was signed into law on May 28, 1830, by United States President Andrew Jackson Andrew Jackson (March 15, 1767 – June 8, 1845) was an American lawyer, soldier, and statesman who served as the seventh presi ...
and the
Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek The ''Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek'' was a treaty A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually entered into by sovereign states and international organizations, but can sometimes ...
of 1830, the Choctaw were effectively forced to sell their land and were transported to Oklahoma Territory. The forced migration of the Choctaw, together with other southeastern tribes removed as a result of the Act, became known as the
Trail of Tears #REDIRECT Trail of Tears #REDIRECT Trail of Tears The Trail of Tears was part of a series of forced displacements of approximately 100,000 Native Americans in the United States, Native Americans between 1830 and 1850 by the Federal government o ...
. When during the 1850s, Mississippi plantation owners—especially those of the Delta and Black Belt central regions—became wealthy due to the high fertility of the soil, the high price of cotton on the international market, and free labor gained through their holding enslaved African Americans. They used some of their profits to buy more cotton land and more 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 Secession is the withdrawal of a group from a larger entity, especially a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Soc ...

secession
. Mississippi was a slave society, with the economy dependent on slavery. The state was thinly settled, with population concentrated in the riverfront areas and towns. By 1860, the enslaved African-American population numbered 436,631 or 55% of the state's total of 791,305 persons. Fewer than 1000 were
free people of color In the context of the history of slavery in the Americas, free people of color (French: ''gens de couleur libres''; Spanish: ''gente de color libre'') were people of mixed Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most popul ...
. 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 still frontier and undeveloped.John C. Willis, ''Forgotten Time: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta after the Civil War''. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2000, . The state needed many more settlers for development. The land further away from the rivers was cleared by freedmen and white migrants during Reconstruction and later.


Civil War to 20th century

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 The Confederate States of America (CSA), commonly referred to as the Confederate States or the Confederacy, was an unrecognized breakaway state in existence from February 8, 1861, to May 9, 1865, that fought against the United States of Ame ...

Confederate States
. The first six states to secede were those with the highest number of slaves. During the war, Union and Confederate forces struggled for dominance on the Mississippi River, critical to supply routes and commerce. More than 80,000 Mississippians fought in the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine publis ...
, and casualties were extremely heavy. Union General
Ulysses S. Grant Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant; ; April 27, 1822July 23, 1885) was an American military leader who served as the 18th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and he ...

Ulysses S. Grant
's long siege of Vicksburg finally gained the Union control of the river in 1863. In the postwar period,
freedmen A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed by manumission (granted freedom by their captor-owners), abolitionism, emancipation (gr ...
withdrew from white-run churches to set up independent congregations. The majority of blacks left the Southern Baptist Church, sharply reducing its membership. They created independent black Baptist congregations. By 1895 they had established numerous black Baptist state associations and the National Baptist Convention of black churches. In addition, independent black denominations, such as the
African Methodist Episcopal Church The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church or AME, is a predominantly African-American Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination ma ...
(established in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...
in the early 19th century) and the
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, or the AME Zion Church or AMEZ, is a historically African American, African-American Christian denomination based in the United States. It was officially formed in 1821 in New York City, but operat ...
(established in New York City), sent
missionaries A missionary is a member of a religious group sent into an area to promote their faith or provide services, such as education Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, value (ethics), ...

missionaries
to the South in the postwar years. They quickly attracted hundreds of thousands of converts and founded new churches across the South. Southern congregations brought their own influences to those denominations as well. During
Reconstruction Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
, the first Mississippi constitutional convention in 1868, with delegates both black and white, framed a constitution whose major elements would be maintained for 22 years. The convention was the first political organization in the state to include African-American representatives, 17 among the 100 members (32 counties had black majorities at the time). Some among the black delegates were
freedmen A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed by manumission (granted freedom by their captor-owners), abolitionism, emancipation (gr ...
, but others were educated free blacks who had migrated from the North. The convention adopted universal suffrage; did away with property qualifications for
suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote). In some languages, and occasionally in English, the right to vote is called a ...

suffrage
or for office, a change that also benefited both blacks and 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. Under the terms of Reconstruction, Mississippi was restored to the Union on February 23, 1870. Because the Mississippi Delta contained so much fertile bottomland that 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 by higher wages offered by planters trying to develop land. In addition, black and white workers could earn money by clearing the land and selling timber, and eventually advance to ownership. The new farmers included many freedmen, who by the late 19th century achieved unusually high rates of land ownership in the Mississippi bottomlands. In the 1870s and 1880s, many black farmers succeeded in gaining land ownership. Around the start of the 20th century, two-thirds of the Mississippi farmers who owned land in the Delta were
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...

African American
. But many had become overextended with debt during the falling cotton prices of the difficult years of the late 19th century. Cotton prices fell throughout the decades following the Civil War. As another agricultural depression lowered cotton prices into the 1890s, numerous African-American farmers finally had to sell their land to pay off debts, thus losing the land which they had developed by hard, personal labor. Democrats had regained control of the state legislature in 1875, after a year of expanded violence against blacks and intimidation of whites in what was called the "white line" campaign, based on asserting
white supremacy White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other Race (human classification), races and thus should dominate them. The belief favors the maintenance and defense of any Power (social and poli ...
. Democratic whites were well armed and formed
paramilitary A paramilitary organization is a semi-militarized force whose organizational structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military A military, also known collectively as armed f ...
organizations such as the Red Shirts to suppress black voting. From 1874 to the elections of 1875, they pressured whites to join the Democrats, and conducted violence against blacks in at least 15 known "riots" in cities around the state to intimidate blacks. They killed a total of 150 blacks, although other estimates place the death toll at twice as many. A total of three white Republicans and five white Democrats were reported killed. In rural areas, deaths of blacks could be covered up. Riots (better described as massacres of blacks) took place in Vicksburg, Clinton, Macon, and in their counties, as well-armed whites broke up black meetings and
lynched Lynching is an extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, punish a convicted transgressor, or intimidate. It can also be an extreme f ...

lynched
known black leaders, destroying local political organizations. Seeing the success of this deliberate " Mississippi Plan", South Carolina and other states followed it and also achieved white Democratic dominance. In 1877 by a national compromise, the last of federal troops were withdrawn from the region. Even in this environment, black Mississippians continued to be elected to local office. However, black residents were deprived of all political power after white legislators passed a new state constitution in 1890 specifically to "eliminate the nigger from politics", according to the state's
Democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy Democracy ( gr, δημοκρατία, ''dēmokratiā'', from ''dēmos'' 'people' and ''kratos'' 'rule') is a form of government in which people, the people have the a ...
governor, James K. Vardaman. It erected barriers to voter registration and instituted electoral provisions that effectively
disenfranchisedDisfranchisement, also called disenfranchisement, or voter disqualification is the revocation of suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes use ...
most black Mississippians and many poor whites. Estimates are that 100,000 black and 50,000 white men were removed from voter registration rolls in the state over the next few years. The loss of political influence contributed to the difficulties of African Americans in their attempts to obtain extended credit in the late 19th century. Together with imposition of
Jim Crow Jim or JIM may refer to: * Jim, a diminutive form of the given name James (name), James * Jim, a short form of the given name Jimmy (given name), Jimmy * OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism * Jim (comics), ''Jim'' (comics), a series by Jim Woodri ...

Jim Crow
and racial segregation laws, whites increased violence against blacks, lynching mostly men, through the period of the 1890s and extending to 1930. Cotton crops failed due to
boll weevil The boll weevil (''Anthonomus grandis'') is a beetle Beetles are a group of insects that form the Taxonomic rank, order Coleoptera (), in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, Elytron, ely ...

boll weevil
infestation and successive severe flooding in 1912 and 1913, creating crisis conditions for many African Americans. With control of the ballot box and more access to credit, white planters bought out such farmers, expanding their ownership of Delta bottomlands. They also took advantage of new railroads sponsored by the state.


20th century to present

In 1900, blacks made up more than half of the state's population. By 1910, a majority of black farmers in the Delta had lost their land and become
sharecropper Sharecropping is a legal arrangement with regard to agricultural land in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on that land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range ...
s. By 1920, the third generation after freedom, most African Americans in Mississippi were landless laborers again facing poverty. Starting about 1913, tens of thousands of black Americans left Mississippi for the
North North is one of the four compass points The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet A planet is an astronomical body orbiting a star or Stellar evolution#Stellar remnants, stellar remnant that is massive enough to be Hydro ...
in the Great Migration to industrial cities such as
St. Louis St. Louis () is the second-largest city in Missouri Missouri is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State ( ...

St. Louis
,
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = Country , subdivision_name ...

Chicago
,
Detroit (strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both sides and through the strait in either direction. Mo ...

Detroit
,
Cleveland Cleveland ( ), officially the City of Cleveland, is a city in the U.S. The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country primarily located in North America North ...

Cleveland
,
Philadelphia Philadelphia (colloquially known simply as Philly) is the largest city in the Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is ...

Philadelphia
and
New York New York most commonly refers to: * New York City, the most populous city in the United States, located in the state of New York * New York (state), a state in the northeastern United States New York may also refer to: Film and television * New ...

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. Blacks also faced violence in the form of lynching, shooting, and the burning of churches. In 1923, the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system of rules created and law enforcement, enforced through ...
stated "the Negro feels that life is not safe in Mississippi and his life may be taken with impunity at any time upon the slightest pretext or provocation by a white man". In the early 20th century, some industries were established in Mississippi, but jobs were generally restricted to whites, including child workers. The lack of jobs also drove some southern whites north to cities such as Chicago and Detroit, seeking employment, where they also competed with European immigrants. The state depended on agriculture, but mechanization put many farm laborers out of work. By 1900, many white ministers, especially in the towns, subscribed to the
Social Gospel The Social Gospel is a social movement A social movement is a loosely organized effort by a large group of people to achieve a particular goal, typically a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. ...
movement, which attempted to apply Christian ethics to social and economic needs of the day. Many strongly supported
Prohibition Prohibition is the act or practice of forbidding something by law; more particularly the term refers to the banning of the manufacture Manufacturing is the production of goods In economics Economics () is the social science that st ...

Prohibition
, believing it would help alleviate and prevent many sins. Mississippi became a
dry state A dry state was a state in the United States in which the manufacture, distribution, importation, and sale of alcoholic beverages was Alcohol prohibition in the United States, prohibited or tightly restricted. Some states, such as North Dakota, ente ...

dry state
in 1908 by an act of the
State legislature A state legislature is a Legislature, legislative branch or body of a State (country subdivision), political subdivision in a Federalism, federal system. Two federations literally use the term "state legislature": * The legislative branches of e ...
. It remained dry until the legislature passed a
local option A local option is the ability of local political jurisdictions, typically counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publish ...
bill in 1966. African-American Baptist churches grew to include more than twice the number of members as their white Baptist counterparts. The African-American call for social equality resonated throughout the
Great Depression The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression An economic depression is a sustained, long-term downturn in economic activity in one or more economies. It is a more severe economic downturn than a economic recession, recess ...
in the 1930s and
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a global war A world war is "a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literatur ...
in the 1940s. 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 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A co ...
, especially
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...

California
, where the buildup of the defense industry offered higher-paying jobs to both African Americans and whites. Blacks and whites in Mississippi generated rich, quintessentially American music traditions:
gospel music Gospel music is a genre of Christian music Christian music is music Music is the art of arranging sounds in time to produce a composition through the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the universal cult ...
,
country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and styles can be enjoyed and performed b ...

country music
,
jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time through the of melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre. It is one of the aspects of all human s ...
,
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
and
rock and roll Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, or rock 'n roll) is a genre of popular music Popular music is music with wide appeal that is typically distributed to large audiences through the music industry. These forms and st ...

rock and roll
. All were invented, promulgated or heavily developed by Mississippi musicians, many of them African American, and most came from the
Mississippi Delta The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo–Mississippi Delta, or simply the Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state In the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
. Many musicians carried their music north to Chicago, where they made it the heart of that city's jazz and blues. So many African Americans left in the Great Migration that after the 1930s, they became a minority in Mississippi. In 1960 they made up 42% of the state's population. The whites maintained their discriminatory voter registration processes established in 1890, preventing most blacks from voting, even if they were well educated. Court challenges were not successful until later in the century. After World War II, African-American veterans returned with renewed commitment to be treated as full citizens of the United States and increasingly organized to gain enforcement of their constitutional rights. The
Civil Rights Movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North ...
had many roots in religion, and the strong community of churches helped supply volunteers and moral purpose for their activism. Mississippi was a center of activity, based in black churches, to educate and register black voters, and to work for integration. In 1954 the state had created the
Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission (also called the Sov-Com) was a state agency which operated from 1956 to 1977. It was overseen by the Governor of Mississippi. The stated objective of the commission was to " ..protect the sovereignty ...
, a tax-supported agency, chaired by the Governor, that claimed to work for the state's image but effectively spied on activists and passed information to the local White Citizens' Councils to suppress black activism. White Citizens Councils had been formed in many cities and towns to resist integration of schools following the unanimous 1954
United States Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the Federal judiciary of the United States, federal judiciary of the United States of America. It has ultimate and largely Procedures of the Supreme Court of the United ...

United States Supreme Court
ruling (''
Brown v. Board of Education ''Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka'', 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark A landmark is a recognizable natural or artificial feature used for navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and con ...
'') that segregation of public schools was unconstitutional. They used intimidation and economic blackmail against activists and suspected activists, including teachers and other professionals. Techniques included loss of jobs and eviction from rental housing. In the summer of 1964 students and community organizers from across the country came to help register black voters in Mississippi and establish
Freedom SchoolsFreedom Schools were temporary, alternative, and free schools for African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the Black peo ...
. The
Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), also referred to as the Freedom Democratic Party, was an American political party created in 1964 as a branch of the populist Freedom Democratic organization in the U.S. state, state of Mississippi ...
was established to challenge the all-white Democratic Party of the
Solid South The Solid South or Southern bloc was the electoral voting bloc of the states of the Southern United States The southern United States, also known as the American South, the southern states, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural Li ...
. Most white politicians resisted such changes. Chapters of the
Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan (), commonly shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people White is a racial classification and skin color specifier, gene ...
and its sympathizers used violence against activists, most notably the
murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner, also known as the Freedom Summer murders, the Mississippi civil rights workers' murders or the Mississippi Burning murders, refers to three activists who were abducted and murdered in Neshoba Count ...
in 1964 during the
Freedom Summer Freedom Summer, also known as the Freedom Summer Project or the Mississippi Summer Project, was a volunteer campaign in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, ...
campaign. This was a catalyst for Congressional passage the following year of the
Voting Rights Act of 1965 Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The dom ...
. Mississippi earned a reputation in the 1960s as a reactionary state. After decades of disenfranchisement, African Americans in the state gradually began to exercise their right to vote again for the first time since the 19th century, following the passage of federal civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, which ended ''de jure'' segregation and enforced constitutional voting rights. Registration of African-American voters increased and black candidates ran in the 1967 elections for state and local offices. The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party fielded some candidates. Teacher Robert G. Clark of Holmes County was the first African American to be elected to the State House since Reconstruction. He continued as the only African American in the state legislature until 1976 and was repeatedly elected into the 21st century, including three terms as Speaker of the House."Robert G. Clark, 26 October 2000 (video)"
The Morris W. H. (Bill) Collins Speaker Series, Mississippi State University, accessed June 10, 2015
In 1966, the state was the last to repeal officially statewide
prohibition of alcohol Prohibition is the act or practice of forbidding something by law; more particularly the term refers to the banning of the manufacture, storage (whether in barrel A barrel or cask is a hollow cylindrical container with a bulging center, lo ...
. Before that, Mississippi had taxed the illegal alcohol brought in by bootleggers. Governor
Paul JohnsonPaul Johnson may refer to: Musicians *Paul Johnson (producer) (1971–2021), American producer and DJ *Paul Johnson (singer), British soul singer of the 1980s *Paul Johnson (guitarist), American *Paul Francis Johnson, Australian bassist, frontman o ...
urged repeal and the sheriff "raided the annual
Junior League The Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. (Junior League or JL) is a private, voluntarism nonprofit with 291 Junior League chapters in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States ...
Mardi Gras Mardi Gras (), or Fat Tuesday, refers to events of the Carnival Carnival is a Western Christian 250px, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the largest church building in the world today. Western Christianity is one of two sub-divi ...

Mardi Gras
ball at the Jackson Country Club, breaking open the liquor cabinet and carting off the Champagne before a startled crowd of
nobility Nobility is a social class normally ranked immediately below Royal family, royalty and found in some societies that have a formal aristocracy (class), aristocracy. Nobility has often been an Estates of the realm, estate of the realm that p ...
and high-ranking state officials". On August 17, 1969, Category 5
Hurricane Camille Hurricane Camille was the second most intense tropical cyclone A tropical cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm, storm system characterized by a Low-pressure area, low-pressure center, a closed low-level atmospheric circulation, Beaufort s ...
hit the Mississippi coast, killing 248 people and causing US$1.5 billion in damage (1969 dollars). Mississippi ratified the
Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution The Nineteenth Amendment (Amendment XIX) to the United States Constitution prohibits the United States and its U.S. state, states from denying the Suffrage, right to vote to citizens of the United States on the basis of sex, in effect recogni ...
, in March 1984, which had already entered into force by August 1920; granting women the right to vote. In 1987, 20 years after the
U.S. Supreme Court The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a coun ...

U.S. Supreme Court
had ruled in 1967's '' Loving v. Virginia'' that a similar Virginian law was unconstitutional, Mississippi repealed its ban on interracial marriage (also known as
miscegenation Miscegenation () is the interbreeding of people who are considered to be members of different races. The word, usually considered pejorative, is derived from a combination of the Latin terms ''miscere'' (meaning "to mix" by German mistranslati ...
), which had been enacted in 1890. It also repealed the
segregationist Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into racial or other ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the international crime of apartheid and a crimes against humanity, crime against humanity under th ...
-era
poll tax A poll tax, also known as head tax or capitation, is a tax levied as a fixed sum on every liable individual (typically every adult), without reference to income or resources. Head taxes were important sources of revenue for many governments fr ...
in 1989. In 1995, the state symbolically ratified the Thirteenth Amendment, which had abolished slavery in 1865. Though ratified in 1995, the state never officially notified the Federal Archivist, which kept the ratification unofficial until 2013, when Ken Sullivan contacted the office of Secretary of State of Mississippi,
Delbert Hosemann Charles Delbert Hosemann Jr. (born June 30, 1947) is the 33rd and current lieutenant governor of Mississippi, since January 2020. From 2008 to 2020, he served as the secretary of state of Mississippi. Early life Hosemann was born in Vicksburg ...
, who agreed to file the paperwork and make it official. In 2009, the legislature passed a bill to repeal other discriminatory civil rights laws, which had been enacted in 1964, the same year as the federal Civil Rights Act, but ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by federal courts. Republican Governor
Haley Barbour Haley Reeves Barbour (born October 22, 1947) is an American attorney, politician, and lobbyist who served as the 63rd Governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012. A member of the Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political pa ...
signed the bill into law. The end of legal segregation and
Jim Crow Jim or JIM may refer to: * Jim, a diminutive form of the given name James (name), James * Jim, a short form of the given name Jimmy (given name), Jimmy * OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism * Jim (comics), ''Jim'' (comics), a series by Jim Woodri ...

Jim Crow
led to the integration of some churches, but most today remain divided along racial and cultural lines, having developed different traditions. After the Civil War, most African Americans left white churches to establish their own independent congregations, particularly Baptist churches, establishing state associations and a national association by the end of the century. They wanted to express their own traditions of worship and practice. In more diverse communities, such as
Hattiesburg Hattiesburg is a city in the U.S. state of Mississippi Mississippi () is a state in the Southeastern region of the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a ...
, some churches have multiracial congregations. On August 29, 2005,
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
, though a Category 3 storm upon final landfall, caused even greater destruction across the entire of the
Mississippi Gulf Coast The Mississippi Gulf Coast, also known as the Mississippi Gulf Coast region, Coastal Mississippi, or simply The Coast, is the area of southern Mississippi along the Mississippi Sound along the Gulf of Mexico. Geography At the state's creation, H ...
from Louisiana to Alabama. The previous
flag of Mississippi The flag of Mississippi features a white magnolia blossom and the words "In God We Trust" on a red field with a gold-bordered blue pale. This flag was chosen by the Commission to Redesign the Mississippi State Flag and was approved by 2020 Missi ...

flag of Mississippi
, used until June 30, 2020, featured the
Confederate battle flag The flags of the Confederate States of America have a history of three successive designs from 1861 to 1865. The flags were known as the "Stars and Bars", used from 1861 to 1863, the "Stainless Banner", used from 1863 to 1865, and the "Blood-St ...
. Mississippi became the last state to remove the
Confederate battle flag The flags of the Confederate States of America have a history of three successive designs from 1861 to 1865. The flags were known as the "Stars and Bars", used from 1861 to 1863, the "Stainless Banner", used from 1863 to 1865, and the "Blood-St ...
as an official state symbol on June 30, 2020, when Governor
Tate Reeves Jonathon Tate Reeves (born June 5, 1974) is an American politician serving as the List of governors of Mississippi, 65th and current List of governors of Mississippi, governor of Mississippi since 2020. A member of the Republican Party (United St ...

Tate Reeves
signed a law officially retiring the second state flag. A new flag, The "New Magnolia" flag, was selected via referendum as part of the general election on November 3, 2020. It officially became the state flag on January 11, 2021, after being signed into law by the state legislature and governor.


Demographics

The
center of population In demographics, the center of population (or population center) of a region is a geographical point that describes a centerpoint of the region's population. There are several different ways of defining such a "center point", leading to differ ...
of Mississippi is located in Leake County, in the town of
Lena Lena or LENA may refer to: Places * Léna Department, Burkina Faso * Lena, Manitoba, Canada * Lena, Norway * Lena, Asturias, Spain Russia * Lena (river), Siberia * Lena, Russia, name of several rural localities * Lena Plateau United States * Lena ...
. The
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
estimates that the population of Mississippi was 2,976,149 on July 1, 2019, a 0.30% increase since the
2010 2010 was designated as: *International Year of Biodiversity The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) was a year-long celebration of biological diversity and its importance, taking place internationally in 2010. Coinciding with the dat ...
census. The state's economist characterized the state as losing population as job markets elsewhere have caused 3.2 per 1000 to migrate recently. From 2000 to 2010, the
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
reported that Mississippi had the highest rate of increase in people identifying as mixed-race, up 70 percent in the decade; it amounts to a total of 1.1 percent of the population.Susan Saulny, "Black and White and Married in the Deep South: A Shifting Image"
''The New York Times'', March 20, 2011, accessed October 25, 2012
In addition, Mississippi led the nation for most of the last decade in the growth of mixed marriages among its population. The total population has not increased significantly, but is young. Some of the above change in identification as mixed race is due to new births. But, it appears mostly to reflect those residents who have chosen to identify as more than one race, who in earlier years may have identified by just one ethnicity. A binary racial system had been in place since slavery times and the days of official government
racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into race (human classification), racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the international crime of apartheid and a crimes against hum ...
. In the civil rights era, people of African descent banded together in an inclusive community to achieve political power and gain restoration of their civil rights. As the demographer William H. Frey noted, "In Mississippi, I think it's dentifying as mixed racechanged from within." Historically in Mississippi, after
Indian removal #REDIRECT Indian removal#REDIRECT Indian removal Indian removal is the former United States government policy of forced displacement of self-governing tribes of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands in the eastern United States to l ...
in the 1830s, the major groups were designated as black (African American), who were then mostly enslaved, and white (primarily European American). Matthew Snipp, also a demographer, commented on the increase in the 21st century in the number of people identifying as being of more than one race: "In a sense, they're rendering a more accurate portrait of their racial heritage that in the past would have been suppressed." After having accounted for a majority of the state's population since well before the Civil War and through the 1930s, today
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...

African American
s constitute approximately 37.8 percent of the state's population. Most have ancestors who were
enslaved Enslaved may refer to: * Slavery, the socio-economic condition of being owned and worked by and for someone else * Enslaved (band), a progressive black metal band from Haugesund, Norway * "Enslaved", a song by Mötley Crüe on their ''Greatest Hits ...
, with many forcibly transported from the Upper South in the 19th century to work on the area's new plantations. Many of these slaves were mixed race, with European ancestors, as there were many children born into slavery with white fathers. Some also have Native American ancestry. During the first half of the 20th century, a total of nearly 400,000 African Americans left the state during the Great Migration, for opportunities in the North, Midwest and West. They became a minority in the state for the first time since early in its development.


Ancestry

As of 2011, 53.8% of Mississippi's population younger than age 1 were minorities, meaning that they had at least one parent who was not non-Hispanic white. For more information on racial and ethnic classifications in the United States see
race and ethnicity in the United States Census Race and ethnicity in the United States census, defined by the federal Office of Management and Budget The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is the largest office within the Executive Office of the President of the United States The Execu ...
. Americans of
Scots-Irish Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish may refer to: * Ulster Scots people, an ethnic group in Ulster, Ireland, who trace their roots to settlers from Scotland * Scotch-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots who first migrated to America in large number ...
,
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
and
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
ancestry are present throughout the state. It is believed that there are more people with such ancestry than identify as such on the census, in part because their immigrant ancestors are more distant in their family histories.
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
,
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
and
Scots-Irish Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish may refer to: * Ulster Scots people, an ethnic group in Ulster, Ireland, who trace their roots to settlers from Scotland * Scotch-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots who first migrated to America in large number ...
are generally the most under-reported ancestry groups in both the
South Atlantic States The South Atlantic United States form one of the nine Census Bureau Divisions within the United States that are recognized by the United States Census Bureau. This region, U.S. Census Bureau Region 3, Division 5, corresponds to the Southern Colon ...
and the East South Central States. The historian
David Hackett Fischer David Hackett Fischer (born December 2, 1935) is University Professor of History at Brandeis University , mottoeng = Truth even unto its innermost parts , established = , type = Private research university , president = Ronald D. Liebowitz ...
estimated that a minimum 20% of Mississippi's population is of
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
ancestry, though the figure is probably much higher, and another large percentage is of
Scottish Scottish usually refers to something of, from, or related to Scotland, including: *Scottish Gaelic, a Celtic Goidelic language of the Indo-European language family native to Scotland *Scottish English *Scottish national identity, the Scottish iden ...
ancestry. Many Mississippians of such ancestry identify simply as
American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, from, or related to the United States of America, commonly known as the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is ...
on questionnaires, because their families have been in North America for centuries. In the 1980 census 656,371 Mississippians of a total of 1,946,775 identified as being of
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...
ancestry, making them 38% of the state at the time. The state in 2010 had the highest proportion of African Americans in the nation. The African-American percentage of population has begun to increase due mainly to a younger population than the whites (the
total fertility rate The total fertility rate (TFR) of a population is the average number of children that would be born to a woman over her lifetime if: # she was to experience the exact current age-specific fertility Fertility is the capability to produce offs ...
s of the two races are approximately equal). Due to patterns of settlement and whites putting their children in private schools, in almost all of Mississippi's public school districts, a majority of students are African American. African Americans are the majority ethnic group in the northwestern Yazoo Delta, and the southwestern and the central parts of the state. These are areas where, historically, African Americans owned land as farmers in the 19th century following the Civil War, or worked on cotton plantations and farms. People of French Creole ancestry form the largest demographic group in Hancock County on the Gulf Coast. The African-American;
Choctaw The Choctaw (in the Choctaw language The Choctaw language (Choctaw: ), spoken by the Choctaw, an Indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands, is part of the Muskogean languages, Muskogean language family. Chickasaw language, Chickasaw (C ...

Choctaw
, mostly in Neshoba County; and
Chinese American Chinese Americans are Americans Americans are the and of the .; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018) (" and are not ous. While all citizens are nationals, not all nationals are citizens."); ''United ...
portions of the population are also almost entirely native born. The Chinese first came to Mississippi as contract workers from
Cuba Cuba ( , ), officially the Republic of Cuba ( es, República de Cuba, links=no ), is a country comprising the island of Cuba, as well as Isla de la Juventud Isla de la Juventud (; en, Isle of Youth) is the second-largest Cuban islan ...

Cuba
and
California California is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper i ...
in the 1870s, and they originally worked as laborers on the cotton plantations. However, most Chinese families came later between 1910 and 1930 from other states, and most operated small family-owned groceries stores in the many small towns of the Delta. In these roles, the ethnic Chinese carved out a niche in the state between black and white, where they were concentrated in the Delta. These small towns have declined since the late 20th century, and many ethnic Chinese have joined the exodus to larger cities, including Jackson. Their population in the state overall has increased in the 21st century. In the early 1980s many
Vietnamese Vietnamese may refer to: * Something of, from, or related to Vietnam, a country in Southeast Asia ** A citizen of Vietnam. See Demographics of Vietnam. * Vietnamese people, or Kinh people, a Southeast Asian ethnic group native to Vietnam ** Oversea ...
immigrated to Mississippi and other states along the
Gulf of Mexico The Gulf of Mexico ( es, Golfo de México) is an ocean basin 400px, Diagrammatic cross-section of an ocean basin, showing the various geographic features In hydrology Hydrology (from Greek: wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, "hýdōr" meaning ...

Gulf of Mexico
, where they became employed in fishing-related work.


Language

In 2000, 96.4% of Mississippi residents five years old and older spoke only English in the home, a decrease from 97.2% in 1990. English is largely
Southern American English Southern American English or Southern U.S. English is a regional dialect or collection of dialects of American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of ...

Southern American English
, with some South Midland speech in northern and eastern Mississippi. There is a common absence of final /r/, particularly in the elderly natives and African Americans, and the lengthening and weakening of the diphthongs /aɪ/ and /ɔɪ/ as in 'ride' and 'oil'. South Midland terms in northern Mississippi include: tow sack (burlap bag), dog irons (andirons), plum peach (clingstone peach), snake doctor (dragonfly), and stone wall (rock fence).


Religion

Under French and Spanish rule beginning in the 17th century, European colonists were mostly
Roman Catholics The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...
. The growth of the cotton culture after 1815 brought in tens of thousands of Anglo-American settlers each year, most of whom were Protestants from Southeastern states. Due to such migration, there was rapid growth in the number of Protestant churches, especially
Methodist Methodism, also called the Methodist movement, is a group of historically related denominations Denomination may refer to: * Religious denomination, such as a: ** Christian denomination ** Jewish denomination ** Islamic denomination ** Hindu d ...

Methodist
,
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
and
Baptist Baptists form a major branch of Protestantism, Protestant Christianity distinguished by baptizing professing Christianity, Christian believers only (believer's baptism, as opposed to infant baptism), and doing so by complete Immersion baptism, ...

Baptist
. The revivals of the Great Awakening in the late 18th and early 19th centuries initially attracted the "plain folk" by reaching out to all members of society, including women and blacks. Both slaves and free blacks were welcomed into Methodist and Baptist churches. Independent black Baptist churches were established before 1800 in Virginia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Georgia, and later developed in Mississippi as well. In the post-Civil War years, religion became more influential as the South became known as the "
Bible Belt The Bible Belt is a region of the Southern United States The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the American South, Dixie, the Southland, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural region In geography ...
". Since the 1970s, fundamentalist conservative churches have grown rapidly, fueling Mississippi's conservative political trends among whites. In 1973 the
Presbyterian Church in America The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the second-largest Presbyterian church body, behind the Presbyterian Church (USA), and the largest conservative Reformed denomination in the United States. The PCA is Reformed in theology, Presbyteria ...
attracted numerous conservative congregations. As of 2010, Mississippi remained a stronghold of the denomination, which originally was brought by Scots immigrants. The state has the highest adherence rate of the PCA in 2010, with 121 congregations and 18,500 members. It is among the few states where the PCA has higher membership than the PC(USA). According to the
Association of Religion Data ArchivesThe Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) is a free source of online information related to American and international religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This ...
(ARDA), in 2010 the
Southern Baptist Convention The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) is a Christian denomination A Christian denomination is a distinct Religion, religious body within Christianity that comprises all Church (congregation), church congregations of the same kind, identifia ...
had 907,384 adherents and was the largest religious denomination in the state, followed by the
United Methodist Church The United Methodist Church (UMC) is a worldwide mainline Protestant The mainline Protestant churches (also called mainstream Protestant and sometimes oldline Protestant) are a group of Protestant denominations in the United States that contras ...

United Methodist Church
with 204,165, and the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
with 112,488. Other religions have a small presence in Mississippi; as of 2010, there were 5,012
Muslims Muslims () are people who follow or practice Islam Islam (; ar, اَلْإِسْلَامُ, al-’Islām, "submission o God Oh God may refer to: * An exclamation; similar to "oh no", "oh yes", "oh my", "aw goodness", "ah gosh", ...
; 4,389
Hindus Hindus (; ) are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism Hinduism () is an Indian religion Indian religions, sometimes also termed Dharmic religions or Indic re ...

Hindus
; and 816 of the
Baháʼí Faith The Baháʼí Faith (; fa , بهائی ') is a new religion teaching the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people. Established by Baháʼu'lláh Baháʼu'lláh (12 November 1817 – 29 May 1892) was a Persian ...
. Public opinion polls have consistently ranked Mississippi as the most religious state in the United States, with 59% of Mississippians considering themselves "very religious". The same survey also found that 11% of the population were non-Religious. In a 2009 Gallup poll, 63% of Mississippians said that they attended church weekly or almost weekly—the highest percentage of all states (U.S. average was 42%, and the lowest percentage was in Vermont at 23%). Another 2008 Gallup poll found that 85% of Mississippians considered religion an important part of their daily lives, the highest figure among all states (U.S. average 65%).


Birth data

''Note: Births in table don't add up, because Hispanics are counted both by their ethnicity and by their race, giving a higher overall number.'' *Since 2016, data for births of
White Hispanic White Latin Americans, or European Latin Americans, are Latin Americans Latin Americans ( es, Latinoamericanos; pt, Latino-americanos; ) are the citizens of the Latin American countries. Latin American countries are multi-ethnic, home to ...
origin are not collected, but included in one ''Hispanic'' group; persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.


LGBT

The
2010 United States Census The United States Census of 2010 was the twenty-third United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in ...
counted 6,286 same-sex unmarried-partner households in Mississippi, an increase of 1,512 since the
2000 United States census The United States census of 2000, conducted by the Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about ...
. Of those same-sex couples roughly 33% contained at least one child, giving Mississippi the distinction of leading the nation in the percentage of same-sex couples raising children. Mississippi has the largest percentage of
African-American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
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 The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, cultures Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior Social behavior is behavior Behavior (American English) or behaviour (British English; American and ...
same-sex couples among all Hispanic households and ninth in the highest concentration of same-sex couples who are
seniors Senior (shortened as Sr.) means "the elder" in Latin and is often used Suffix (name)#Generational titles, as a suffix for the elder of two or more people in the same family with the same given name, usually a parent or grandparent. It may also refer ...
.


Health

The state is ranked 50th or last place among all the states for health care, according to the
Commonwealth Fund The Commonwealth Fund is a private U.S. foundation whose stated purpose is to "promote a high performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society's most vulnerable and the ...
, a nonprofit foundation working to advance performance of the health care system. Mississippi has the highest rate of infant and neonatal deaths of any U.S. state. Age-adjusted data also shows Mississippi has the highest overall death rate, and the highest death rate from heart disease, hypertension and hypertensive renal disease, influenza and pneumonia. In 2011, Mississippi (and Arkansas) had the fewest dentists per capita in the United States. 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 such. Mississippi had the Obesity in the United States, highest rate of obesity of any U.S. state from 2005 to 2008, and also ranks first in the nation for high blood pressure, diabetes, and Sedentary lifestyle, adult inactivity. In a 2008 study of
African-American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
women, contributing risk factors were shown to be: lack of knowledge about body mass index (BMI), dietary behavior, physical inactivity and lack of social support, defined as motivation and encouragement by friends. 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. 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, including the Delta likely being "the most disadvantaged, 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. 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. A 2006 survey found nearly 95 percent of Mississippi adults considered childhood obesity to be a serious problem. A 2017 study found that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Mississippi was the leading health insurer with 53% followed by UnitedHealth Group at 13%.


Economy

The Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates that Mississippi's total state product in 2010 was $98 billion. GDP growth was .5 percent in 2015 and is estimated to be 2.4 in 2016 according to Dr. Darrin Webb, the state's chief economist, who noted it would make two consecutive years of positive growth since the recession.Pender, 2017. 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. 2015 data records the adjusted per capita personal income at $40,105. Mississippians consistently rank as one of the highest per capita in charitable contributions. At 56 percent, the state has one of the lowest workforce participation rates in the country. Approximately 70,000 adults are disabled, which is 10 percent of the workforce. 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 that required massive capital investment in levees, and ditching and draining the bottomlands, and slow development of railroads to link bottomland towns and river cities.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 In addition, when Democrats regained control of the state legislature, they passed the 1890 constitution that discouraged corporate industrial development in favor of rural agriculture, a legacy that would slow the state's progress for years. Before the Civil War, Mississippi was the fifth-wealthiest state in the nation, its wealth generated by the labor of slaves in cotton plantations along the rivers. Slaves were counted as property and the rise in the cotton markets since the 1840s had increased their value. By 1860, a majority—55 percent—of the population of Mississippi was enslaved. Ninety percent of the Delta bottomlands were undeveloped and the state had low overall density of population. Largely due to the domination of the plantations in the American South, plantation economy, focused on the production of agriculture, agricultural
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no) is a natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the natural, physical, material world or universe The universe ( la, universus) is all of s ...

cotton
, the state's elite was reluctant to invest in infrastructure such as roads and railroads. They educated their children privately. Industrialization did not reach many areas until the late 20th century. The planter aristocracy, the elite of Antebellum era, antebellum Mississippi, kept the tax structure low for their own benefit, making only private improvements. Before the war the most successful planters, such as Confederate States of America, Confederate President Jefferson Davis, owned riverside properties along the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers in the Mississippi Delta. Away from the riverfronts, most of the Delta was undeveloped frontier. During the Civil War, 30,000 Mississippi soldiers, mostly white, 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. 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. 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. Blacks cleared land, selling timber and developing 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. After the Civil War, 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 cotton crops due to the devastation of the
boll weevil The boll weevil (''Anthonomus grandis'') is a beetle Beetles are a group of insects that form the Taxonomic rank, order Coleoptera (), in the superorder Endopterygota. Their front pair of wings are hardened into wing-cases, Elytron, ely ...

boll weevil
in the early 20th century, devastating floods in 1912–1913 and 1927, collapse of cotton prices after 1920, and drought in 1930. 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. Despite the state's building and reinforcing levees for years, the
Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States The history of the United States started with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. Numerous indigenou ...
broke through and caused massive flooding of 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, hundreds of thousands of African Americans migrated North and West for jobs and chances to live as full citizens.


Entertainment and tourism

The legislature's 1990 decision to legalize casino gambling along the Mississippi River and the Gulf Coast has led to increased revenues and economic gains for the state. Gambling towns in Mississippi have attracted increased tourism: they include the Gulf Coast resort towns of Bay St. Louis, Gulfport and
Biloxi Biloxi (; ) is a city and one of two county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
, and the Mississippi River towns of Tunica Resorts, Mississippi, Tunica (the third largest gaming area in the United States), Greenville, Mississippi, Greenville, Vicksburg and Natchez. Before
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
struck the Gulf Coast, Mississippi was the second-largest gambling state in the Union, after Nevada and ahead of New Jersey. An estimated $500,000 per day in tax revenue was lost following Hurricane Katrina's severe damage to several coastal casinos in Biloxi in August 2005. Because of the destruction from this hurricane, on October 17, 2005, Governor
Haley Barbour Haley Reeves Barbour (born October 22, 1947) is an American attorney, politician, and lobbyist who served as the 63rd Governor of Mississippi from 2004 to 2012. A member of the Republican Party Republican Party is a name used by many political pa ...
signed a bill into law that allows casinos in Hancock and Harrison counties to rebuild on land (but within of the water). The only exception is in Harrison County, Mississippi, Harrison County, where the new law states that casinos can be built to the southern boundary of U.S. Route 90. In 2012, Mississippi had the sixth largest gambling revenue of any state, with $2.25 billion. The federally recognized
Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of three federally recognized tribes This is a list of federally recognized tribes in the contiguous United States of America The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United ...
has established a gaming casino on its reservation, which yields revenue to support education and economic development. Momentum Mississippi, a statewide, public–private partnership dedicated to the development of economic and employment opportunities in Mississippi, was adopted in 2005.


Manufacturing

Mississippi, like the rest of its southern neighbors, is a Right-to-work law#U.S. states with right-to-work laws, right-to-work state. It has some major automotive factories, such as the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Mississippi, Toyota Mississippi Plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi, Blue Springs and a Nissan Automotive plant in Canton, Mississippi, Canton. The latter produces the Nissan Titan.


Taxation

Mississippi collects personal income tax in three tax brackets, ranging from 3% to 5%. The retail sales tax rate in Mississippi is 7%. Tupelo levies a local sales tax of 2.5%. State sales tax growth was 1.4 percent in 2016 and estimated to be slightly less in 2017. For purposes of assessment for ad valorem taxes, taxable property tax, property is divided into five classes. On August 30, 2007, a report by the
United States Census Bureau The United States Census Bureau (USCB), officially the Bureau of the Census, is a principal agency of the U.S. Federal Statistical System, responsible for producing data about the American American(s) may refer to: * American, something of, ...
indicated that Mississippi was the poorest state in the country. Major cotton farmers in the Delta have large, mechanized plantations, and they receive the majority of extensive federal subsidies going to the state, yet many other residents still live as poor, rural, landless laborers. The state's sizable poultry industry has faced similar challenges in its transition from family-run farms to large mechanized operations. Of $1.2 billion from 2002 to 2005 in federal subsidies to farmers in the Bolivar County area of the Delta, only 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. The state had a median household income of $34,473.


Employment

As of December 2018, the state's unemployment rate was 4.7%, the seventh highest in the country after Arizona (4.9%),
Louisiana Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
(4.9%), New Mexico (5.0%), West Virginia (5.1%), Washington, D.C., District of Columbia (5.4%) and Alaska (6.5%).


Federal subsidies and spending

With Mississippi's fiscal conservatism, in which Medicaid, American welfare state, welfare, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, food stamps, and other social programs are often cut, eligibility requirements are tightened, and stricter employment criteria are imposed, Mississippi ranks as having the second-highest ratio of spending to tax receipts of any state. In 2005, Mississippi citizens received approximately $2.02 per dollar of taxes in the way of federal spending. This ranks the state second-highest nationally, and represents an increase from 1995, when Mississippi received $1.54 per dollar of taxes in federal spending and was 3rd highest nationally. This figure is based on federal spending after large portions of the state were devastated by
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
, requiring large amounts of federal aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). However, from 1981 to 2005, it was at least number four in the nation for federal spending vs. taxes received. A proportion of federal spending in Mississippi is directed toward large federal installations such as Camp Shelby, John C. Stennis Space Center, Naval Air Station Meridian, Meridian Naval Air Station, Columbus Air Force Base, and Keesler Air Force Base. Three of these installations are located in the area affected by
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
.


Politics 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
Tate Reeves Jonathon Tate Reeves (born June 5, 1974) is an American politician serving as the List of governors of Mississippi, 65th and current List of governors of Mississippi, governor of Mississippi since 2020. A member of the Republican Party (United St ...

Tate Reeves
(Republican Party (United States), R). The lieutenant governor, currently
Delbert Hosemann Charles Delbert Hosemann Jr. (born June 30, 1947) is the 33rd and current lieutenant governor of Mississippi, since January 2020. From 2008 to 2020, he served as the secretary of state of Mississippi. Early life Hosemann was born in Vicksburg ...
(Republican Party (United States), 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 Louisiana (Standard French Standard French (in French: ''le français standard'', ''le français normé'', ''le français neutre'' eutral Frenchor ''le français international'' nternational French is an unofficial term for a standard ...

Louisiana
, New Jersey and Virginia). Mississippi holds elections for these offices every four years, always in the year preceding presidential elections.


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. Same-sex marriage became legal in Mississippi on June 26, 2015, when the United States Supreme Court invalidated all state-level bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional in the landmark case Obergefell v. Hodges. With the passing of HB 1523 in April 2016, from July it became legal in Mississippi to refuse service to same-sex couples, based on one's religious beliefs. The bill has become the subject of controversy. A federal judge blocked the law in July, however it was challenged and a federal appeals court ruled in favor of the law in October 2017. Mississippi is one of the most Anti-abortion movements, pro-life states in the United States. A 2014 poll by Pew Research Center found that 59% of the state's population thinks abortion should be illegal in all/most cases, while only 36% of the state's population thinks abortion should be legal in all/most cases. Mississippi has banned Sanctuary city, sanctuary cities. Mississippi is one of thirty-one states which have capital punishment in the United States, capital punishment (see Capital punishment in Mississippi). Section 265 of the Constitution of the State of Mississippi declares that "No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state." This religious test restriction was held to be unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in ''Torcaso v. Watkins'' (1961). Gun laws in Mississippi are among the most permissive in the country, with no license or background check required to openly carry handguns most anywhere in the state. In 2021, the US Supreme Court ruled in a 6−3 decision in ''Jones v. Mississippi'' that a Mississippi law allowing mandatory sentencing of children to life imprisonment without parole is valid and that states and judges can impose such sentences without separately deciding if the child can be rehabilitated.


Political alignment

Mississippi led the South in developing a Disfranchisement after Reconstruction era, disenfranchising constitution, passing it in 1890. By raising barriers to voter registration, the state legislature disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites, excluding them from politics until the late 1960s. It established a one-party state dominated by white Democrats, particularly those politicians who supported poor whites and farmers. Although the state was dominated by one party, there were a small number of Democrats who fought against most legislative measures that disenfranchised most blacks. They would also sided with the small group of Mississippi Republicans that still existed in the state and Republicans at the federal level on legislative measures that benefited them. In the 1980s whites divided evenly between the parties. In the 1990s those voters shifted their allegiance to the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, first for national and then for state offices. A focus on economics and better opportunities for farmers was the cause for this shift, and not loyalty to either party. Most blacks were still disenfranchised under the state's 1890 constitution and discriminatory practices, until passage of the
Voting Rights Act of 1965 Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an electorate Electorate may refer to: * The people who are eligible to vote in an Election#Electorate, election, especially their number e.g. the term ''size of (the) electorate'' * The dom ...
and concerted grassroots efforts to achieve registration and encourage voting. In 2019, a lawsuit was filed against an 1890 election law known as The Mississippi Plan, which requires that candidates must win the popular vote and a majority of districts. In 2020 Mississippi elections, the following year, 79% of Mississippians voted to remove the requirement of doing so.


Transportation


Air

Mississippi has six airports with commercial passenger service, the busiest in Jackson (Jackson-Evers International Airport) and one in Gulfport (Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport)


Roads

Mississippi is the only American state where people in cars may legally consume beer. Some localities have laws restricting the practice. In 2018, the state was ranked number eight in the Union in terms of impaired driving deaths. Mississippi is served by nine Interstate Highway System, interstate highways: * ** * ** * * * * ** and fourteen main United States Numbered Highways, U.S. Routes: * * * * * * * ** * * * * * * as well as a system of List of state highways in Mississippi, State Highways.


Rail


Passenger

Amtrak provides scheduled passenger service along two routes, the ''Crescent (Amtrak), Crescent'' and ''City of New Orleans (train), City of New Orleans''. Prior to severe damage from
Hurricane Katrina Hurricane Katrina was a large and destructive List of Category 5 Atlantic hurricanes, Category 5 Atlantic hurricane that caused over 1,800 fatalities and $125 billion in damage in late August 2005, especially in the city of New Orleans and ...
, the ''Sunset Limited'' traversed the far south of the state; the route originated in Los Angeles, California and it terminated in
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geor ...

Florida
.


Freight

All but two of the United States Class I railroads serve Mississippi (the exceptions are the Union Pacific and Canadian Pacific): *Canadian National Railway's Illinois Central Railroad subsidiary provides north–south service. *BNSF Railway has a northwest–southeast line across northern Mississippi. *Kansas City Southern Railway provides east–west service in the middle of the state and north–south service along the
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat ...

Alabama
state line. *Norfolk Southern Railway provides service in the extreme north and southeast. *CSX Transportation, CSX has a line along the Gulf Coast.


Water


Major rivers

*
Mississippi River The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and b ...

Mississippi River
* Big Black River *
Pascagoula RiverImage:Pascagoularivermap.png, 250 px The Pascagoula River is a river, about 80 miles (130 km) long, in southeastern Mississippi in the United States. The river drains an area of about 8,800 square miles (23,000 km²) and flows into Mississ ...
*
Pearl River The Pearl River, also known by its Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populati ...
* Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway *
Yazoo River The Yazoo River is a river in the U.S. states of Louisiana and Mississippi. It is considered by some to mark the southern boundary of what is called the Mississippi Delta, a broad floodplain that was cultivated for cotton plantations before the ...


Major bodies of water

*Arkabutla Lake of water; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District *Bay Springs Lake of water and of shoreline; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers *Grenada Lake of water; became operational in 1954; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District *
Ross Barnett Reservoir The Ross Barnett Reservoir is a reservoir A reservoir (; from French language, French ''réservoir'' ) is most commonly an enlarged natural or artificial lake created using a dam to water storage, store water. Reservoirs can be created in a n ...
of water; named for Ross Barnett, the 52nd List of Governors of Mississippi, Governor of Mississippi; 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 (Mississippi), Sardis Lake of water; became operational in October 1940; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District *Enid Lake of water; constructed and managed by the U.S. Army
Enid Lake


Education

Until the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
era, Mississippi had a small number of schools and no educational institutions for
African Americans African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being t ...
. The first school for black students was not established until 1862. During Reconstruction in 1871, black and white Republicans drafted a constitution that was the first to provide for a system of free 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. In the early 20th century, there were still few schools in rural areas, particularly for black children. 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, in many cases donating land and/or labor to build such schools. Blacks and whites attended segregated and separate Public school (government funded), public schools in Mississippi until the late 1960s, although such segregation had been declared unconstitutional by the United States Supreme Court in its 1954 ruling in ''
Brown v. Board of Education ''Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka'', 347 U.S. 483 (1954), was a landmark A landmark is a recognizable natural or artificial feature used for navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and con ...
''. In the majority-black Mississippi Delta counties, white parents worked through Citizens' Councils, White Citizens' Councils to set up private segregation academies, where they enrolled their children. Often funding declined for the public schools. But in the state as a whole, only a small minority of white children were withdrawn from public schools. State officials believed they needed to maintain public education to attract new businesses. Many black parents complained that they had little representation in school administration, and that many of their former administrators and teachers had been pushed out. They have had to work to have their interests and children represented.Bolton, Charles C. ''The Hardest Deal of All: The Battle Over School Integration in Mississippi, 1870–1980''. University Press of Mississippi, 2005, pp. 136, 178–179. , 9781604730609. In the late 1980s Mississippi's 954 public schools enrolled about 369,500 elementary and 132,500 secondary school, secondary students. Some 45,700 students attended private schools. In the 21st century, 91% of white children and most of the black children in the state attend public 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 (examination), ACT scores and sixth-lowest spending per pupil in the nation. In contrast, Mississippi had the 17th-highest average SAT (examination), SAT scores in the nation. As an explanation, the Report noted that 92% of Mississippi high school graduates took the ACT, but only 3% of graduates took the SAT, apparently a self-selection of higher achievers. This breakdown compares to the national average of high school graduates taking the ACT and SAT, of 43% and 45%, respectively. Generally prohibited in the Western world, West at large, school corporal punishment is not unusual in Mississippi, with 31,236 public school students paddled at least one time circa 2016. A greater percentage of students were paddle (spanking), paddled in Mississippi than in any other state, according to government data for the 2011–2012 school year. In 2007, Mississippi students scored the lowest of any state on the National Assessments of Educational Progress in both math and science. Jackson, MS, Jackson, the state's capital city, is the site of the state residential school for deaf and hard of hearing students. Mississippi School for the Deaf, The Mississippi School for the Deaf was established by the state legislature in 1854 before the civil war.


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. The Magnolia Independent Film Festival, still held annually in Starkville, Mississippi, Starkville, is the first and oldest in the state. George Ohr, known as the "Mad Potter of Biloxi" and the father of abstract expressionism in pottery, lived and worked in Biloxi, MS.


Music

Musicians of the state's Delta region were historically significant to the development of the
blues Blues is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from ''musical form'' and musical style, although in ...

blues
. 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. Jimmie Rodgers (country singer), Jimmie Rodgers, a native of Meridian and 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. Their friendship and respect is an important example of Mississippi's musical legacy. While the state has had a reputation for being racist, Mississippi musicians created new forms by combining and creating variations on musical traditions from African American traditions, and the musical traditions of white Southerners strongly shaped by Scots-Irish and other styles. The state is creating a Mississippi Blues Trail, with dedicated markers explaining historic sites significant to the history of blues music, such as 's Riverside Hotel, where Bessie Smith died after her auto accident on U.S. Route 61, 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 is "Ground Zero", a contemporary blues club and restaurant co-owned by actor Morgan Freeman. Elvis Presley, who created a sensation in the 1950s as a crossover artist and contributed to rock 'n' roll, was a native of
Tupelo Tupelo , genus ''Nyssa'' , is a small genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscripti ...
. From opera star Leontyne Price to the alternative rock band 3 Doors Down, to Gulf and western (music genre), gulf and western singer Jimmy Buffett, modern rock/jazz/world music guitarist-producer Clifton Hyde, to rappers David Banner, Big K.R.I.T. and Afroman, Mississippi musicians have been significant in all genres.


Sports

*
Biloxi Biloxi (; ) is a city and one of two county seat A county seat is an administrative centerAn administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public ad ...
is home to the Biloxi Shuckers baseball team, a AA minor league affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers and member of the Double-A South playing at MGM Park *Clinton, Mississippi, Clinton is home to the Mississippi Brilla FC, a USL League Two soccer team. *Pearl, Mississippi, Pearl is home to the Mississippi Braves baseball team, a AA minor league affiliate of the Atlanta Braves and member of the Double-A South playing at Trustmark Park. *Southaven, Mississippi, Southaven is home to the Memphis Hustle basketball team. The Hustle are an affiliate of the Memphis Grizzlies. They play in the NBA G League.


See also

*Index of Mississippi-related articles *Outline of Mississippi *List of people from Mississippi *Mississippi literature


Notes


References


Further reading

*Dennis J. Mitchell, ''A New History of Mississippi.'' Jackson, MS: University of Mississippi Press, 2014.


External links

*
Mississippi Travel and TourismMississippi Development AuthorityThe "Mississippi Believe It" CampaignUSDA Mississippi State FactsUniversity Press of Mississippi
*[ftp://newftp.epa.gov/EPADataCommons/ORD/Ecoregions/ms/ms_eco_pg.pdf Ecoregions of Mississippi] *
Mississippi as Metaphor State, Region, and Nation in Historical Imagination
, ''Southern Spaces'', October 23, 2006. *
Mississippi State Databases
an annotated list of searchable databases compiled by the Government Documents Roundtable of the American Library Association. {{coord, 32.7364, -89.6678, dim:300000_region:US-MS_type:adm1st, name=State of Mississippi, display=title Mississippi, 1817 establishments in the United States Former British colonies and protectorates in the Americas Former French colonies Southern United States States and territories established in 1817 States of the Confederate States States of the Gulf Coast of the United States States of the United States Contiguous United States