Mississippi History - the history of Mississippi
   
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Vacation 2 USA   >   Mississippi   >   History
Vacation 2 USA   >   History   >   Mississippi History

   
 

Mississippi History


In pre-Columbian times, the Mississippi region was part of the Native American Mississippian culture. The Native American peoples who inhabited the area included Chickasaw and Choctaw.

The first European expedition to the area was led by Hernando de Soto, who passed through the area in 1540. However, there were no permanent European settlements until the French founded Fort Maurepas at site which would later become Ocean Springs. The area passed through Spanish, British and French jurisdiction, but eventually was transfered to the United States following the French and Indian War (1754 to 1763).

The Mississippi Territory was organized in 1798 from territory ceded by Georgia and South Carolina. This territory was expanded with additional territory (that was disputed by Spain), and land purchased from Native American tribes. On December 10th 1817, the state of Mississippi was admitted to the Union.

Mississippi rapidy became an important cotton growing state, and consequently had a large slave population. When the American Civil War (1861 to 1865) broke out, Mississippi was the second state to secede from the Union. Because of the state's strategic location on the Mississippi River, numerous battles were fought in the state during the war. Around 80,000 white men from Mississippi fought on the Confederate side during the war, however, around 500 white Mississippians, and more than 17,000 black Mississippians (freedmen and slaves) fought for the Union.

After a period of Reconstruction, Jim Crow laws were enacted in the state which kept blacks in an inferior position. However, following World War II, Mississippi became an important location during the Civil Rights struggle.

Mississippi was twice between hit by serious hurricanes in recent years (Hurricane Camille in 1969) and (Hurricane Katrina in 2005).


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Mississippi: A History

By Westley F. Busbee Jr

Wiley-Blackwell
Paperback (528 pages)

Mississippi: A History
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The second edition of Mississippi: A History features a series of revisions and updates to its comprehensive coverage of Mississippi state history from the time of the region’s first inhabitants into the 21st century. 

  • Represents the only available comprehensive textbook on Mississippi history specifically for use in college-level courses
  • Features an engaging narrative mix of topical and chronological chapters
  • Includes chapter objectives that may be used by professors and students
  • Offers coverage of Mississippi’s major political, economic, social, and cultural developments
  • Presents two entirely new chapters on important 21st-century developments in Mississippi
  • Contains expanded coverage of slavery in Mississippi history
  • Includes completely up-to-date chapter sources, selected bibliography, and subject index

Maude Schuyler Clay: Mississippi History

Steidl
Hardcover (132 pages)

Maude Schuyler Clay: Mississippi History
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Maude Schuyler Clay started her color portrait series Mississippi History in 1975 when she acquired her first Rolleiflex Twin Lens Reflex camera. At the time, she was living and working in New York and paying frequent visits to her native Mississippi Delta, whose landscape and people continued to inspire her. Over the next 25 years, the project, which began as The Mississippians, evolved in part as an homage to Julia Margaret Cameron, a definitive pioneer of the art of photography. Cameron lived in Victorian England and began her photographic experiments in 1863. Clay's expressive, allegorical portraits of her friends, family and other Mississippians, as well as her artful approach to capturing the essence of light, are the driving forces behind her recollection of moments of family life in Mississippi in the 1980s and 90s.

Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta

By Robert Palmer

Penguin Books
Released: 1982-07-29
Paperback (320 pages)

Deep Blues: A Musical and Cultural History of the Mississippi Delta
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  • Music category. Paperback.
  • 1982 reprinted in 1988. A Penquin Book.
Product Description:
Blues is the cornerstone of American popular music, the bedrock of rock and roll. In this extraordinary musical and social history, Robert Palmer traces the odyssey of the blues from its rural beginnings, to the steamy bars of Chicago’s South Side, to international popularity, recognition, and imitation. Palmer tells the story of the blues through the lives of its greatest practitioners: Robert Johnson, who sang of being pursued by the hounds of hell; Muddy Waters, who electrified Delta blues and gave the music its rock beat; Robert Lockwood and Sonny Boy Williamson, who launched the King Biscuit Time radio show and brought blues to the airwaves; and John Lee Hooker, Ike Turner, B. B. King, and many others.

"A lucid . . . entrancing study" -- Greil Marcus

"Palmer has a powerful understanding of the music and an intense involvement in the culture." -- The Nation

Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives (Southern Women: Their Lives and Times Ser.)

Brand: University of Georgia Press
Released: 2010-02-01
Paperback (360 pages)

Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives (Southern Women:  Their Lives and Times Ser.)
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Volume 1 of Mississippi Women enriched our understanding of women’s roles in the state’s history through profiles of notable, though often neglected, individuals. Volume 2 explores the historical forces that have shaped women’s lives in Mississippi. Covering an expanse of time from early European settlement through the course of the twentieth century, the essays in the second volume acknowledge the state’s diverse cultural and physical landscapes as they discuss how issues of race, gender, and class affected women’s lives in various private and public spheres.

Essays on the state’s early history focus on such topics as Choctaw and Chickasaw women’s influence on Native American society and tribal councils, daily life for free black women in slaveholding Natchez, and the efforts of white Protestant women to establish churches on the frontier. Several essays cast new light on legal concerns, including two on the pivotal Married Women’s Property Act of 1839, while other essays examine the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on women’s lives.

The boundaries of race and gender in Jim Crow Mississippi are explored through an essay on the women of the mixed-race Knight family, notably the educator, nurse, and missionary Anna Knight. Women’s experiences with rural electrification, consumerism, civil rights activism, social and service clubs, and feminism are among the other twentieth-century topics addressed in the essays. Volume 2 concludes with an essay on storytelling and remembrance that centers on the family of Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist (and Mississippi native) William Raspberry.

Devil's Sanctuary: An Eyewitness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes

By James L. Dickerson

Brand: Chicago Review Press
Hardcover (400 pages)

Devil s Sanctuary: An Eyewitness History of Mississippi Hate Crimes
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Lynchings, beatings, arson, denial of rights, false imprisonment--the civil rights era brought attention to these heinous offenses that were the status quo for African Americans in many areas of the country. And no state was more notorious as a sanctuary for the murderers and perpetrators of hate crimes than Mississippi. In 1956 state lawmakers installed the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission to preserve segregation and “Mississippi Values” by declaring the state outside the jurisdiction of the federal government. Under the auspices of the governor and lieutenant governor, the commission joined forces with groups such as the White Citizens’ Councils, which would stop at nothing in their quest for white supremacy.

 

In Devil’s Sanctuary, Alex A. Alston Jr. and James L. Dickerson, both of whom grew up in small-town Mississippi, recount the state’s shameful racist history and explore how Mississippi was able to get away with its role as a safe haven for the most virulent and violent racists, allowing them immunity from prosecution. The breakdown of institutions, with everyone from judges and elected officials to clergy and the media looking the other way, not only permitted but even encouraged acts so horrendous that many citizens cannot believe they happened--and still could happen--in the United States.

 

Analysis of the major crimes, the institutional collusion, delayed and never-delivered justice, and the state’s attempts at atonement is interspersed with the authors’ accounts of what they saw, heard, and experienced as whites--thus “insiders”--from that troubled time to the present day. Devil’s Sanctuary is part shocking history and part moving memoir, an eyewitness account of judicial, media, and economic terrorism directed against African Americans.

Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives (Southern Women: Their Lives and Times Ser.)

Brand: University of Georgia Press
Released: 2003-11-17
Paperback (328 pages)

Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives (Southern Women:  Their Lives and Times Ser.)
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This collection of seventeen fascinating biographies, produced by the Mississippi Women's History Project, is an important step toward gaining the state's women their deserved place in its written record. The women whose absorbing life stories are told here range from Felicité Girodeau of old Natchez, who was both a person of color and a slaveholder, to Vera Mae Pigee, who "mothered" the civil rights movement in the Mississippi Delta. Some of the women are well known, others were prominent in their time but have since faded into obscurity, and a few have never received the attention they deserve.

Readers may already know such figures as writer and photographer Eudora Welty, civil rights activist Fannie Lou Hamer, and poet and educator Margaret Walker Alexander. Others are probably less familiar: the microbiologist Elizabeth Lee Hazen, the black businesswoman and civic leader Sadye Wier, the flapper feminist Minnie Brewer, or the jurist Burnita Shelton Matthews. All the featured women, whether suffrage pioneers, champions for higher education for women, or luminaries in art and literature, shared similar experiences in their struggles for success. From Winnie Davis, daughter of the Confederacy's president, to Hazel Brannon Smith, a journalist and antilynching crusader, they had in common the pains and privileges that were part of womanhood in their times.

As multifaceted as the state they helped to build, the women portrayed in this engaging volume will interest and inspire Mississippians of all ages. Scholars will find here a valuable resource that adds nuance and texture to southern and women's history.

Theater of a Separate War: The Civil War West of the Mississippi River, 1861–1865 (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era)

By Thomas W. Cutrer

The University of North Carolina Press
Hardcover (608 pages)

Theater of a Separate War: The Civil War West of the Mississippi River, 1861–1865 (Littlefield History of the Civil War Era)
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Though its most famous battles were waged in the East at Antietam, Gettysburg, and throughout Virginia, the Civil War was clearly a conflict that raged across a continent. From cotton-rich Texas and the fields of Kansas through Indian Territory and into the high desert of New Mexico, the trans-Mississippi theater was site of major clashes from the war's earliest days through the surrenders of Confederate generals Edmund Kirby Smith and Stand Waite in June 1865. In this comprehensive military history of the war west of the Mississippi River, Thomas W. Cutrer shows that the theater's distance from events in the East does not diminish its importance to the unfolding of the larger struggle.

Theater of a Separate War details the battles between North and South in these far-flung regions, assessing the complex political and military strategies on both sides. While providing the definitive history of the rise and fall of the South's armies in the far West, Cutrer shows, even if the region's influence on the Confederacy's cause waned, its role persisted well beyond the fall of Richmond and Lee's surrender to Grant. In this masterful study, Cutrer offers a fresh perspective on an often overlooked aspect of Civil War history.

A Literary History of Mississippi (Heritage of Mississippi Series)

University Press of Mississippi
Hardcover (352 pages)

A Literary History of Mississippi (Heritage of Mississippi Series)
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With contributions by:

Ted Atkinson, Robert Bray, Patsy J. Daniels, David A. Davis, Taylor Hagood, Lisa Hinrichsen, Suzanne Marrs, Greg O’Brien, Ted Ownby, Ed Piacentino, Claude Pruitt, Thomas J. Richardson, Donald M. Shaffer, Theresa M. Towner, Terrence T. Tucker, Daniel Cross Turner, Lorie Watkins, and Ellen Weinauer

Mississippi is a study in contradictions. One of the richest states when the Civil War began, it emerged as possibly the poorest and remains so today. Geographically diverse, the state encompasses ten distinct landform regions. As people traverse these, they discover varying accents and divergent outlooks. They find pockets of inexhaustible wealth within widespread, grinding poverty. Yet the most illiterate, disadvantaged state has produced arguably the nation’s richest literary legacy. Why Mississippi?

What does it mean to write in a state of such extremes? To write of racial and economic relations so contradictory and fraught as to defy any logic? Willie Morris often quoted William Faulkner as saying, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.” What Faulkner (or more likely Morris) posits is that Mississippi is not separate from the world. The country’s fascination with Mississippi persists because the place embodies the very conflicts that plague the nation.

This volume examines indigenous literature, Southwest humor, slave narratives, and the literature of the Civil War. Essays on modern and contemporary writers and the state’s changing role in southern studies look at more recent literary trends, while essays on key individual authors offer more information on luminaries including Faulkner, Eudora Welty, Richard Wright, Tennessee Williams, and Margaret Walker. Finally, essays on autobiography, poetry, drama, and history span the creative breadth of Mississippi’s literature. Written by literary scholars closely connected to the state, the volume offers a history suitable for all readers interested in learning more about Mississippi’s great literary tradition.

Old Man River: The Mississippi River in North American History

By Paul Schneider

Brand: Henry Holt and Co.
Released: 2013-09-03
Hardcover (416 pages)

Old Man River: The Mississippi River in North American History
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A fascinating account of how the Mississippi River shaped America

In Old Man River, Paul Schneider tells the story of the river at the center of America's rich history―the Mississippi. Some fifteen thousand years ago, the majestic river provided Paleolithic humans with the routes by which early man began to explore the continent's interior. Since then, the river has been the site of historical significance, from the arrival of Spanish and French explorers in the 16th century to the Civil War. George Washington fought his first battle near the river, and Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman both came to President Lincoln's attention after their spectacular victories on the lower Mississippi.

In the 19th century, home-grown folk heroes such as Daniel Boone and the half-alligator, half-horse, Mike Fink, were creatures of the river. Mark Twain and Herman Melville led their characters down its stream in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Confidence-Man. A conduit of real-life American prowess, the Mississippi is also a river of stories and myth.

Schneider traces the history of the Mississippi from its origins in the deep geologic past to the present. Though the busiest waterway on the planet today, the Mississippi remains a paradox―a devastated product of American ingenuity, and a magnificent natural wonder.

The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity

By James C. Cobb

Oxford University Press
Paperback (416 pages)

The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity
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"Cotton obsessed, Negro obsessed," Rupert Vance called it in 1935. "Nowhere but in the Mississippi Delta," he said, "are antebellum conditions so nearly preserved." This crescent of bottomlands between Memphis and Vicksburg, lined by the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers, remains in some ways what it was in 1860: a land of rich soil, wealthy planters, and desperate poverty--the blackest and poorest counties in all the South. And yet it is a cultural treasure house as well--the home of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Charley Pride, Walker Percy, Elizabeth Spencer, and Shelby Foote. Painting a fascinating portrait of the development and survival of the Mississippi Delta, a society and economy that is often seen as the most extreme in all the South, James C. Cobb offers a comprehensive history of the Delta, from its first white settlement in the 1820s to the present. Exploring the rich black culture of the Delta, Cobb explains how it survived and evolved in the midst of poverty and oppression, beginning with the first settlers in the overgrown, disease-ridden Delta before the Civil War to the bitter battles and incomplete triumphs of the civil rights era.
In this comprehensive account, Cobb offers new insight into "the most southern place on earth," untangling the enigma of grindingly poor but prolifically creative Mississippi Delta.


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