Pharmacy Shelving Mississippi
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Aberdeen Amory
Batesville Bay Saint Louis Bay Springs Belzoni Biloxi Booneville Brandon Brookhaven Byhalia
Canton Carthage Clarksdale Cleveland Clinton Collins Columbia Columbus Corinth Crystal Springs
Florence Forest Fulton
Gautier Greenville Greenwood Grenada Gulfport
Hattiesburg Hazlehurst Hernando Holly Springs Houston
Indianola Iuka
Laurel Leland Long Beach Louisville Lucedale
MacOn Madison Magee McComb Mendenhall Meridian Moss Point
Natchez New Albany Newton
Ocean Springs Olive Branch Oxford
Pascagoula Pass Christian Petal Philadelphia Picayune Pontotoc Poplarville Port Gibson Prentiss
Raymond Ridgeland Ripley
Senatobia Southaven Starkville
Tunica Tupelo Tylertown
Walls Waynesboro West Point Wiggins Winona
Yazoo City

Mississippi is a southern state of the United . The state takes its name from the Mississippi River, which flows along the western boundary. The name, which means "great river," comes from either Ojibwe, a Native American language spoken around the river's headwaters, or some other closely related Algonquian language. Nicknames for Mississippi are the Magnolia State and the Hospitality State.

Contents [hide]
1 Geography
2 Climate
3 Ecology
4 History
5 Demographics
5.1 Population
5.2 Racial makeup and ancestry
6 Economics
7 Transportation
8 Law and government
8.1 Politics
9 Major cities and towns
10 Education
10.1 Colleges, universities and community colleges
11 Miscellaneous topics
11.1 State symbols
11.2 Famous Mississippians
12 See also
13 References

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

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

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

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

Areas under the management of the National Park Service include:

Brices Cross Roads National Battlefield Site near Baldwin
Gulf Islands National Seashore
Natchez National Historical Park in Natchez
Natchez Trace Parkway
Tupelo National Battlefield in Tupelo
Vicksburg National Cemetery in Vicksburg
Vicksburg National Military Park also in Vicksburg

Mississippi has a warm, humid climate, with long summers and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about 82°F (about 28°C) in July and about 48 °F (about 9 °C) in January. The temperature varies little across the state in summer, but in winter the region near Mississippi Sound is significantly warmer than most of the rest of the state. The recorded temperature in Mississippi has ranged from -19 °F (-28.3 °C), in 1966, at Corinth in the northeast, to 115 °F (46.1 °C), in 1930, at Holly Springs in the north. Yearly precipitation generally increases from north to south. Thus, Clarksdale, in the northwest, gets about 50 inches (about 1,270 mm) of precipitation annually and Biloxi, in the south, about 61 inches (about 1,550 mm). Small amounts of snow fall in northern and central Mississippi. In the late summer and the fall, the state (especially the southern part) is frequently affected by hurricanes moving north from the Gulf of Mexico, and occasionally impacted by major hurricanes, which can be quite devastating in coastal communities. Inland Mississippi is also struck by tornadoes, especially from February to May.

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

Main article: History of Mississippi

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

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

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

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

When cotton was king during the 1850s, Mississippi plantation owners—especially those of the Delta and Black Belt regions—became increasingly wealthy due to the high fertility of the soil and the high price of cotton on the international market. The severe wealth imbalances and the necessity of large-scale slave populations to sustain such income played a heavy role in both state politics and in the support for secession.

Mississippi was the second state to secede from the Union as one of the Confederate of America on January 9, 1861. During the Civil War the Confederate were defeated. Under the terms of Reconstruction, Mississippi was readmitted to the Union on February 23, 1870.

Mississippi was considered to typify the Deep South during the era of Jim Crow. A series of increasingly restrictive racial segregation laws enacted during the first part of the 20th century resulted in the emigration of almost half a million people, three-quarters of them black, in the 1940s. However, at the same time, Mississippi became a center of rich, quintessentially American music traditions: gospel music, country music, jazz music, blues, and rock and roll all were invented, promulgated, or heavily developed by Mississippi musicians. Mississippi was also noted for its authors in the early twentieth century, especially William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams.

Mississippi was a focus of the American Civil Rights Movement. Many white Mississippians, through their politicians and involvement in the White Citizens' Council movement, and the violent tactics of it's Ku Klux Klan members and sympathizers gave Mississippi a reputation as a reactionary state during the 1960s.

The state was the last to repeal prohibition and to ratify the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery, in 1966 and 1995 respectively.

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


Mississippi Population Density Map
Historical populations
year Population


1800 7,600
1810 31,306
1820 75,448
1830 136,621
1840 375,651
1850 606,526
1860 791,305
1870 827,922
1880 1,131,597
1890 1,289,600
1900 1,551,270
1910 1,797,114
1920 1,790,618
1930 2,009,821
1940 2,183,796
1950 2,178,914
1960 2,178,141
1970 2,216,912
1980 2,520,638
1990 2,573,216
2000 2,844,658
As of 2005, Mississippi has an estimated population of 2,921,088, which is an increase of 20,320, or 0.7%, from the prior year and an increase of 76,432, or 2.7%, since the year 2000. This includes a natural increase since the last census of 80,733 people (that is 228,849 births minus 148,116 deaths) and an increase due to net migration of 75 people into the state. Immigration from outside the United resulted in a net increase of 10,653 people, and migration within the country produced a net loss of 10,578 people.

The 2000 Census reported Mississippi's population as 2,844,658 [1].

Racial makeup and ancestry
The Census Bureau considers race and Hispanic origin to be two separate categories. This data, however, is only for non-Hispanic members of each group: non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic Blacks, etc. For more information on race and the Census, see here.

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

Until about 1940, blacks made up a majority of Mississippians. Due to the Great Migration the state's black population declined, but it has recently begun to increase, due mainly to a higher birthrate than the state average. In many of Mississippi's public school districts, a majority of students are black. [2] Blacks are a majority in the northwestern Yazoo Delta, the southwestern, and central parts of the state.

Nearly 10,000 Native Americans (mostly Choctaw) live in the east-central section of the state. The small Chinese population found in the Delta is descended from farm laborers brought there from California in the 1870s. The Chinese did not adjust well to the Mississippi plantation system, however, and most of them became small merchants. The coastal fishing industry has attracted Southeast Asian refugees.

More than 98% of the white population of Mississippi is native-born, predominantly of Northern European descent. According to the 2000 census, the largest ancestries are American (14.2%), Irish (6.9%), English (6.1%), German (4.5%), and Italian (1.42%). People of French Creole ancestry form the largest demographic group in Hancock County on the Gulf Coast. The black, Choctaw (in Neshoba County), and Chinese segments of the population are also almost entirely native-born.

Mississippi, along with many other have a very low mixed race population.

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

Mississippi's rank as one of the poorest can be traced to the Civil War.[citation needed] Before the Civil War, Mississippi was the fifth-wealthiest state in the nation.[citation needed] Slaves were then counted as valuable property and in Mississippi more than half the population was enslaved; in non-slave human capital was not included in estimates of wealth. Further, Mississippi's antebellum wealth rank should not be compared with today's GDP rank, which is an estimate of income; wealth and income are separate concepts. The war cost the state 30,000 men. Plantation owners who survived the war were virtually bankrupted by the emancipation of slaves [citation needed], and Union troops left widespread destruction in their wake.

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

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

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

Mississippi is served by six interstate highways:

Interstate 10
Interstate 20
Interstate 55
Interstate 59
Interstate 69
Interstate 110
Interstate 220
Interstate 269

and fourteen main U.S. Routes:

U.S. Route 11
U.S. Route 45
U.S. Route 49
U.S. Route 51
U.S. Route 61
U.S. Route 65
U.S. Route 72
U.S. Route 78
U.S. Route 80
U.S. Route 82
U.S. Route 84
U.S. Route 90
U.S. Route 98
U.S. Route 278

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the federal level, Mississippi's two U.S. senators are Trent Lott (Republican) and Thad Cochran (Republican). As of the 2001 reapportionment, the state has four congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives.

(See: List of United Representatives from Mississippi)

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

(See: List of Mississippi counties)

Mississippi, like the rest of the American South, long supported the Democratic Party. Defeat in the Civil War at the hands of Abraham Lincoln, and the policies of Reconstruction, which included federally-appointed Republican governors, led to considerable white Southern resentment toward the Republican Party. Following the Compromise of 1877, federal troops enforcing the provisions of Reconstruction were pulled out of the South. Thereafter the Democratic Party regained political control of the state, using methods designed to depress black voter turnout. The Mississippi state government was the first after the war to pass a law preventing black voters with the Grandfather Clause in 1890. After it was declared unconstitutional, it was replaced by a poll tax and literacy tests. By 1900 the vast majority of African Americans in the state were denied the right to vote. Not until 1966, following the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, would most regain the vote.

For 116 years (from 1876 to 1992), Mississippians only elected Democratic governors. Over the same period, the Democratic Party dominated other state and federal elections in Mississippi. However, since the 1960s the Republican Party has become competitive in statewide elections, and in recent years it has become dominant in the state's federal elections, winning the state's electoral votes in every election since 1980.

Mississippi is one of the most conservative in the US, and with religion often playing a large role in citizens' political views. There are strict laws on gambling, and Mississippi is an Alcoholic beverage control state. In 2004 86% of voters amended the state constitution to ban any legal rights for same sex couples- the highest level of support any such initiative has ever received in the United ..

Major cities and towns

Fishing Boats in BiloxiJackson
Bay St. Louis
Moss Point

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

1. Jackson, Mississippi (177,977)
2. Gulfport, Mississippi (72,464)
3. Biloxi, Mississippi (50,209)
4. Hattiesburg, Mississippi (47,176)
5. Southaven, Mississippi (38,840)
6. Greenville, Mississippi (38,724)
7. Meridian, Mississippi (38,605)
8. Tupelo, Mississippi (35,673)
9. Olive Branch, Mississippi(27,964)
10. Clinton, Mississippi (26,017)

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

Colleges, universities and community colleges
Alcorn State University
Belhaven College
Blue Mountain College
Coahoma Community College
Copiah-Lincoln Community College
Delta State University
East Central Community College
East Mississippi Community College
Hinds Community College
Holmes Community College
Itawamba Community College
Jackson State University
Jones County Junior College
Magnolia Bible College
Meridian Community College
Millsaps College
Mississippi College
Mississippi Delta Comunity College
Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College
Mississippi State University
Mississippi University for Women
Mississippi Valley State University
Northeast Mississippi Community College
Northwest Mississippi Community College
Pearl River Community College
Reformed Theological Seminary
Rust College
Southwest Mississippi Community College
Tougaloo College
University of Mississippi
University of Mississippi Medical Center
The University of Southern Mississippi
Wesley Biblical Seminary
Wesley College
William Carey College

Miscellaneous topics
The state takes its name from the Mississippi River, which flows along the western boundary. The name itself comes from either the Ojibwe, a Native American language spoken around the river's headwaters, or some other closely related Algonquian language, meaning "great river." Other nicknames attached to Mississippi are the Magnolia State and the Hospitality State.

It is common for young children in the United to count "One-Mississippi, two-Mississippi" during games like hide and seek to approximate counting by seconds.

The Teddy Bear gets it’s name from a hunting trip in 1902, to Sharkey County Mississippi, by President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, when Roosevelt refused to shoot a captured bear.

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

The first woman federal judge in the United was Burnita Shelton Matthews of Burnell (Hazelhurst) MS, Appointed by Harry S Truman on October 21, 1949.

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

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

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


Scouting in Mississippi

State symbols
State motto: "Virtute et Armis" (By Valor and Arms)
State song: "Go, Mississippi", adopted 1962
Patron saint: Our Lady of Sorrows
State flower and state tree: Magnolia
State bird: Mockingbird
State beverage: Milk
State fish: Largemouth Bass
State insect: Honeybee
State water mammal: Bottlenose Dolphin
State shell: Oyster
State fossil: A whale fossil nicknamed "Ziggy"
State land mammals: White-tailed Deer and Red Fox
State waterfowl: Wood duck
State stone: Petrified wood
State wildflower: Coreopsis
State butterfly: Spicebush Swallowtail
State dance: Square Dance
Statehood Quarter was minted in 2002.

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

USS Mississippi was named in honor of this state.

Famous Mississippians
Mississippi has produced a number of notable and famous individuals, including authors William Faulkner and Eudora Welty, musicians Elvis Presley and Jimmy Buffet, blues musicians B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Robert Johnson, novelist John Grisham, entertainers Oprah Winfrey and Jim Henson, author Richard Wright, actors [[Morgan Freeman], James Earl Jones, and Sela Ward, playwright Tennessee Williams, rap music singer David Banner, punk metal band The Cooters, alternative rock band 3 Doors Down, opera singer Leontyne Price, athletes Brett Favre, Jerry Rice, Archie Manning, Walter Payton, Steve McNair, and Roy Oswalt and country music singers Jimmie Rodgers, Tammy Wynette, LeAnn Rimes, Mandingo and Faith Hill.

See List of Mississippians

See also



State of Mississippi
The Mississippi Writers Page
Mississippi Arts
Mississippi State Facts
Mississippi Teacher Corps
General Info for The State of Mississippi
State of Mississippi
Capital Jackson

Regions The Delta | Golden Triangle | Gulf Coast | Jackson Metro | Memphis Metro | Natchez District | Pine Belt

cities Biloxi | Clinton | Columbus | Greenville | Gulfport | Hattiesburg | Jackson | Meridian | Pascagoula | Southaven | Tupelo | Vicksburg

cities Bay St. Louis | Brandon | Brookhaven | Canton | Clarksdale | Cleveland | Corinth | Gautier | Greenwood | Grenada | Horn Lake | Indianola | Laurel | Long Beach | Madison | McComb | Moss Point | Natchez | Ocean Springs | Olive Branch | Oxford | Pass Christian | Pearl | Picayune | Ridgeland | Starkville | Waveland | West Hattiesburg (Oak Grove) | West Point | Yazoo City

Counties Adams | Alcorn | Amite | Attala | Benton | Bolivar | Calhoun | Carroll | Chickasaw | Choctaw | Claiborne | Clarke | Clay | Coahoma | Copiah | Covington | DeSoto | Forrest | Franklin | George | Greene | Grenada | Hancock | Harrison | Hinds | Holmes | Humphreys | Issaquena | Itawamba | Jackson | Jasper | Jefferson | Jefferson Davis | Jones | Kemper | Lafayette | Lamar | Lauderdale | Lawrence | Leake | Lee | Leflore | Lincoln | Lowndes | Madison | Marion | Marshall | Monroe | Montgomery | Neshoba | Newton | Noxubee | Oktibbeha | Panola | Pearl River | Perry | Pike | Pontotoc | Prentiss | Quitman | Rankin | Scott | Sharkey | Simpson | Smith | Stone | Sunflower | Tallahatchie | Tate | Tippah | Tishomingo | Tunica | Union | Walthall | Warren | Washington | Wayne | Webster | Wilkinson | Winston | Yalobusha | Yazoo

Topics Regions | Larger Cities | Smaller Cities | Mississippians
Governors | Lieutenant Governors | Legislature | State Parks | Music | History