In January 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt refused to accept the resignation of Minnie Geddings Cox, postmistress for the city of Indianola and Mississippi’s first African American postmistress. Roosevelt subsequently closed Indianola’s post office, and it remained closed for more than a year. The newspapers called the incident the “Indianola Affair.” Raised by business owner parents and educated at one of the premier schools for aspiring African American women, Cox sought opportunities beyond the traditional expectations for women of the time.
In January 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt refused to accept the resignation of Minnie Geddings Cox, postmistress for the city of Indianola and Mississippi’s first African American postmistress. Roosevelt subsequently closed Indianola’s post office, and it remained closed for more than a year. The newspapers referred to the post office closing as the “Indianola Affair.” Cox’s role in the Indianola Affair, however, has been reduced to a footnote in early twentieth-century United States history.
The widespread suffering caused by the Great Depression rendered religious agencies in Mississippi unable to help those in need. As the income of workers fell by 40 to 60 percent, donations traditionally used to fund religious aid for those trapped at the bottom of society also plummeted. Most religious leaders and agencies in Mississippi called for and subsequently welcomed the various social aid programs created by President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated Mississippi State University (MSU) as host of the National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
During the early 1900s, the boll weevil threatened the Yazoo-Mississippi Delta and put the state’s cotton kingdom in peril. Surprisingly, planters believed that the best way to defend their cotton from the weevil was to protect their place on top of the racial and social ladder in the Delta. James Giesen’s research reveals the ways in which the beliefs of White landowners concerning race and labor shaped the approach of Delta planters to their agricultural environment and its pests.
Electric power has been called “man’s most useful servant.” It heats and cools homes and businesses, cooks and preserves food, illuminates a dark room or street, and powers machinery, televisions, electronics, and transportation.
Electric power was first available in the United States in 1882 when Thomas Alva Edison created the country’s first commercial power plant in New York City. The power plant provided electricity to customers within a square mile. Edison had already developed an incandescent light bulb in 1879 that was practical and safe for home use.
Between 1930 and 1940 nearly 23,000 farm homes in Mississippi received access to electricity for the first time. This access was due in large part to President Franklin Roosevelt’s support of rural electrification and to the efforts of John E. Rankin, a Mississippi representative in the U.S. Congress.
In 1936, Time magazine suggested that “better than any living man, Senator Byron Patton Harrison of Mississippi represents in his spindle-legged, round-shouldered, freckle-faced person the modern history of the Democratic Party.” By then Harrison had been in politics since 1906 and now, thirty years later, he was chairman of the most powerful committee in the United States Senate. His political era had begun when the Democratic Party was in the doldrums, yet he had won national attention in the 1920s when Republicans held the presidency and control of Congress.
Senator Pat Harrison served his native state of Mississippi in both the U.S. House of Representatives (1911-1919) and the U.S. Senate (1919-1941). In a political career that spanned more than thirty years, Harrison represented his state and nation during difficult times. He served during World War I, during the 1930s Great Depression, and during the buildup to World War II. It was during these challenging times that Harrison served as chairman of the powerful Committee on Finance in the U.S. Senate.
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