Economic history

Shipbuilding Along the Mississippi Gulf Coast

Theme and Time Period

“Build me straight, O worthy Master!
Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster
And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Seafood Industry in Biloxi: Its Early History, 1848-1930

Theme and Time Period

In its 19th century beginning, the seafood industry in Biloxi, Mississippi, supplied only local markets with its succulent shrimp and plump oysters, and coast residents had always enjoyed the bounty of the harvest. Located on the water’s edge of the Gulf of Mexico, the city erected the Biloxi Lighthouse in 1848 to guide fishermen safely home. Locally caught and processed seafood could not be shipped to any market of great distance since there was no way to prevent spoilage.

Making Ice in Mississippi

Theme and Time Period

Man-made ice is a common everyday item, one that Americans take for granted. It is produced as small cubes in refrigerators at homes and businesses, and fills ice chests at parks and beaches for use whenever we need or want it.

Making Ice in Mississippi Lesson Plan


Two inventions, now so commonplace that southerners can’t imagine being without them, totally revolutionized the lives and environments of southerners in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Appearing initially in the mid-1800s, man-made ice would soon pave the way for the development of air conditioning, which was used to beat back the humid heat of the South. Not only did the block ice business allow Mississippians to drink their tea “iced,” it also had a positive impact on both state and national economies.

Hubert D. Stephens: Mississippi’s “Quiet Man” in the Senate

Theme and Time Period

During his twenty-eight-year public career, Hubert Durrett Stephens was a Mississippi district attorney, a United States congressman and senator, and a member of the board of directors of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation. Nonetheless, he is little known due to his desire for privacy and his reluctance to match political adversaries in their clamor for public attention. At retirement he directed the burning of his papers. Without access to the kind of material by which a public official’s influence can best be evaluated, historians have relegated him to the sidelines.

Cotton and the Civil War

Theme and Time Period

If slavery was the corner stone of the Confederacy, cotton was its foundation. At home its social and economic institutions rested upon cotton; abroad its diplomacy centered around the well-known dependence of Europe…upon an uninterrupted supply of cotton from the southern states.

Frank L. Owsley Jr.

Not Just Farms Anymore: The Effects of World War II on Mississippi’s Economy Lesson Plan


While the nation was transformed economically by the Second World War effort, individual states were changed as well. Evidence of this transformation can still be seen within Mississippi through the state’s military facilities and manufacturing companies. These types of industries were created for national defense during World War II and still impact the state’s economy today.


Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 2, 3, and 4


Grades 7 through 12

Economic Development in the 1930s: Balance Agriculture with Industry Lesson Plan


One of the primary goals of Mississippi governors and politicians of the 1930s was to stimulate economic growth in the state. Columbia's mayor, Hugh White, was elected governor of Mississippi in 1935. His political aspirations included developing the economic industrial base of the state through a plan that became known as BAWI (Balance Agriculture with Industry).  Even though few of the firms that were established under White's plan still exist, this economic vision acted as a catalyst in changing economic goals for a historically agricultural state.