Industry and Agriculture

The Truth About the Boll Weevil

Theme and Time Period

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.

The Rural Electrification of Northeast Mississippi

Theme and Time Period

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.

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.