Cotton Kingdom, 1833–1865
Grades 7 through 9
2018 Mississippi College-and Career-Readiness Standards for the Social Studies
Three weeks before Christmas of 1903, J. R. Climer of Madison County, Mississippi, became the first resident of the Jefferson Davis Soldier Home, Beauvoir — Mississippi’s home for Confederate veterans and their wives and widows on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in Biloxi. Climer was a Tennessean by birth and a veteran of Company A of the Madison Light Artillery that fought in General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia at some of the most famous battles of the American Civil War. When the war began, Climer was a tombstone agent in Canton.
Sarah Dickey was a young women in her twenties when she was sent on a mission by the United Brethren Church to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Between 1863 and 1865, she helped operate a school in Vicksburg for newly emancipated slaves. It was during this time that Dickey realized her life’s calling – to teach African American children during one of the most turbulent times in American history. After the war, she enrolled at Mount Holyoke, a female college in Massachusetts known for training teachers.
During Reconstruction, one of the most turbulent periods for race relations in the state’s history, Sarah Ann Dickey, a White female teacher from the North, became a pioneer by providing education to newly freed enslaved people in Mississippi. Dickey worked tirelessly and determinedly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable population group in the state, African American women and children. She believed that by educating Black women and training them to become teachers, dual paths of security and opportunity could be established for all freedmen.
The 1830s witnessed a succession of profound, and often wrenching, changes that remade Mississippi. At the start of the decade, White settlement was confined to the region between the Mississippi and Pearl Rivers and to another small pocket on the upper branches of the Tombigbee River. Despite the ratification of the Treaty of Doaks Stand (1820), most of the state remained in the hands of the Choctaws and Chickasaws.