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Pray to the to the Lord for these Mississippi streets. ~ Lavell Crump
I once asked a New York reporter if his newsroom issued him a pith helmet and jodhpurs when he ventured down to the Heart of Darkness they portray Mississippi to be. He had asked me if I knew where he could find some Klan to interview and didn't appear to believe me when I told him it wasn't much of a going concern in most of the state anymore. ~ Geoff Pender
Yeah! Mississippi, you know what I'm talking about. The home of the blues, the dirtiest part of the south... Mississippi! Everybody from the south, let's ride! ~ Lavell Crump

Mississippi, also known as the State of Mississippi, is a U.S. state that is located in the southern region of the contiguous United States of America. It is bordered by Tennessee to the north, Alabama to the east, and Louisiana and Arkansas to the west. The United States acquired it from the British Empire at the end of the American Revolution, and it was admitted to the Union as a slave state in 1817. It joined the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War, and after the end of the Reconstruction era it was ruled by white-supremacist southern Democrats until the civil rights movement. It ranks among the highest U.S. states in religiosity and among the lowest in health, education, development, and income. Its state government is currently controlled by the Republican Party, and its current governor is Tate Reeves.


  • Recently I went along with a field secretary of the N.A.A.C.P. in Mississippi to investigate a murder that had been hushed up. We rode around through those back roads for hours talking to people who had known the dead man, trying to find out what had happened. And the Negroes talked to us as the German Jews must have talked when Hitler came to power. (1969)
    • 1969 interview in Conversations with James Baldwin, edited by Fred R. Standley and Louis H. Pratt (1989)
  • The whole political structure in Washington is partly designed to protect the Southern oligarchy. And Bobby Kennedy's much more interested in politics than he is in any of these things, and so for that matter, is his brother. And furthermore, even if Bobby Kennedy were a different person, or his brother, they are also ignorant, as most white Americans are, of what the problem really is, of how Negroes really live. The speech Kennedy made to Mississippi the night Meredith was carried there was one of the most shameful performances in our history. Because he talked to Mississippi as if there were no Negroes there. And this had a terrible, demoralizing, disaffecting effect on all Negroes everywhere. One is weary of being told that desegregation is legal. One would like to hear for a change that it is right! Now, how one begins to use this power we were talking about earlier is a very grave question, because first of all you have to get Eastland out of Congress and get rid of the power that he wields there. You've got to get rid of J. Edgar Hoover and the power that he wields. If one could get rid of just those two men, or modify their power, there would be a great deal more hope. How in the world are you going to get Mississippi Negroes to go to the polls if you remember that most of them are extremely poor, most of them almost illiterate, and that they live under the most intolerable conditions? They are used to it, which is worse, and they have no sense that they can do anything for themselves. If six Negroes go to the polls and get beaten half to death, and one or two die, and nothing happens from Washington, how are you going to manage even to get the ballot?
    • 1969 interview in Conversations with James Baldwin edited by Louis H. Pratt and Fred L. Standley (1989)
  • Mississippi has been unfairly portrayed in movies and TV shows as a backward, poorly educated state where the average resident has seventeen teeth and rides around in a pickup truck with a shotgun and a mongrel dog that scores higher on the SAT tests than the average resident. This is a terribly unfair stereotype. The actual truth is closer to nineteen teeth. No! Ha ha! We're just kidding, Mississippi residents! Seriously, Mississippi is a dynamic and growing state, and many modern technological corporations are relocating here to take advantage of the ready availability of okra. Also Elvis was born in Tupelo, where you can visit his birthplace and possibly meet him in person. You'll also want to visit one of the old plantations, where attractive hostesses dressed in authentic costumes explain the old traditional lifestyle and flog an authentic motorized replica of a slave. Mississippi's Official State Motto is "Whoooo-EEEEE!"
    • Dave Barry, Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need (1991), New York: Fawcett Columbine, p. 84-85
  • America was swelling rapidly in numbers as well as in area. Between 1790 and 1820 the population increased from four to nine and a half millions. Thereafter it almost doubled every I twenty years. Nothing like such a rate of growth had before been noted in the world, though it was closely paralleled in contemporary England. The settlement of great bodies of men in the West was eased by the removal of the Indian tribes from the regions east of the Mississippi. They had been defeated when they fought as allies of Britain in the war of 1812. Now it became Federal policy to eject them. The lands thus thrown open were made available in smaller units and at lower prices than in earlier years to the incoming colonists — for we might as well use this honourable word about them, unpopular though it may now be. Colonisation, in the true sense, was the task that engaged the Western pioneers. Farmers from stony New England were tilling the fertile empty territories to the south of the Great Lakes, while in the South the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi proved fruitful soil for the recent art of large-scale cotton cultivation.
    • Winston Churchill, A History of the English-Speaking Peoples Volume IV: The Great Democracies (1958), pp. 103-104
  • Know what I'm talking about. Yeah, Mississippi. Motherfucker! Newton County. What I live and die for, Scott County. Ball for the kids, Simpson County. Know what I'm talking about. Hell yeah! Mississippi, you know what I'm talking about. The home of the blues, the dirtiest part of the south. You know what I'm talking about. The place where you get them fish and them criss, motherfucker. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. The Delta, motherfucker. Cotton, you know what I'm talking bout!
  • Bring the gangster walk back. Memphis! Mississippi! Everybody from the south, let's ride... North Mississippi in this bastard!
  • If now you young people, instead of running away from the battle here in Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, instead of seeking freedom and opportunity in Chicago and New York—which do spell opportunity—nevertheless grit your teeth and make up your minds to fight it out right here if it takes every day of your lives and the lives of your children’s children; if you do this, you must in meetings like this ask yourselves what does the fight mean? How can it be carried on? What are the best tools, arms, and methods? And where does it lead? I should be the last to insist that the uplift of mankind never calls for force and death. There are times, as both you and I know, when "Tho’ love repine and reason chafe, There came a voice without reply, ‘Tis man’s perdition to be safe, When for truth he ought to die."
  • “Behold the beautiful land which the Lord thy God hath given thee.” Behold the land, the rich and resourceful land, from which for a hundred years its best elements have been running away, its youth and hope, black and white, scurrying North because they are afraid of each other, and dare not face a future of equal, independent, upstanding human beings, in a real and not a sham democracy. To rescue this land, in this way, calls for the Great Sacrifice. This is the thing that you are called upon to do because it is the right thing to do. Because you are embarked upon a great and holy crusade, the emancipation of mankind, black and white; the upbuilding of democracy; the breaking down, particularly here in the South, of forces of evil represented by race prejudice in South Carolina; by lynching in Georgia; by disfranchisement in Mississippi; by ignorance in Louisiana and by all these and monopoly of wealth in the whole South. There could be no more splendid vocation beckoning to the youth of the twentieth century, after the flat failures of white civilization, after the flamboyant establishment of an industrial system which creates poverty and the children of poverty which are ignorance and disease and crime; after the crazy boasting of a white culture that finally ended in wars which ruined civilization in the whole world; in the midst of allied peoples who have yelled about democracy and never practiced it either in the British Empire or in the American Commonwealth or in South Carolina.
  • All I can say is that I am well. I have the enemy closely hemmed in all round. My position is naturally strong and fortified against an attack from outside. I have been so strongly reinforced that Johnston will have to come with a mighty host to drive me away. I do not look upon the fall of Vicksburg as in the least doubtful. If, however, I could have carried the place on the 22nd of last month, I could by this time have made a campaign that would have made the State of Mississippi almost safe for a solitary horseman to ride over.
  • Kill her in Mississippi and drive her ass to Missouri.
  • I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. And some of you have come from areas where your quest -- quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair, I say to you today, my friends. And so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal." I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today! I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together." This is our hope, and this is the faith that I go back to the South with.
  • I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over the years, either.
    • Trent Lott, from a speech at Thurmond's 100th birthday party (5 December 2002)
  • My statue at Ole Miss is a false idol. And it wasn't put there for my benefit. It was put there for Ole Miss and Mississippi...Ole Miss kicked my butt and they're still celebrating. Because every black that's gone there since me has been insulted, humiliated, and they can't even tell their story. Everybody has to tell James Meredith's story — which is a lie. The powers that be in Mississippi understand this very clearly. See, I've been telling them for fifty years how insulting it is to me to suggest that I had to be courageous to confront some ignorant white folks. And recently, they told me they really understand, but they're gonna keep doing it. I can't figure a way to make 'em stop. They're gonna keep on doin' it because it makes it impossible for the blacks there now to say anything about what's happened to them. Because the comparison is with the idol.
  • I once asked a New York reporter if his newsroom issued him a pith helmet and jodhpurs when he ventured down to the Heart of Darkness they portray Mississippi to be. He had asked me if I knew where he could find some Klan to interview and didn't appear to believe me when I told him it wasn't much of a going concern in most of the state anymore.
  • Government secrecy outside the strict confines of national security is a generally bad thing, and it never appears to work out well for those being governed. Mississippi in particular should know this well.
  • I love the spring in Mississippi... I'm so incredibly proud to say I'm say I'm from Mississippi, and Mississippians continue to make me proud to say that's where I'm from.
  • Alabama's gotten me so upset/Tennessee made me lose my rest/And everybody knows about Mississippi Goddam
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