Mississippi

Although marred by the grisly murders of three young activists, the Freedom Summer of 1964 brought revolutionary changes to Mississippi and the nation

On the first day of summer in 1964, three young activists piled into a blue station wagon in Meridian, Mississippi, and headed into Klan country. Across America, it was Father’s Day, a lazy holiday of picnics, barbecues, and doubleheaders. Read more >>

WILLIE MORRIS revisits a book that nourished him as a boy and discovers that the landscapes the young Samuel Clemens navigated are in fact the topography of Morris’s own life

MARK TWAIN WAS BORN ALMOST EXACTLY A century before I was into a small-town Mississippi Valley culture that, despite the centennial difference, bore remarkable resemblances to my own. Read more >>

Unloved and unlovely, the fragile boats of the “Tinclad Navy” ventured, Lincoln said, “wherever the ground was a little damp,” and made a contribution to the Western war that has never been sufficiently appreciated

In the late summer and autumn of 1864 two brothers, Norman and George Carr, aged twenty-two and twenty-four respectively, left their upstate New York home of Union Springs to join the United States Navy. The motives that sent them may have been complex. Read more >>
William Ferris, fifty-two years old, is a prolific writer in folklore, American literature, fiction, and photography and is co-editor of the monumental Encyclopedia of Southern Culture . Read more >>

Deep South states are taking the lead in promoting landmarks of a three-hundred-year heritage of oppression and triumph—and they’re drawing visitors from around the world

Kate is waiting for us by the kitchen garden. Her owner, Benjamin Powell, has warned us that she “often has a case of the grumps,” so we approach her cautiously. Read more >>

Robert Johnson died in obscurity in 1938; since then he has gradually gained recognition as a genius of American music. Only recently have the facts of his short, tragic life become known.

Who was Robert Johnson? For so many years that question haunted all of us who loved the blues. Certainly we knew about Robert Johnson’s music. Read more >>

The 1,200-Mile Race Between the Natchez and the Robert E. Lee

The first days of July, 1870, found busy river ports along the Mississippi stewing in an unprecedented atmosphere of oppressive, sticky heat and blazing excitement all the way from St. Louis to New Orleans. Read more >>

A Tireless Photographer’s Record of a River Town

FORTY YEARS ON GLASS Read more >>

A Scottish émigré became the most powerful man in the French government, and sold hundreds of thousands of shares in land holdings in the Mississippi Valley

The curious table shown opposite, with its montage of hand-painted scenes, commemorates a grand financial debacle in eighteenth-century France that was commonly known as the Mississippi Bubble. Read more >>

IN THE DELTA

The low-lying Delta—six and a half million acres of land rich with soil left by the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers in flood—was first opened to a cotton-hungry world in the mid-1820’s. The price of cotton was high. Read more >>
The wonderfully evocative photograph spread across the two preceding pages has a great deal to say, in the way that pictures do, about America, its heritage, and the importance of historic preservation. Read more >>

“An unconquerable mind in a frame of iron”
Forgotten paintings by George Catlin, who saw the West unspoiled, turn up again to recall the marvels that unfolded before the eyes of the heroic French explorer

Along the Mississippi the spirit of vanished culture lingers in the ruined columns of the great plantations