Mississippi celebrates two- hundred years of statehood in 2017. According to the official MS Bicentennial website, the celebrations officially began with the Mississippi Bicentennial Celebration South on March 31 of this year. If you missed out on an earlier event, do not worry. There will be several more events throughout the year to honor “people and places, music and food, achievement in agriculture, science, and industry, sports legends, literary and artistic genius and more.”
Mississippi was officially recognized as the twentieth state in the United States of America on December 10, 1817. Since then, the Hospitality State has continued to grow and expand. The state’s first inhabitants included the Choctaw, Natchez and Chickasaw tribes of Native Americans. French explorers established the first permanent settlement in 1699.
Ever since, Mississippi has been a mixing ground of cultures, backgrounds, struggles and victories. The success of Mississippi’s cotton production in the first half of the nineteenth century set Mississippi up to become one of the many battlegrounds around the south of the Civil Rights Movement in the mid-twentieth century. Mississippi has suffered several economic and natural disasters such as the flood of 1927 which flooded three million acres of Delta Land across seven states, the Great Depression, the New Year’s Eve Snow Storm, Hurricane Camille, Hurricane Katrina and most recently the tornadoes of 2013. Yet each time Mississippi has been faced with adversity, its people have come together to rise again.
The state has made contributions to agriculture, music, literature and science (Mississippi is home to the John C. Stennis Space Center). The likes of B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Eudora Welty and William Faulkner are just a few of the examples of persons contributing to the arts and hailing from Mississippi. More than anything, the bicentennial aims to celebrate the enduring spirit of the Mississippi people.
To celebrate the bicentennial, the organizational board has arranged for events to take place throughout 2017 with the capstone of the celebrations being the grand opening of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum on December 9, 2017. The Levitt AMP Music Series, an outdoor concert series in Hattiesburg which began July 7, was an event featuring Mississippi-influenced musicians as part of the celebrations.
Mississippi Bicentennial Upcoming Events Schedule
Special collections at The University of Southern Mississippi
September 14 @ 6 pm. Cook Library Art Gallery-Free and open to the public.
Joseph Weinberg, assistant professor in the department of political science, international development and international affairs will present “Cotton, Catfish, and Cochran-Mississippi’s Place in U.S. Agriculture Policy.”
November 1 – November 4 @ Jackson, Mississippi.
A three-day holiday shopping extravaganza featuring more than 100 merchants from across the nation. Each day features special events designed to fuel the excitement of the approaching holiday season.
39th Annual Peter Anderson Arts & Crafts Festival
November 4 – November 5 @ Ocean Springs, Mississippi.
Largest fine art festival in the state with more than 400 arts, crafts and food vendors set up in downtown Ocean Springs
Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 30 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm @ Kosciusko, Mississippi
This event features lighting of the tree and Christmas carols on Kosciusko’s Historic Court Square.
Festival of Lights
December 8 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Kick off the holiday season at this spectacular event. The Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College-Perkinston Campus is trans- formed into a fantasyland of lights, music and holiday treats for the entire family.
16th Annual Christmas on the Bayou
December 9 @ 8:00 am – 5:00 pm @ Gulfport, Mississippi.
Lighted boat parade begins in Gulfport Lake, down Bayou Bernard to the conclusion at the mouth of the bayou at Big Lake.