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Jackson Mississippi

southern culture and history soul food and music literature architecture

The region that is now the city of Jackson was historically part of the large territory occupied by the Choctaw Nation and the historic culture of the Muskogean-speaking peoples that inhabited the area for thousands of years.

Pearl River barge transporting Saturn VLocated on the historic Natchez Trace trade route, created by Native Americans and used by European-American settlers, and on the Pearl River, the city’s first European-American settler was trader Louis Le Fleur. In the late 18th century and early 19th century, Jackson was a trading post connected to markets in Tennessee.

The City of Jackson sits on the Pearl River in the greater Jackson Prairie region of Mississippi. Founded in 1821, it is named after General Andrew Jackson. Following the nearby Battle of Vicksburg in 1863 Union forces lay siege and subsequently burned it.

Jackson siegePearl River shipping was only 750 tons in 1827; by 1904 it reached 19,869 tons. Dams, canals, levees and water control structures have had negative effects on wetlands and the ecological services they provide; these artificial structures are being removed to allow natural river activities to resume.

Southern Culture, Jackson is home to world-class painters, sculptors, dancers, actors, architects, photographers, filmmakers, musicians, and artisans. or a small business meeting.

A Culinary Scene with Chefs and Mom and Pop Restaurants

Eudora Welty House MuseumLiterature Eudora Welty was a Jackson native who lived most of her life in the Belhaven section of the city. Her writings presented a picture of the city in the early 20th century. A Pulitzer Prize winner, the main Jackson public library is named in her honor, and her home has been designated as a National Historic Landmark. Richard Wright, a highly acclaimed African-American author, lived in Jackson as an adolescent and young man in the 1910s and 1920s. He described the harsh and largely terror-filled life most African Americans experienced in the South and in Northern ghettos.

Amtrak Jackson, MS StationArchitecture in the early 20th century. Jackson had significant growth which produced dramatic changes in the city’s skyline. Union Station reflected the city’s service by multiple rail lines; as railroads were among the new work opportunities for African Americans, who moved into the city from rural areas for such industrial-type jobs. Nearby, the 18-story Standard Life Building, designed in 1929, was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world upon its completion.

The City with Soul – Blues Gospel Folk and Jazz Music

Soul foodGold Coast during Mississippi’s extended Prohibition era from the 1920s until the 1960s, illegal drinking and gambling casinos flourished on the east side of the Pearl River, just across from the city of Jackson. Those illegal casinos, bootleg liquor stores, and nightclubs operated for decades; although outside the law, the Gold Coast was a thriving center of nightlife and music, with many local blues musicians appearing regularly in the clubs. The Gold Coast declined after Mississippi’s prohibition laws were repealed in 1966. In addition, integration drew off business from establishments that earlier had catered to African Americans.

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Mississippi Sights Sounds and Food Traditions

Mississippi Regions

Mississippi Monmouth Mansion NatchezDelta As diverse as the crops that grow here and the music that made it famous, the Mississippi Delta is a melting pot of cultures – from African to Italian to Asian.

Capital-River from a mighty river and antebellum mansions to downtowns with restaurants featuring soul food, authentic ethnic dishes and modern culinary delights.

Pines barbecue and bakeries, cheese and cheesecakes, the tastes of this region take their influences from their Native American heritage and the railroads that brought lumber, cotton and other goods.

Hills home to William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams and Southern fiction characters, platters of fried chicken, skillets of cornbread, and delicacies such as pecan pie.

Coast a little of everything:  golf, gambling, art, architecture and great food. Immigrants from all over the world – Croatian, Vietnamese and French – a blend of cultures and culinary traditions.

Sights and Sounds

GracelandThe B.B. King Museum is a tribute to one of Mississippi’s most famous sons and the land that inspired his music. With its sleek, linear design, the 20,000-square-foot museum carved out of an old cotton gin is a convergence of old and new and is a cornerstone of Mississippi’s blues heritage.

The Birthplace of Elvis Presley in Tupelo, Mississippi is the only location in the world where you can see, feel and touch where the King of Rock & Roll began his musical journey.

Delta Blues Museum in the land where the Blues began, just 90 miles south of Memphis, is dedicated to exploring the history and heritage of this unique American musical art form.

Vicksburg National Military Park commemorates the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg. Its surrender on July 4, 1863, coupled with the fall of Port Hudson, Louisiana, divided the South, and gave the North undisputed control of the Mississippi River. It includes 1,330 monuments and markers, a 16-mile tour road, a restored Union gunboat, and a National Cemetery.

Natchez’s historic district is of the oldest permanent settlement along the Mississippi. It boasts over 500 historic homes and sites, seasonal trees, unique courtyards, five historical churches and roof top views.

Numerous antebellum mansions, many of them private residences, open their doors to visitors during the five-week Pilgrimage every spring and fall.

Food and Drink

Food FarmersThe Mississippi Story can be told through heirloom recipes, family-owned restaurants and farm-to-table menus full of celebrated dishes. From catfish to comeback sauce, from tamales to traditional Southern sweets, from shrimp to slugburgers to sweet potatoes, Mississippi’s culinary heritage is home to award-winning chefs, noted national food writers, as well as some of the best home cooks and out-of-the way diners to be found anywhere.

Mississippi is a true melting pot of regional, ethnic, national and international cuisine

African-American Influence what has come to be known and loved nationally as “soul food” runs through virtually all culinary styles. Traditional Southern fare such as barbeque, comfort food and sweet tea; a cooking style that Mississippi can truly call its own.

In the early twentieth century, migrant workers from Mexico left their mark on the Mississippi Delta with the ever-popular tamale. Italians, Chinese, Lebanese and other immigrants also reshaped the course of Mississippi cuisine. In Jackson, the Greek influx of the mid-twentieth century remains a dominant force on the local restaurant scene. Along the Gulf Coast, newcomers from Croatia, Italy and Vietnam settled in to enrich and expand upon traditional Gulf seafood dishes.

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