I Am Mississippi

I am Mississippi, the dirtiest part of the South.

I am the butt of every joke. Obesity. Illiteracy. Poverty. Go ahead. Make the obligatory punchline you have already cued up in your head. It’s okay. Because sure, those struggles may be around, but there’s also so much more. There is still abundant culture, and a proud one at that. We may be considered “simple” people, but that’s okay. In fact, we prefer it that way. Because what you call simple, we call hospitable, relaxed, and unconcerned with the constant status struggle that declares us to be obese, illiterate, and poor.

I am the physical embodiment of the blues. Beaten down and busted, yet timeless and original. There may not necessarily be a lot of money around here, but one can’t play the blues without soul, and soul is something that is never in short supply in these parts.

I am the warm breeze on a front porch at sunset, sweet tea in hand. I am simple, but not in the negative way others may misconstrue it as. Rather, I am the simple celebration of life. I am an appreciation of the simplicity of that breeze and that porch and that tea. A disconnect from the constant movement of life. Time stands still, or at least slows down, when that warm breeze blows through.

I am not a kissing cousin, but I am part of a family. One that cares for each other and picks each other up when they fall down. Hurricane Katrina destroyed buildings, but it didn’t destroy the helping spirit of all who came to rebuild. Tornadoes ripped apart Yazoo City, but as soon as they were gone, thousands came in to clean up the mess. We look after our brothers and sisters.

I am poor, but not discouraged. Economies come and go for white and black alike, but culture never goes through a recession.

I am not “Where do you live?” but rather, “Where do you stay?”, as if there is an ingrown universal understanding of the impermanence of life.

I am not “How are you?” but rather, “What’s good?”, as if we know what really need to be asked.

I am not “doing well”, I am “blessed”, as if we all truly understand where good and perfect things come from.

I have a difficult history, but one that includes ongoing reconciliation. Tough reconciliation that is in constant progress.

Where there once was division, there is now opportunity. Opportunity for the beautiful diversity to blend together. Opportunity for ancient wrongs to be righted again and again and again. Opportunities for mercy to be shown to those who do not deserve it.

I have a proud history, but one that has been abandoned. I am streets left for dead, which once upon a time were thriving. I am Chimneyville; a place burned down so thoroughly that only chimneys remained, yet soon rebuilt. I am the City With Soul, where even in difficult years, culture survived. Yet I am also the abandoned neighborhoods, where children run cocaine because it’s the only life they know. I am the parents who teach their kids that an entire city isn’t safe and isn’t worth saving, because it’s the only life they know.

I am a place with plenty of mistakes. A place where people would rather lose all identity and history than rebuild and rebirth. A place that only needs people to care.

I am just as much Farish Street and Peaches Restaurant as I am State Street and Walker’s Drive-In. I am just as much Oxford as I am Starkville as I am Hattiesburg. I am just as much the Coast as I am the Golden Triangle as I am the Natchez District as I am the Delta.

You see, I am Mississippi. It is in my blood; my being. And wherever I go, I bring her with me.


146 thoughts on “I Am Mississippi

      1. Do you live here? If you don’t, thanks for lending your considerable writing talents to a state you clearly care about but find just too uncool to live in. I always like it when bloggers project an understanding of what it’s like to live here from a studio apartment in Los Feliz.

        1. Hey Jonesee, didnt I always see you hangin out at public men’s rooms in town looking for some action.

        2. I am projecting an understanding of what it’s like to live in Mississippi from Salem Oregon. I lived and worked there as a Police officer in the Tupelo area for thirteen years after growing up in California. I loved the people, culture, history and of course the food. I moved away a few years back to get my Autistic daughter a better education than they could provide within their system. In addition I could no longer enforce some of their antiquated laws. I can truly relate to the sitting on the porch with your sweet tea and forgetting the rest of the stuck up world. I miss Mississippi, just no the old mentality that exists within the government. Born in Colorado and raised in California I still tell people I am from Mississippi. Whether your a Rebel or a Bulldog fan, it’s a great place to live, as long as you don’t get caught breaking the law. They don’t play around and you had better read what laws are still on the books before visiting. Ha Ha Great article….Thanks

      2. Reared in Pearl, Mississippi by low income but loving, nurturing adults. When my school was segrated, I showed kindness to the blacks, which resulted in nasty notes being handed to me, and other negative reactions from kids I’d known all my life.
        One night the KKK burned a small cross in our yard. Momma came out with a shotgun and named them by their shoes and called them cowards. The next day a KKK leader came to our yard and threatened my father. I remember my father looking so frightened, but my father sent him packing.

        My parents sat me down and probed me for the name of who was putting ideas in my head. Was it a friend.? Teacher? I was maybe 13 at the time, but I replied truthfully, and told said, ‘You, Daddy, you, Momma, and Jesus”. Then I gave them examples of what they had taught me about respecting other people and not harming others. I quoted the Bible and asked them if they were liars, if Jesus was wrong. Up until that time my parents danced between the bigotry in their society and strict moral convictions. It was a turning point for them.
        I told them as soon as I was of age, I was going to join the military, leave Mississippi and see the world. I joined the Marines in 1968, when there was only about 400 women Marines in the world. Travelled extensively in the U.S. and lived in Japan. Retired from the military in Ga, moving back to Mississippi in 2003 to take care of my ailing mother.
        I have met a sea of people in my life and seen a multitude of attitudes, cultures. The negative aspects of Mississippi from my youth decades ago have all but vanished, as I have seen enormous progress and now would never choose to spend my life or raise my family anywhere else but here.
        Sorry for the long post.

        1. Please don’t apologize for such good and honest words. Our history is a harsh one, but one we can’t ignore in order to keep moving forward. Thank you for sharing this.

        2. I wasn’t born in Mississippi but reared here. I remember the KKK marches in downtown Tupelo on Saturday mornings. I hated it because we couldn’t go to “town” because there might be violence. I’ve lived in 7 other states in this great Country and chose to move back to be close to family. I love this State for all it’s short-comings. I love seeing people still wave to strangers they meet. Still say “hey” to folks they don’t know. And when someone asks, “how are you today”, you can hear people reply, “Blessed to be here”, and mean it.


    in all seriousness though, incredible.

    *begins whatever the blog version of a slow clap is*

  2. As someone who grew up in small-town Alabama, I totally get this. Especially the being-the-butt-of-everyone’s-jokes thing. Sigh. 🙂 Great post.

    1. Yeah, jokes about the South get old PRETTY quickly, don’t they? But hey, we’ve got fried chicken and collard greens, so everyone else can just shut it.

  3. Joseph Craven, you hit the nail on the head with this. I’m so blessed to have lived in this state for even just a little while. Mississippi is very dear to me for many of the reasons you mentioned and I always (literally) feel like I’m coming home when I visit. I find it very fitting that the word “miss” is in the state’s name, because I miss it and the people I’ve met who have encouraged my walk with Christ. Life. Changing.

  4. I am a Mississippian and identify w/ most of what you said. I really do appreciate this place, even though it is pretty screwed up at times. But I’m glad I’m not obese or illiterate.

  5. wait…so, you’re Mississippi? ………………………..oh.
    which part of you is Columbia? I feel this to be suddenly important to know…
    also, nicely done, sir.

  6. This was really well done. You took a most complex concept and gave it voice. LOVED it. PS: are you related to Ann and Steve Craven? I was at MSU with them, even went to their wedding.

    1. Well, several years after Ann and Steve got married, in the year 1988, they had their third son, Joseph, who went on to run a blog called The Greatest Blog Of All Time, where he wrote the post you just commented on, and is now replying to your comment.

      So yes, that’s my mom and dad. Fun connection!

      1. Another Mississippi-ism: there’s usually only 2 degrees separation for just about anyone you meet. “Do you know…”

  7. Twice read, which is saying much about blogs these days. And which part is Madison… I think you need to have it removed ;0)

    1. If you love Mississippi, you love all of it. Even the crazy Aunt who lives in the attic. Otherwise, you ain’t really family.

  8. The word “sip” is also in the state’s name, due to the native love of they homebrew sweet tea drank. And let’s not forget “pi.” Every Mississippian I’ve ever met loves ‘rithmetic and/or pie/pie graphs.

    Descent article. Would’ve been better if you were Texas. Or California. “Or…” X 47

  9. SURPRISE! YOU’RE IN AN ACTUAL ZOO!!…But seriously…surprise, you’re in an ACTUAL zoo.

  10. “I am the parents who teach their kids that an entire city isn’t safe and isn’t worth saving, because it’s the only life they know.”

    I believe we can live in a MS that is restored, a place that can be rebuilt, a MS that can be saved and unrivaled. Each state has what makes them great, and one of the many things I’ve come to love about living in this state (I’ve lived a little bit of everywhere over the south) is the heart it has.

    Mississippi has some great value, and you pointed it out, with great care, here.(in british accent) Fantastic post, Mr. Craven.

  11. Awesome! I’m from Brookhaven, born and raised. There are times I’m really disappointed in my state but most of the time I am proud I was born in the south. Mississippi is an amazing state and there is no other place like it. Thank you for writing this post.

  12. Thank you, Joseph! I am Mississippi (Purvis) born and bred. Because of work I have lived in TX, LA, TN, and now SC. I find, even in the South, that I have to defend my home. You have put into words what I defend every time I tell someone that I am from Mississippi! I usually leave with everyone wanting to visit!

  13. I love Mississippi. From purvis and live in Texas for many years. All my Daddy wanted was to move back home. I am the same way. Proud to be a Mississippian. This was beautiful annd am so glad I saw it on my fb page.Thank you!!!

  14. Especially living in DC now, your post really meant a lot to me. Thanks, Joseph.

  15. I love Mississippi too and I am proud to be a part of her. It is people like to that remind of why. Thank you.

    1. Well shoot. That should have been ‘It is people like you that remind me of why’. Good thing we have a sense of humor here. 🙂

  16. Thanks! I am not a native but have adopted this wonderful state and the wonderful city of Clinton.

  17. Love it! Thank you, thank you. It’s hard to explain to others about the pull of Mississippi to those of us born and raised here. When my husband was in the Navy, we were stationed in Italy for 3 yrs. I loved it, but used to wake up crying because I just wanted to see THE RIVER!

    1. You’re far from alone. Young people have been Mis’sippi’s biggest export since the Civil War. That seems to be the intention of those in charge. Everybody should get out for awhile. You will never understand Mis’sippi until you experience not Mis’sippi. Then you can decide if you ever want to go back.

    2. Mississippi is the only state in the south that is losing population – and it is the college educated that are leaving. We tried to move back, but the job market is basically nonexistent for high tech jobs and the foolishness in the state leg is not encouraging any growth in that area.

  18. 10 years ago my boyfriend and I took “The National IQ Test” on tv. Mississippi scored in the top 10 states. I scored 119 (first time I had ever taken an IQ test and didn’t know what to expect). My boyfriend scored 130 ( he was his school’s Valedictorian). We were in our 40’s then and live in Tupelo. So what does that say for the general idea that Mississippians are illiterate? I admit we are poor as dirt though. That’s because our Mississippi legislature keeps us down. I’ve lived in Natchez, Yazoo City and Tupelo though I’m really was born in Louisiana and lived all over it also. I guess you could call me a Mississippian from Louisiana. LOL

  19. I’m from Picayune. I say the name of my city and people automatcally deduct I.Q. points. 😦 But it is beautiful here! 30 mins to an hour from anything I could possibly need. We have the Pearl River running thru and Nasa’s John C. Stennis space center here. 30 mins from Bogalusa, Slidell, and Poplarville, an hour from Hattiesburg, Gulfport, AND New Orleans. Family roots a mile long, people who call you Friend and MEAN it, (sure everyone knows what everyone is doing, but that keeps us honest!) I love my place in Mississippi. Y’all come visit!

  20. This is one of the best things I’ve read all day. This native Biloxian, former Jacksonian and current Louisiana resident is a proud Mississippian all the day long, and I’ll be sharing your blog up and down. Thank you for the smile.

  21. I’m not Mississippi, I’m Massachusetts. But I live in Mississippi now, and there are definitely things I prefer about the South. Like not shoveling snow or slipping on black ice. And Chick Fil A. And BBQ (up north it’s spelled “barbeque” and it’s nowhere near as succulent). And the slower, more relaxed pace and attitude. There are things I miss about the North as well, but since this is a MS post not an MA one, I’ll leave those out. 🙂 Nicely written post.

  22. You, sir, are a credit to yourself and our beautiful state. I recently returned home to settle into a beautiful life after having spent almost 10 years traveling the U.S. Your eloquence is spellbinding. Thankx for being you.

  23. My family has been here since the early 1800′s. I myself have been to 42 states and 3 countries, and I proudly call Mississippi my home by choice. I hope they keep making jokes, that’s the way we keep those that would change us out !

  24. Well done Joseph. You are wise beyond your years. When I was your age I used to wonder why I never moved. Was it the food? Well, yes. Was it the music? Yes. The blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll. But the greatest treasure we have are the people of Mississippi.

  25. Beautifully written.
    I live in Texas, and I was told today by a new teammate, “You’re the ninth Mississippian I’ve ever worked with. You guys are such a special people, I’ve had to keep count.” Made me smile.
    I take Mississippi with me where ever I go and never say mean things about it to outsiders. I save that for family and visits home 😉

  26. I must say that this post was done very well. I grew up in MS and I will have to say that after I moved out of MS and lived in other states, I do not miss MS at all. I do not miss the back stabbing, bible thumping people of MS. I realize that every state has their own problems, but I love CA so much more. The people are real. If they don’t like you, they will flat out tell you. Due to the fact that I am gay, I hate they will use their christian beliefs to put down the gay community.

    1. First of all I am sorry for those that have hurt you in the past that gave you the impression that all Mississippi people are “back stabbing and bible thumping.” But, I hope that you wouldn’t put a label on all of Mississippi people because a select handful were in someway hateful to you. I don’t think that you would like it very much if someone labeled the gay community in that manner. So, thank you so much for your wonderful “real” comment. Mississippi will still love you!
      P.S.: Christian beliefs shouldn’t put down the gay community but should love them. Even though I don’t agree with homosexuality, I am still called by God to love Him and to love my neighbor as myself! With all my heart I pray that God would reveal himself to you so that you can find freedom in Christ!

      1. Just curious Kevin why you don’t think Jonathan hasn’t found himself. And when you say things like “I don’t agree with homosexuality” and “put a label on all Mississippi people” we’re supposed to believe that you have an open mind and you’re cool with it all? Then you hope he finds god so he can be fixed by this god.

        1. 1) Because by his definition, finding yourself *is* finding Christ. In Christianity, there is a theology that states that Christ didn’t die *for* you, He died *as* you. In other words, your true spiritual identity is Christ. You and Christ are one. You can put words in his mouth if you want to. You can even bash his choice of phrasing if you really want to, but there is nothing derogatory or at all unseemly about his comment. His assumption that Jonathan is not a Christian is a reasonable one given Jonathan’s comment. Your just trying to engage in religious discrimination.
          2) He’s an open minded, free thinking person who can personally disagree with a specific activity, and still support one’s right to engage in said activity. Not everyone is ruled by their personal feelings, nor does everyone try to force everyone else into what they think is right. That’s strictly a progressive mentality. This is simply applying logic and reason to the scheme of rights and freedom of choice that we have in this country.
          3) Nowhere did he say, or imply, that if this man becomes a believer that Christ will, or even should, “fix” him. Those are your words, not his. He said “find freedom in Christ”, because that’s what Christ is; freedom from all the depressing things of the world. You are the one that assumed he needed to be fixed.

  27. This is absolutely amazing…beautiful…..and creatively brilliant. Thank you, for writing this, and sharing this. I am a ‘Stand Up Proud’ Mississippian…The Mississippi Queen / Mississippi Queen Foods…I promote Mississippi, here on Canadian soil….born & raised, Pearl River County. I LOVE…LOVE….LOVE…seeing something written like this….not in a manner to sweep the sordid details of our past, under the rug…but, bring them out…pick them up..and understand them..and learn from them…as they make us, all who we are today. This is awesome, and I intend to share it through my business & personal feed. All the best, Connie Rouble / The Mississippi Queen

    1. I had the opportunity to work in Canada several months. And with my company I traveled there to several times. I can tell you I have never met nicer people. They come as close to Mississippi hospitality than anywhere I’ve been. Always helpful, friendly and nice to this Mississippi gal. Thank you for your post. I also loved “cottage country”!

  28. I’m from Mississippi and I loved growing up there .We made fun or Arkansas ,a lot .Well ,guess where I now live !

  29. I’m from Ireland. I’ve travelled all over the world and seen places rich, poor, blessed, unblessed, and everything in between. I’ve never been to the USA, though, let alone Mississippi. But I’ve met people from there (you know who you are!) and they are the finest on the planet, no holds barred.
    So, as we’d say, Mississippi: “keep ‘er lit!”

  30. I left Mississippi after college to pursue a career in photography. My mother, a native of many generations, taught at Delta State. My father, a Methodist minister also a multi-generational native, retired to Oxford after he left the ministry. I owned a home there in the Delta, until last year. Lots of us left, and a lot of us came back. Two of my siblings stayed. My brother and I left. He owns a home there and is returning next year. I became a novelist and wrote Mississippi into my books. I deer hunt there now with the same friends I started hunting with forty-five years ago.If conditions had allowed I might never have left at all. I think about my native state every day, so It’s true hat Mississippi never leaves you.

  31. I loved it! I was born and raised here, moved to Atlanta…I swore I was never coming back…lol! But guess what! It called me home and I am happier now than I was before. I am a Southern Belle through and through 😉

  32. I’m so tired of Mississippi apologists. I know, I love my state too. But it sucks. It sucks in every aspect. It’s time to stop “celebrating” ourselves and really DO SOMETHING. As a child my grandparents and everyone they knew voted Democrat no matter what. Because they were poor and the democrats took care of the poor. But now the republicans figured out how to get their votes using religion via abortion. If you’re really proud of this state, it’s time to take it back from these rich assholes who are not looking out for this author’s or anyone’s interest other than their own. This is the POOREST of the poor states. Take it back for your own damn good.
    And Kevin, if you don’t think that the majority of Mississippians are anti gay rights “only a select few” in your words – then state has even worse problems considering the legislation that was just passed that even JAN BREWER vetoed in Arizona because it was too hateful.
    Keep writing these little “feel good” stories, but it absolutely doesn’t help the people really in need.

    1. This wasn’t really meant to be a feel good story, if you’re referencing my post. In fact, I sat down and finalized it after listening to tales of children running drugs in bad parts of Jackson. But you may not have meant that at all so I guess it doesn’t matter.

      But ultimately I just meant to write this as a celebration what what we’ve gotten right in the midst if realizing all we’ve gotten wrong. Hopefully, it’ll be more of a call to action in terms of working together. I’ve seen the power of people putting aside agendas for common good, whether it was to rebuild cities after storms or to help revitalize parts of Jackson that had been abandoned. The power of homosexual citizens working with Christian citizens working with Democrats working with Republicans is incredible. Problem is that we often can’t get past issues that ultimately aren’t most important.

      Hence the previous comments, which I appreciated, that showed many differing views. Hence why I appreciate your comment, along with your dedication to moving forward and the fact you care enough to spot the areas that suck.

      Thanks for reading and thanks for caring. I hope we can all work together on the issues that matter most.

      1. Great response. BTW I’m a Craven too. Probably not directly related. Thanks Joseph.

        1. Yeah, the Craven side of my family doesn’t have too many of us hanging around Mississippi. That’s the 1/4th of me that’s a “foreigner”. But I’m always glad to encounter another cousin (close enough)

  33. This is one of the BEST most well written pieces I have EVER read. “I AM Mississippi….Everywhere I go I take her with me.”!!! P.s. I grew up in Clarksdale all my life, and graduated from MSU in 2007! #hailstate!!

  34. I’m sad that I’m just now seeing this post, years after it was first published, but I’m glad that I’m seeing it at a time I needed to hear these words. Now residing in Nashville, TN, i continue to carry my home state with me. It is where my family lives, where generations are buried, and where my heart grew up. I love the words you stated, and appreciate your understanding of our culture. Like Faulkner said, “To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.”

  35. My family has been Mississippians since 1798. I am proud to call myself a Mississippian.

  36. Like Chad said, I hate that it took this long for me to find this post, but love love love that I did find it. 14 years living in exile in Colorado with no end in sight. As I read your post I could feel the warm breezes on my face as the tears stung my eyes. Sitting on my front porch watching a thunderstorm roll by, I raise my glass of sweet tea to you sir. Well done!

  37. I love what our beloved Mr. Morgan Freeman replied when asked, “You could live anywhere you want, why would you choose to live in Mississippi?” To which Mr. Freeman simply replied, “Because I can live anywhere I want.”

  38. I would just like to tell you how much I appreciate your use of Oregon Trail nostalgia in your header. Well done my friend, well done. HOTTY TODDY

  39. I really do appreciate what you’ve done here. I currently live in Raymond, but I was born in a small hospital in Vicksburg that is now run down and left for the kudzu. Mississippi in my opinion is the best place in the world and I could never leave such a wonderful state. I am Mississippi from the blood running through my veins to the skin callused from the many hours of labor in fields teeming with corn and beans. God bless you.

  40. I was born in Winterville (Greenville). My Mother’s family and my Dad’s family were multigenerational Mississippians. My family moved away when I was 12 and moved back when My Dad retired but I was already married and living in Tennessee. Fortunately I still have some family there so I get to go back and visit. I have a strong need to go back periodically and put my feet in some Mississippi Mud. I have a lot of friends from the North and I love to take them and show them my Mississippi.

  41. I’ve lived in Prentiss, Grenada, Clarksdsle, Oxford, Jackson, and Hattiesburg. Spent time in Biloxi and Pascagoula every summer growing up. Since then, Baltimore, NYC, and Portland. When people ask about MS, I encourage them to go there. You have to see it for yourself.

  42. I’ve had the honor serving the wonderful people of Mississippi during three declared disasters and found them to be the most appreciative of any state in the Union.

  43. I was born and raised in Mississippi, then spent a little less than eighteen years in LA, and later seventeen years in Tucson. Now we’re thinking about moving back. I just don’t know if that would be good

  44. I’ve lived in MS all my life and can’t wait to leave. There’s nothing special about it to me. People are nice elsewhere; our history is marred with racism, poverty, and ignorance; the land is rural, flat, and boring. I’ll be glad when I don’t have to call it home.

  45. I moved here from the NW over 5 years ago and I have to say that although I respect the tradition, I cannot wait to leave (and plan to soon). The people from here see it a different way than us “outsiders” and I call us that because if you are not blood, you aren’t accepted. I have opened my life to everyone I can imagine and I am a kind person. I have been judged for not being southern, I have been scorned for not speaking the same, I have been shunned for not looking like someone from the south. Southern hospitality is a myth…well, if you are a visitor it exists, but to live here is another thing. You are not wanted, you are not accepted, you are not good enough to become family. That has been my experience and it has been very hurtful. So I say to everyone that views people from other parts, do not judge just because they grew up somewhere else. We are all human, regardless of where we came from…

    1. Sorry to hear that. I fear you fell into a much different particular culture than the ones I tend to find myself around. I have no doubt they exist, and I’ve seen them firsthand. I’ve also seen the many countless out of towners I know who have been here for a time, become part of the community, and never want to leave. But what is offered isn’t for everyone, and I totally get that. I’ve been to many places in this world, including spots in the Northwest, and all are uniquely beautiful in their own way. However, they do not all fit the same for everyone who shows up.

      Hope you find better company or a home that suits you better, my friend.

    2. Michael, you are correct, and although my wife & I are both from Mississippi ourselves, this also happens to native sons & daughters. I don’t know where you live within the state, but in smaller communities this is fairly common as we have found out. We might as well be from Mars, as, not being born & raised in the county in which we currently live, we get basically the same treatment as you described, but I grew up about 3 hours north of my current home, in the Mississippi Delta. It’s not just the true “outsiders” that are treated like that. Small town mentality unfortunately.

      1. I am a true Mississippian. Born & raised. Ya’ll & all. thanks for sharing this cause I am proud of that wonderful Delta (Greenville, Mississippi is home to me).

  46. WE are Mississippi and I am thankful for my heritage. Thank you for putting it so eloquently.

  47. I spent my young, formative years in Mississippi. I don’t miss it. Will only return to visit friends/family. That being said, I still want the best for it. I want Mississippi to rise up and become smarter, safer, and richer. I want the people to be better than I remember. I want Mississippi to succeed. As with anywhere one calls home, it has left an imprint on me. It is a beautiful state with a rich history. I just want more for it. It’s like an amicable breakup. You no longer want to be directly involved but you want your ex to succeed and be happy. Mississippi is my amicable ex.

  48. Thankyou Joseph for saying what I have been trying to say to others for years! I’ve been throughout the U.S. and a lot of other places and still Mississippi is home, no other locale is close, (though some do come close.)

  49. Great post! I’m from Greenwood, Mississippi. I’ve lived in Arkansas and I currently live in Mobile, Alabama. Nothing feels more like home than when I go back to Greenwood to visit family. I love the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, but nothing feels as comfortable as the Mississippi Delta.

  50. Absolutely perfect. I have lived in Virginia, Maryland, Alabama, Nebraska, and Texas. Mississippi is my home, no matter where I live. I work with students in an alternative education program and this poem describes them perfectly. Others think they are worthless and stupid, but they are more Absolutely perfect description of my perfect for me home stated.

  51. We are so much more than people think we are. And no matter where we go our feet take us back to where our blood flowed from….Love the MS

  52. Wonderful article on my beloved state! I have lived far&near and I know what Mississippi means. It is to love your neighbor{in most cases}, help your neighbor In times of need, share what you have with those in need, and above all LOVE GOD! and we d all these things. I LOVE MISSISSIPPI and don’t let me hear you you cut us down

  53. I do not live there now but It will be my resting place may home town Water Valley Ms. ———– Bob Ward

  54. To borrow a phrase, “Mississippi – if I have to explain it, you wouldn’t understand.” I too, am Mississippi. I owe Mississippi a debt of gratitude that I will never be able to repay. It raised me, shaped me and made me an educated and confident person with many skills and abilities; opposite of the all too often spread stereotypes. I do not apologize for Mississippi, I praise it.

  55. LOVE it. The warm breeze sitting on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea is MY TIME. The only thing I would have added was Tupelo and Elvis

  56. I feel so blessed that God put me in Miss. in a large family! I would not choose to change my life in Miss. in any way! I am proudly from Philadelphis, attended Philadelphia High School, East Central Junior College, and The University of Southern Mississippi. Wonderful life— precious family, sweet friends, loving Church, all made me who I am. Thank you for writing about a very special place.

  57. Born in rural northeast Mississippi in 1950, I’ve never lived anywhere else. I know there are other great places; I’ve visited… But this is the most beautiful place on earth to me with the most loving caring people. Some of them are from across the state line since I’m only about 3 miles from Alabama. Really enjoyed your writing and will read more now!

  58. My family came here in 1830, my GG grandmother was a Choctaw woman, my GG grandfather was an Irishman they had 11 children. When Jackson passed the Indian eradication act of 1830, they TOOK OFF into the woods running for their lives. To avoid the trail of tears. He died on the treck, she carried on with her 11 children deeper into the back woods of Mississippi. TODAY, we are still on the very spot she stopped…..This is our Mississippi! We are her soil, she is our soul, together we are the real mississippians, steeped in tradition and a firm faith in God. We work and we plant our food, we hunt and fish we are not a people we are a culture. A culture you will never understand because it is ours not yours….it is not something you can read about, it’s not something movies are made of, it is our culture, it is our knowledge of the land, it is a life to live in harmony with nature.

  59. Really, really, really loved it. I know I am supposed to try to dispel the stereotype, but this is one time I must say, ” You done good, boy.” Keep ’em coming!

  60. I was born and raised in Mississippi, and despite the inevitable black eye we always got, I was proud of my state for its willingness to change, albeit slowly. I no longer feel proud. I’m now ashamed to say I’m from Mississippi. How is it that we have come so far to continually trip over our own ignorance and end up the laughing stock of the free world? Wait, in Mississippi we really aren’t free. People are ostracized and shamed LEGALLY, in the name of God. Mississippians who have given so much to and for this state are treated as second class citizens and are not welcomed in their own home state. Mississippi Tour Guide Magazine featured Robin Roberts, an unapologetic lesbian, for its 2016 cover, then passes the horrendous “Freedom of Religion Act” to protect Mississippians from the hoards of demons Ms. Roberts would have welcomed. Really?! I challenge anyone to show me what JESUS said about homosexuality. In fact, I challenge those who support this act to defend St. Paul’s letter to the Galatians stating, “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Furthermore, in his letter to the Romans Paul states, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor…”
    In case you’re wondering, this will also be an economic disaster for the state which can least afford it. Lawsuits will abound, and justifiably! Shame on the Legislators, governor, and supporters of such an outrageous act. It shows ignorance and intolerance at its pinnacle.

    So much of your work is true and well said. Sadly, not enough to change the harm done by our own government.

  61. I grew up in Mississippi .I’ve lived a few other places and I live in Louisiana but Mississippi will always be home to me I love her .My heart remains there and to her I will return when my time is up here on Earth

  62. It is an honor sir, to share our state, with those who will agree and for those who just won’t get it my utmost sympathy. I am a multi-generational Mississippian and have loved every hot summer day and cool winter night. I am trying to instill in my five grandchildren what an honor it is living in this state. Mainly I wish they would like my home cookin but their moms have trained them to like processed food one level above cardboard.
    I have no one to pass down the family recipes that are secret to my family like Spaghetti and Pork Chops – the absolute best and for dessert a big Butter Roll made with milk, butter, sugar, flour, cream, nutmeg. Nothing in either recipe will offend our Obesity ratings. Bookshelves and notebooks full of time and trial recipes never to grace their tables or to feel pride when “I Wish I Was In Dixie” is hummed while cooking.
    I meet people through facebook and other venues and the first thing I say is I’m from the Great State of Mississippi.

  63. Great article, but I’m disappointed that Mr. Craven “dissed” the city of Madison in the comment thread.
    As a citizen of Madison I can say that the perception that we live in a bubble is incorrect. Our citizens are just as diverse as the rest of the state.
    There are people from different ethnicities, different skin colors, different creeds, and different walks of life from basic laborers to single moms to corporate CEOs who are Madisonians.
    We are not so proud that we believe it is by our own merit that we have been so blessed with a wonderful place to live and raise our families. It is indeed a gift from God.
    The difference in our city is that we have made it a priority to create a safe community where we can all live in harmony with one another despite our differences and He has honored that.

    1. Grew up in Clinton, lived in Jackson for a while now, it’s just in my blood to have a little friendly rivalry with Madison. Sorry if my dissing hurt.

    2. Madison is 93.23% white. That’s not diverse. And…the Madison police department is insane. If “pull over all the brown folks” is what it means to be a “safe community” then that says a lot. Madison was a white-flight city and tbh it still is.

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