The great state of Mississippi is known for things like southern charm, a rich history, and beautiful views but many don’t realize the impact the state has had in forming our current world. From miniscule inventions to life-changing innovations, the state has definitely earned bragging rights. Check out the list below for 13 interesting facts about Mississippi that you probably didn’t know!
1. Birthplace of the Teddy Bear
While many are aware that the Teddy Bear was created as a direct result of President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt refusing to shoot a trapped bear, many people don’t realize that this incident occurred in Sharkey County.
2. Game On
Even though the game "stickball" is most commonly associated with northern cities, it was actually created in Mississippi by the Choctaw Indians.
3. Surgical Advances
The University of Mississippi Medical Center was the site of not one but two extremely important surgical firsts. The world’s first human lung transplant was performed in 1963, followed by the world’s first heart transplant a year later.
4. Bringing Coca-Cola to the World
By now, it is almost common knowledge that Barq’s Root Beer was created in Biloxi, Mississippi but Coca-Cola has a history in the Magnolia State as well. The delicious drink was first bottled in Vicksburg.
5. King Me
Growing up, just about every kid played checkers and loved it. Apparently the state loved the game as well because Mississippi, Petal to be exact, was home to the International Checker Hall of Fame.
6. A Shoe-In
In the year 1884, Phil Gilbert’s Shoe Parlor, located in Vicksburg, was the first place ever to sell shoes in pairs and in boxes.
7. Proud to be Americans
A lot of people may not have heard of D’Lo, but the town definitely has a history to be proud of as it was featured in “Life” magazine because, for a city of its size, it had sent more men to serve in World War II than any other town of equal size.
8. Leader in Women’s Education
When there were no other state colleges for women in the nation, Mississippi stepped in and, in 1884, opened the doors of Mississippi University for Women in Columbus.
9. Changing Capitol
It may be common knowledge that Jackson is the state’s capitol but many are unaware that this wasn’t always the case. Jackson didn’t get the title until 1822; at which time, Natchez was fulfilling the role of capitol city.
10. It’s the Little Things
Sometimes the smallest inventions make our lives so much easier, and that’s exactly the case with David Harrison’s product – the soft toilet seat cover. The Columbus patent holder sells about 1,000,000 a year.
11. Indirectly Responsible for the Founding of Liberia
In 1834, Captain Isaac Ross freed slaves from his Lorman plantation and made arrangements for them to return to Africa. It was this group of slaves who founded Liberia. The Captain’s good deed hasn’t gone unnoticed as Lorman representatives have reportedly visited his grave and adorned the site with a symbolic stone as a way to honor him.
12. It’s in a Book
The University of Mississippi is known for a great number of things, but most people don’t know that the college is actually home to an important piece of history. That’s right; an antique Biblical manuscript, which is known to be America’s oldest existing book, is kept right here in Mississippi.
13. “Where the Flowers Healed a Nation”
Columbus’ Friendship Cemetery earned this name when, in 1866, a group of women adorned the graves of both Union and Confederate soldiers in beautiful bouquets of flowers and floral garlands. This act of kindness and recognition for those who had given their lives in battle inspired what is now known as Memorial Day.
There’s so much more to the state, that this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Be sure to share your favorite interesting facts about Mississippi below!