2015 was an eventful year in Mississippi. The state experienced major accomplishments, devastating losses, moments of shock, and everything in between. From headline-making news to unpredictable weather, here are some of the most insane things that happened in Mississippi over the course of the last year.
1. The great debate over the state’s flag.
Since 1894, the Mississippi state flag has included the Confederate battle emblem; however, in 2015, the public usage of Confederate symbols became a subject of national debate after several African American worshippers were murdered in a South Carolina church. This incident thrust Mississippi’s “controversial” state flag into the spotlight, leading the University of Mississippi and the University of Southern Mississippi as well as several cities and counties to stop flying the state flag.
2. An unusually warm Christmas.
Mississippi, like many other states in the U.S., experienced record-highs this Christmas, with temperatures well into the 80’s in many parts of the state.
3. The murder of two Hattiesburg police officers.
In May of 2015, amid a national debate on policing, race, and the use of deadly force, two Hattiesburg police officers were gunned down during a routine traffic stop. The entire country mourned the untimely deaths of Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate. Eventually, four suspects were apprehended and charged in relation to the murders.
4. The Madison County earthquakes.
Although not extremely powerful, Madison County was hit by two earthquakes in 2015. The first, which took place on May 2nd, hit four miles southwest of Canton, and almost two months later, on June 29th, a second quake struck the area again.
5. The IHOP parking lot cave-in.
In November of 2015, patrons at a Meridian IHOP received the surprise of a lifetime when the parking lot opened up and swallowed over a dozen vehicles. The incident was initially believed to have occurred as a result of a sinkhole, which was later determined to be untrue.
6. The unexplained noises heard in Rankin and Hinds Counties.
In the beginning of 2015, numerous residents of Richland, Brandon, Pearl, Florence, Jackson, and Star reported hearing what they described as a “huge explosion,” comparable to exploding transformers. Even after an investigation by local police, the source of the strange noise could not be determined.
7. A truck driver winning nomination for governor.
Initially, the fact that truck driver Robert Gray won the democratic nomination for governor may not seem too shocking. That is, until you learn that Gray only spent a mere $60 on his campaign and had no social media presence, signs in the yard, bumper stickers, or any other promotional material. In fact, Gray himself forgot he was even on the ballot and only learned of his victory after he turned on the television on election night and realized he had beaten his three competitors.
8. The Mississippi Supreme Court’s unprecedented decision to allow a lesbian couple to divorce.
In November of 2015, it was ruled by the state’s Supreme Court to allow Lauren Czekala-Chatham and Dana Ann Melancon to divorce, an issue that had been looming since the women initially made the request in 2013. The decision followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that states could no longer deny couples the right to marry based on sexual orientation, and as such, Attorney General Jim Hood asked that the Mississippi Supreme Court overturn their original decision in the case of Czekala-Chatham and Melancon.
9. Christmastime tornadoes killed several residents.
Just days before Christmas, Mississippi along with Tennessee and Arkansas were battered by a series of tornadoes that left a wake of destruction in their paths. According to the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, the state had about 40 injuries and recorded a total of six deaths.
10. Racist comments linked to State Representative Gene Alday.
In the early part of 2015, Alday was in quite the compromising position when some extremely racist remarks were attributed to him. According to Alday, the comments were taken out of context; however, the damage had already been done and caused several political figures to distance themselves from the Mississippi lawmaker.
Whether happy, sad, or just plain strange, what are some other unbelievable things that occurred in Mississippi in 2015? Share your thoughts below!