Since becoming a state in 1817, a lot has happened in Mississippi. Throughout the years, the state has experienced everything from natural disasters to historic milestones. And no matter how much time has passed, certain events will forever remain in the memory of those born and raised in the Magnolia State. Here are 11 perfect examples.
1. 1969 - Hurricane Camille
This category 5 storm struck in August of 1969, hitting Mississippi’s Gulf Coast in the early morning hours. With wind speeds at over 200 mph, Hurricane Camille left a trail of destruction in her wake. When all was said and done, the hurricane claimed more than 200 victims and caused over $1 billion in damages (that’s a little over $9 million in today’s money!).
2. 2005 - Hurricane Katrina
Initially, Hurricane Katrina wasn’t viewed as much of a threat; however, it eventually evolved into "one of the deadliest storms in US history." As it hovered over the southern region of the state, it pounded the area with winds well over 100 mph, resulting in $75 billion in damages and over 1,800 deaths.
3. 1994 – Southern Ice Storm (a.k.a. Delta Ice Storm)
Considered "the 2nd worst ice storm in history," the Southern Ice Storm hit the South on February 9 - 13, 1994, affecting 11 states total. The vast amount of ice brought by the storm caused more than 80,000 utility poles to collapse, leaving more than 2 million people without power.
4. 1997 - Pearl High School Shooting
On October 1, 1997, the city of Pearl was forever changed after a shooting at the local high school left two dead and seven injured. The gunman wound up being Luke Woodham, a 16-year-old student. Once apprehended, it was learned that, prior to the shooting, Woodham stabbed and bludgeoned his mother to death.
5. 2010 – Gulf Oil Spill
Deemed "the worst oil spill in U.S. history," the Gulf Oil Spill was a result of the April 20th explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig. Following the horrific accident, which killed 11 people, underwater cameras revealed that a pipe was leaking oil and gas on the ocean floor. On July 15th, 87 days after the explosion, the pipe was capped; however, by that time, an estimated 3.19 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.
6. 1962 – Riots at University of Mississippi
After a Supreme Court ruling, African American James Meredith was admitted to the University of Mississippi; however, when he arrived to register for classes in September of 1962, the entrance was blocked. In response, Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President John F. Kennedy sent hundreds of U.S. Marshals, military police, troops from the National Guard, and officials from the U.S. Border Patrol to accompany Meredith to the campus.
7. 1973 - Pascagoula Alien Abduction
On the night of October 11, 1973, the coastal town of Pascagoula became the site of "the 2nd most famous UFO abduction case in history." The two men at the center of the controversy were Charles Hickson, 42, and Calvin Parker, Jr., 19. According to their testimony, Hickson was taken aboard a UFO and inspected for about 20 minutes. After the ordeal, the two men reported the incident to local authorities, and by the next day, it was national news.
8. 1979 - Easter Flood
In April of 1979, central Mississippi experienced severe thunderstorms, which continued for about 36 hours and caused some areas to receive as much as 20 inches of rain. On Friday the 13th, the rain finally stopped but as the date suggests, the bad luck was just beginning. The massive flooding forced about 17,000 people from their homes with damage totaling approximately $500 million.
9. 1963 – Woolworth Sit-In
On May 28, 1963, several students from Tougaloo College staged a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter at Woolworth’s in Jackson. The protest occurred just after the Supreme Court legalized sit-ins; however, the local police did little as the integrated group of protesters was attacked by a mob of about 300.
10. 2013 - Tornado Outbreak
In February of 2013, a total of eight tornadoes touched down in Mississippi and Alabama. One of the tornadoes was an extremely large, multiple-vortex wedge tornado with winds up to 170 mph. It caused widespread damage across four counties, with the Hattiesburg and Petal areas receiving some of the worst damage. Due to the severity of the storm, Mississippi was declared a federal disaster area by President Barack Obama.
11. 1977 – Lynyrd Skynyrd Plane Crash
On October 20, 1977, while en route to Baton Rouge, the twin engine plane transporting Lynyrd Skynyrd and about 20 others ran out of fuel and crash landed in a Gillsburg swamp. Authorities were alerted when a few survivors made their way to a nearby farm and called for help.
Do you remember these significant moments? Have one to add? Tell us in the comments section.