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State MISSISSIPPI

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Mississippi hotels, resorts & accommodations



When cotton was king - and slavery was as yet unchallenged - MISSISSIPPI was the nation's fifth wealthiest state. Since the Civil War, however, it has been the poorest, its dependence on cotton now a handicap that makes it victim to the vagaries of the commodities market. Widespread poverty has long endured alongside pockets of enormous riches, and white Mississippi was notorious for violent resistance to black political participation. Not until the early Seventies did the church bombings and murders come to an end, and no one could claim that racial tension has ceased to exist. To some extent, the economy has regenerated since Mississippi's first Republican governor in a century, Kirk Fordice , decided to legalize gambling; the giant casinos may be lumbering eyesores that seem pitifully out of place on the sweeping Delta flatlands, but they're sucking considerable revenues across the state line from Memphis, Tennessee. Even today, you only have to take a detour down some rural side road to encounter pockets of truly scandalous black poverty, but with the profits from gaming being ploughed into education in Mississippi's poorest counties, the state may finally manage to shake off its appalling reputation for inequality.

While the major city is the capital, Jackson , historic river towns like Vicksburg and Natchez provide good reasons to stay off the interstates, and blues fans will need no encouragement to go exploring sleepy Delta settlements such as Alligator or Yazoo City.

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