Promise and Peril: Progressivism, Repression and World War I

Mississippi welcomed the new century as an opportunity for change. The state created new laws (including one in 1908 prohibiting children under 12 from working in factories) and supported emergent industries, such as Biloxi’s seafood canneries. The continuation of White authority through racial and economic domination prevented deeper progress.

The century started with promise. Soaring timber production created boomtowns like Hattiesburg and Laurel. Spurred by industrial development, Jackson’s population tripled from 1900 to 1918. The state government enacted reforms to improve public health care and transportation networks. However, these changes did not help all Mississippians. Women struggled to gain the right to vote. Few African Americans benefited from social and economic legislation. The Great Flood of 1927 forced Black refugees to camp on dirt levees where Black men were not allowed to leave and were forced to work without pay. By the end of the 1920s, Mississippi remained mired in economic crises and a racist Jim Crow power structure.

From the Gallery

Explore artifacts, photos, and documents featured in the Promise and Peril gallery. 

Timeline: 1903-1927

Explore Mississippi

Journey beyond the museum walls and explore the places where history happened and is preserved.

Maritime and Seafood Industry Museum​

Maritime and Seafood Industry MuseumPreserves and interprets Mississippi's maritime history

115 E 1st Street
Biloxi, Mississippi

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Mississippi Armed Forces Museum

Mississippi Armed Forces MuseumHonors the service men and women who served in all branches from Mississippi

Building 850
1001 Lee Avenue
Hattiesburg, Mississippi

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