In 2015, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designated Mississippi State University (MSU) as host of the National Center of Excellence for Unmanned Aircraft Systems.
Bridging Hardship, 1928-1945
Mississippi University for Women, originally the Mississippi Industrial Institute and College for the Education of White Girls, was the first taxpayer supported college for women in the United States.
Electric power has been called “man’s most useful servant.” It heats and cools homes and businesses, cooks and preserves food, illuminates a dark room or street, and powers machinery, televisions, electronics, and transportation.
Electric power was first available in the United States in 1882 when Thomas Alva Edison created the country’s first commercial power plant in New York City. The power plant provided electricity to customers within a square mile. Edison had already developed an incandescent light bulb in 1879 that was practical and safe for home use.
Between 1930 and 1940 nearly 23,000 farm homes in Mississippi received access to electricity for the first time. This access was due in large part to President Franklin Roosevelt’s support of rural electrification and to the efforts of John E. Rankin, a Mississippi representative in the U.S. Congress.
In 1936, Time magazine suggested that “better than any living man, Senator Byron Patton Harrison of Mississippi represents in his spindle-legged, round-shouldered, freckle-faced person the modern history of the Democratic Party.” By then Harrison had been in politics since 1906 and now, thirty years later, he was chairman of the most powerful committee in the United States Senate. His political era had begun when the Democratic Party was in the doldrums, yet he had won national attention in the 1920s when Republicans held the presidency and control of Congress.
Senator Pat Harrison served his native state of Mississippi in both the U.S. House of Representatives (1911-1919) and the U.S. Senate (1919-1941). In a political career that spanned more than thirty years, Harrison represented his state and nation during difficult times. He served during World War I, during the 1930s Great Depression, and during the buildup to World War II. It was during these challenging times that Harrison served as chairman of the powerful Committee on Finance in the U.S. Senate.
In 1949, political scientist V. O. Key suggested that “insofar as any geographical division remains within the politics of [Mississippi] it falls along the line that separates the delta and the hills.” By the time Key thus defined the state’s political line of demarcation, James O. Eastland had already been a significant player on both sides of it.
Aaron Henry was born in 1922 in Coahoma County, Mississippi, the son of sharecroppers. From a young age, he worked in the cotton fields alongside his family on the Flowers Plantation outside of Clarksdale. He remembered those years vividly when he recalled, “As far back as I can remember, I have detested everything about growing cotton.” Regardless of his early hardships, education was a priority for the Henry family.
The Charles W. Capps Jr. Archives and Museum, which sits on the campus of Delta State University in Cleveland, Mississippi, is named, like a number of buildings at DSU, after a state political figure who needed to be thanked. The structure’s handsome white façade aspires to something classic and grand, with the entrance’s square columns suggesting that perhaps some of democracy’s great secrets lie within.
“Build me straight, O worthy Master!
Stanch and strong, a goodly vessel,
That shall laugh at all disaster
And with wave and whirlwind wrestle!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow