Mississippi is a state that loves to show off its cultural heritage throughout the year with festivals that honor its deep-rooted musical traditions. From the small town of Taylor in the north, to Raymond steeped in history, to Woodville with its fifty waterfalls, there is something for everyone. D'Lo is renowned for having more men join World War II than any other city of comparable size, and the Delta is celebrated for its unique food preparation. Southern Mississippi University Day is a beloved tradition that takes place on March 30th and commemorates the institution's official birthday.
This day was designated as such by the Alumni Association in 1955. Eudora Welty's stories of Southern family life capture the Southern sense of place that is so often associated with Southern writers. The Mississippi Coast Coliseum hosts two consecutive weekends of festivities, as people come from all over to enjoy crayfish in all its forms. The region has been influenced by many cultures, including Cubans who moved to New Orleans in the 1950s and Vietnamese who moved to South Louisiana in the 1970s and became shrimp farmers. The Spanish left their cultural stamp on life at the southern end of the Delta, and sugar production was centered in southern Louisiana, along with rice and later on the Arkansas Delta. The Delta covers 35,000 square miles from southern Illinois to the Gulf of Mexico, encompassing 219 counties in seven states and approximately 8.3 million people.
Tragedy and melodrama are popular genres in this region, and kinship and family are important themes in Delta literature. The All-American Rose Garden, illuminated dome, and black-eyed Susans in spring are all tangible reminders of the Southern Miss heritage. The failure of many southern states to enforce the voter registration provisions of the Civil Rights Act led to an increase in civil rights demonstrations, one of the most notable of which took place in Alabama. The introduction of railroads beginning in the 1830s promoted major changes in transportation which dictated the success or failure of numerous towns and cities in the Delta region. The federal government had little sympathy for Indian culture and offered tribes the option of assimilating or moving west. Mississippi has played a vital role in the flourishing of Southern literature since the early 20th century, with early agriculture including limited tobacco production in Natchez and indigo production in lower Mississippi.