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Mississippi

  • By: Justin Corfield
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Native Americans lived in the area that became the southern state of Mississippi from at least the 11th century. It was later settled by the French in 1699. With the increase in European settlers in 1817, Mississippi was admitted to the Union. Until the Civil War, Mississippi was a society divided between the whites and the slaves, and there were further divisions. In the white community, the small number of wealthy whites controlled large cotton plantations and other farms. They owned large numbers of household slaves as well as servants, who took care of most household chores, including bringing up their children. Many middle-class whites also owned slaves, and indeed some poor whites owned slaves—but for the latter, these were generally to help on farms, ...

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