Compared to many other states, Mississippi has experienced relatively little foreign immigration over the course of its modern history. Nevertheless, the state does have several immigrant communities whose members have faced unique conditions and problems. Vietnamese and Mexican immigrants began to increase in numbers during the late twentieth century.
Mississippi has always had much lower levels of immigration than most of the rest of the United States. However, its immigrant population began to growing more rapidly toward the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first century, particularly along the state’s Gulf coast. Among the earliest immigrants to the state, who began arriving during the first half of the nineteenth century, Germans and Irish figured most prominently. Members of these groups generally entered the United States through the port of New Orleans, Louisiana, and then moved eastward to enter Mississippi. Many of the early German-speaking immigrants were Jews from the
After the U.S. Civil War ended in 1865,
Manuel, a five-year-old shrimp-picker who understands no English, stands amid a mountain of oyster shells at a Biloxi, Mississippi, company in 1911.
The end of Reconstruction in the late 1870’s also saw the reestablishment of white dominance over black Mississippians, reducing the demand of white plantation owners for Chinese manual labor. This development increased opportunities for the Chinese to become members of what sociologists would later call a “middleman minority”
Another group of foreign immigrants who began settling in Mississippi during the half century following the U.S. Civil War was Arab
Through most of the years between the end of World War I in 1918 and the twenty-first century, foreign immigration to Mississippi remained extremely low. However, the growth of the seafood industry along the Gulf coast did attract some
The 1990’s also saw a significant increase in the
Bond, Bradley G., ed. Mississippi: A Documentary History. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2005. Do, Hien Duc. The Vietnamese Americans. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999. Durrenberger, E. Paul. Gulf Coast Soundings: People and Policy in the Mississippi Shrimp Industry. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1996. Herrmann, Denise von, ed. Resorting to Casinos: The Mississippi Gambling Industry. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2006.
African Americans and immigrants