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Mississippi's 2nd congressional district

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mississippi's 2nd congressional district
Mississippi US Congressional District 2 (since 2013).tif
Mississippi's 2nd congressional district since January 3, 2013
U.S. Representative
  Bennie Thompson
Area14,519.68 sq mi (37,605.8 km2)
  • 62.67% urban
  • 37.33% rural
Population (2006)711,164
Median income$35,842[1]
Cook PVID+14[2]

Mississippi's 2nd congressional district (MS-2) is the only majority-black district in the U.S. state, covering much of Western Mississippi. The district includes most of Jackson, the riverfront cities of Greenville and Vicksburg and the interior market cities of Clarksdale, Greenwood and Clinton. The district is approximately 275 miles (443 km) long, 180 miles (290 km) wide and borders the Mississippi River; it encompasses much of the Mississippi Delta, and a total of 15 counties and parts of several others.

The district is home to four of Mississippi's eight public four-year colleges and universities: Alcorn State University in Lorman; Delta State University in Cleveland; Jackson State University in Jackson; and Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena, a few miles west of Greenwood. All except Delta State are HBCUs and are members of the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

From statehood to the election of 1846, Mississippi elected representatives at-large statewide on a general ticket. This favored candidates who could command a majority of the voters, then consisting mostly of white men of property.

Following Reconstruction, the Democratic Party regained control of the state legislature and worked to reduce Republican voting strength in the state. It redefined congressional districts, creating a 'shoestring' congressional district running the length of the Mississippi River and taking in the black-majority (then Republican) areas of the Mississippi Delta. By this gerrymandering, they created five other districts with white majorities.[3]

Election campaigns were often accompanied by fraud and violence as Democrats tried to reduce black Republican voting. Finally, the Democratic-dominated legislature passed a new constitution in 1890, with barriers to voter registration and other measures that effectively disenfranchised most blacks and many poor whites for decades, subduing the Republican and Populist movements of the late 19th century.[4]

The legislature has redefined congressional districts over the years to reflect population changes in the state. Districts 5 through 8 were reallocated to the 1st, 3rd and 4th. The 2nd, bounded by the Mississippi River on the west, continues to have a black-majority population. Since the 20th-century realignment of political parties in the South following passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, which provided federal oversight and enforcement to protect voting, African-American residents here have consistently supported Democratic party candidates. On the other hand, most white conservatives have shifted into the Republican Party, which dominates the legislature. The district is one of the poorest in the state,[5] with 26.2% of people in poverty as of 2017.[6]

The district's current Representative is Democrat Bennie Thompson.

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/4
    2 540 051
    665 937
    3 069
  • ✪ Reconstruction and 1876: Crash Course US History #22
  • ✪ Election 2016 Debate - NM 2nd Congressional District
  • ✪ FULL DOCUMENTARY: Mississippi's War: Slavery and Secession | MPB
  • ✪ 2018 Maine Gubernatorial Debate


Episode 21: Reconstruction Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course U.S. History and huzzah! The Civil War is over! The slaves are free! Huzzah! That one hit me in the head? It’s very dangerous, Crash Course. So when you say, “Don’t aim at a person,” that includes myself? The roller coaster only goes up from here, my friends. Huzzah! Mr. Green, Mr. Green, what about the epic failure of Reconstruction? Oh, right. Stupid Reconstruction always ruining everything intro So after the Civil War ended, the United States had to reintegrate both a formerly slave population and a formerly rebellious population back into the country, which is a challenge that we might’ve met, except Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and we were left with Andrew “I am the Third Worst President Ever” Johnson. I’m sorry, Abe, but you don’t get to be in the show anymore. So, Lincoln’s whole post-war idea was to facilitate reunion and reconciliation, and Andrew Johnson’s guiding Reconstruction principle was that the South never had a right to secede in the first place. Also, because he was himself a Southerner, he resented all the elites in the South who had snubbed him, AND he was also a racist who didn’t think that blacks should have any role in Reconstruction. TRIFECTA! So between 1865 and 1867, the so-called period of Presidential Reconstruction, Johnson appointed provisional governors and ordered them to call state conventions to establish new all-white governments. And in their 100% whiteness and oppression of former slaves, those new governments looked suspiciously like the old confederate governments they had replaced. And what was changing for the former slaves? Well, in some ways, a lot. Like, Fiske and Howard universities were established, as well as many primary and secondary schools, thanks in part to The Freedman’s Bureau, which only lasted until 1870, but had the power to divide up confiscated and abandoned confederate land for former slaves. And this was very important because to most slaves, land ownership was the key to freedom, and many felt like they’d been promised land by the Union Army. Like, General Sherman’s Field Order 15, promised to distribute land in 40 acre plots to former slaves. But that didn’t happen, either through the Freedman’s Bureau or anywhere else. Instead, President Johnson ordered all land returned to its former owners. So the South remained largely agricultural with the same people owning the same land, and in the end, we ended up with sharecropping. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. The system of sharecropping replaced slavery in many places throughout the South. Landowners would provide housing to the sharecroppers--no, Thought Bubble, not quite that nice. There ya go--also tools and seed, and then the sharecroppers received, get this, a share of their crop--usually between a third and a half, with the price for that harvest often set by the landowner. Freed blacks got to control their work, and plantation owners got a steady workforce that couldn’t easily leave, because they had little opportunity to save money and make the big capital investments in, like, land or tools. By the late 1860s, poor white farmers were sharecropping as well--in fact, by the Great Depression, most sharecroppers were white. And while sharecropping certainly wasn’t slavery, it did result in a quasi-serfdom that tied workers to land they didn’t own--more or less the opposite of Jefferson’s ideal of the small, independent farmer. So, the Republicans in Congress weren’t happy that this reconstructed south looked so much like the pre-Civil War south, so they took the lead in reconstruction after 1867. Radical Republicans felt the war had been fought for equal rights and wanted to see the powers of the national government expanded. Few were as radical as Thaddeus “Tommy Lee Jones” Stephens who wanted to take away land from the Southern planters and give it to the former slaves, but rank-and-file Republicans were radical enough to pass the Civil Rights Bill, which defined persons born in the United States as citizens and established nationwide equality before the law regardless of race. Andrew Johnson immediately vetoed the law, claiming that trying to protect the rights of African Americans amounted to discrimination against white people, which so infuriated Republicans that Congress did something it had never done before in all of American history. They overrode the Presidential veto with a 2/3rds majority and the Civil Rights Act became law. So then Congress really had its dander up and decided to amend the Constitution with the 14th amendment, which defines citizenship, guarantees equal protection, and extends the rights in the Bill of Rights to all the states (sort of). The amendment had almost no Democratic support, but it also didn’t need any, because there were almost no Democrats in Congress on account of how Congress had refused to seat the representatives from the “new” all-white governments that Johnson supported. And that’s how we got the 14th amendment, arguably the most important in the whole Constitution. Thanks, Thought Bubble. Oh, straight to the mystery document today? Alright. The rules here are simple. I guess the author of the Mystery Document and try not to get shocked. Alright let’s see what we’ve got today. Sec. 1. Be it ordained by the police jury of the parish of St. Landry, That no negro shall be allowed to pass within the limits of said parish without special permit in writing from his employer. Sec. 4. . . . Every negro is required to be in the regular service of some white person, or former owner, who shall be held responsible for the conduct of said negro.. Sec. 6. . . . No negro shall be permitted to preach, exhort, or otherwise declaim to congregations of colored people, without a special permission in writing from the president of the police jury. . . . Gee, Stan, I wonder if the President of the Police Jury was white. I actually know this one. It is a Black Code, which was basically legal codes where they just replaced the word “slave” with the word “negro.” And this code shows just how unwilling white governments were to ensure the rights of new, free citizens. I would celebrate not getting shocked, but now I am depressed. So, okay, in 1867, again over Johnson’s veto, Congress passed the Reconstruction Act, which divided the south into 5 military districts and required each state to create a new government, one that included participation of black men. Those new governments had to ratify the 14th amendment if they wanted to get back into the union. Radical Reconstruction had begun. So, in 1868, Andrew Johnson was about as electable in the U.S. as Jefferson Davis, and sure enough he didn’t win. Instead, the 1868 election was won by Republican and former Union general Ulysses S. Grant. But Grant’s margin of victory was small enough that Republicans were like, “Man, we would sure win more elections if black people could vote.” Which is something you hear Republicans say all the time these days. So Congressional Republicans pushed the 15th Amendment, which prohibited states from denying men the right to vote based on race, but not based on gender or literacy or whether your grandfather could vote. So states ended up with a lot of leeway when it came to denying the franchise to African Americans, which of course they did. So here we have the federal government dictating who can vote, and who is and isn’t a citizen of a state, and establishing equality under the law--even local laws. And this is a really big deal in American history, because the national government became, rather than a threat to individual liberty, “the custodian of freedom,” as Radical Republican Charles Sumner put it. So but with this legal protection, former slaves began to exercise their rights. They participated in the political process by direct action, such as staging sit-ins to integrate street-cars, by voting in elections, and by holding office. Most African Americans were Republicans at the time, and because they could vote and were a large part of the population, the Republican party came to dominate politics in the South, just like today, except totally different. Now, Southern mythology about the age of radical Reconstruction is exemplified by Gone with the Wind, which of course tells the story of northern Republican dominance and corruption by southern Republicans. Fortune seeking northern carpetbaggers, seen here, as well as southern turncoat scalawags dominated politics and all of the African American elected leaders were either corrupt or puppets or both. Yeah, well, like the rest of Gone with the Wind, that’s a bit of an oversimplification. There were about 2,000 African Americans who held office during Reconstruction, and the vast majority of them were not corrupt. Consider for example the not-corrupt and amazingly-named Pinckney B.S. Pinchback, who from 1872 to 1873 served very briefly in Louisiana as America’s first black governor. And went on to be a senator and a member of the House of Representatives. By the way, America’s second African American governor, Douglas Wilder of Virginia was elected in 1989. Having African American officeholders was a huge step forward in term of ensuring the rights of African Americans because it meant that there would be black juries and less discrimination in state and local governments when it came to providing basic services. But in the end, Republican governments failed in the South. There were important achievements, especially a school system that, while segregated, did attempt to educate both black and white children. And even more importantly, they created a functioning government where both white and African American citizens could participate. According to one white South Carolina lawyer, “We have gone through one of the most remarkable changes in our relations to each other that has been known, perhaps, in the history of the world.” That’s a little hyperbolic, but we are America after all. (libertage) It’s true that corruption was widespread, but it was in the North, too. I mean, we’re talking about governments. And that’s not why Reconstruction really ended: It ended because 1. things like schools and road repair cost money, which meant taxes, which made Republican governments very unpopular because Americans hate taxes, and 2. White southerners could not accept African Americans exercising basic civil rights, holding office or voting. And for many, the best way to return things to the way they were before reconstruction was through violence. Especially after 1867, much of the violence directed toward African Americans in the South was politically motivated. The Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1866 and it quickly became a terrorist organization, targeting Republicans, both black and white, beating and murdering men and women in order to intimidate them and keep them from voting. The worst act of violence was probably the massacre at Colfax, Louisiana where hundreds of former slaves were murdered. And between intimidation and emerging discriminatory voting laws, fewer black men voted, which allowed white Democrats to take control of state governments in the south, and returned white Democratic congressional delegations to Washington. These white southern politicians called themselves “Redeemers” because they claimed to have redeemed the south from northern republican corruption and black rule. Now, it’s likely that the South would have fallen back into Democratic hands eventually, but the process was aided by Northern Republicans losing interest in Reconstruction. In 1873, the U.S. fell into yet another not-quite-Great economic depression and northerners lost the stomach to fight for the rights of black people in the south, which in addition to being hard was expensive. So by 1876 the supporters of reconstruction were in full retreat and the Democrats were resurgent, especially in the south. And this set up one of the most contentious elections in American history. The Democrats nominated New York Governor (and NYU Law School graduate) Samuel Tilden. The Republicans chose Ohio governor (and Kenyon College alumnus) Rutherford B. Hayes. One man who’d gone to Crash Course writer Raoul Meyer’s law school. And another who’d gone to my college, Kenyon. Now, if the election had been based on facial hair, as elections should be, there would’ve been no controversy, but sadly we have an electoral college here in the United States, and in 1876 there were disputed electoral votes in South Carolina, Louisiana, and, of course, Florida. Now you might remember that in these situations, there is a constitutional provision that says Congress should decide the winner, but Congress, shockingly, proved unable to accomplish something. So they appointed a 15 man Electoral Commission--a Super-Committee, if you will. And there were 8 Republicans on that committee and 7 Democrats, so you will never guess who won. Kenyon College’s own Rutherford B. Hayes. Go Lords and Ladies! And yes, that is our mascot. Shut up. Anyway in order to get the Presidency and win the support of the supercommittee, Hayes’ people agreed to cede control of the South to the Democrats and to stop meddling in Southern affairs and also to build a transcontinental railroad through Texas. This is called the Bargain of 1877 because historians are so good at naming things and it basically killed Reconstruction. Without any more federal troops in Southern states and with control of Southern legislatures firmly in the hands of white democrats the states were free to go back to restricting the freedom of black people, which they did. Legislatures passed Jim Crow laws that limited African American’s access to public accommodations and legal protections. States passed laws that took away black people’s right to vote and social and economic mobility among African Americans in the south declined precipitously. However, for a brief moment, the United States was more democratic than it had ever been before. And an entire segment of the population that had no impact on politics before was now allowed to participate. And for the freedmen who lived through it, that was a monumental change, and it would echo down to the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, sometimes called the second reconstruction. But we’re gonna end this episode on a downer, as we are wont to do here at Crash Course US History because I want to point out a lesser-known legacy of Reconstruction. The Reconstruction amendments and laws that were passed granted former slaves political freedom and rights, especially the vote, and that was critical. But to give them what they really wanted and needed, plots of land that would make them economically independent, would have required confiscation, and that violation of property rights was too much for all but the most radical Republicans. And that question of what it really means to be “free” in a system of free market capitalism has proven very complicated indeed. I’ll see you next week. Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Meredith Danko. The associate producer is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher, Raoul Meyer, and myself. And our graphics team is Thought Café. Every week there’s a new caption for the libertage. You can suggest those in comments where you can also ask questions about today’s video that will be answered by our team of historians. Thank you for watching Crash Course. Don’t forget to subscribe. And as we say in my hometown, don’t forget to be awesome. reconstruction -


Election results


Mississippi's 2nd congressional district election, 2016
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bennie Thompson (inc.) 192,343 67.1
Republican John Bouie II 83,542 29.1
Independent Troy Ray 6,918 2.4
Reform Johnny McLeod 3,823 1.3
Total votes 286,626 100.00
Democratic hold


Mississippi's 2nd congressional district election, 2014
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bennie Thompson (inc.) 100,688 67.7
Independent Troy Ray 36,465 24.5
Reform Shelley Shoemake 11,493 7.7
Total votes 148,646 100.00
Democratic hold


Mississippi's 2nd congressional district election, 2012
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bennie Thompson (inc.) 214,978 67.13
Republican Bill Marcy 99,160 30.96
Independent Cobby Williams 4,605 1.44
Reform Lajena Williams 1,501 0.47
Total votes 320,244 100.00
Democratic hold


Mississippi's 2nd congressional district election, 2010
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Bennie Thompson (inc.) 105,327 61.47
Republican Bill Marcy 64,499 37.64
Reform Ashley Norwood 1,530 0.89
Total votes 171,356 100.00
Democratic hold


United States House election, 2008: Mississippi District 2
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Bennie G. Thompson 201,606 69.05 +4.78
Republican Richard Cook 90,364 30.95 -4.78
Turnout 291,970
Majority 111,242 38.10


United States House election, 2006: Mississippi District 2
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Bennie G. Thompson 100,168 64.27 +5.89
Republican Yvonne R. Brown 55,672 35.73 -4.91
Turnout 155,832
Majority 44,496 28.55


United States House election, 2004: Mississippi District 2
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Bennie G. Thompson 154,626 58.38 +3.24
Republican Clinton B. LeSueur 107,647 40.64 -2.11
Reform Shawn O'Hara 2,596 0.98 -1.12
Turnout 264,869
Majority 46,979 17.74


United States House election, 2002: Mississippi District 2
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Bennie G. Thompson 89,913 55.14 -9.93
Republican Clinton B. LeSueur 69,711 42.75 +11.54
Reform Lee F. Dilworth 3,426 2.10 +0.87
Turnout 163,050
Majority 20,202 12.39


United States House election, 2000: Mississippi District 2
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Democratic Bennie G. Thompson 112,777 65.07
Republican Hardy Caraway 54,090 31.21
Libertarian William G. Chipman 4,305 2.48
Reform Lee F. Dilworth 2,135 1.23
Turnout 173,307
Majority 58,687 33.86

List of representatives

Name Years of Service Party Notes
District created March 4, 1845
Stephen Adams.jpg
Stephen Adams
March 4, 1845 - March 3, 1847 Democratic
Winfield Scott Featherston.jpg
Winfield S. Featherston
March 4, 1847 - March 3, 1851 Democratic
No image.svg
John A. Wilcox
March 4, 1851 - March 3, 1853 Unionist
No image.svg
William T. S. Barry
March 4, 1853 - March 3, 1855 Democratic
No image.svg
Hendley S. Bennett
March 4, 1855 - March 3, 1857 Democratic
Reuben Davis.jpg
Reuben Davis
March 4, 1857 - January 12, 1861 Democratic Withdrew
Civil War and Reconstruction
Hon. Joseph L. Morphis, Miss - NARA - 527107.jpg
Joseph L. Morphis
February 23, 1870 - March 3, 1873 Republican
No image.svg
Albert R. Howe
March 4, 1873 - March 3, 1875 Republican
G. Wiley Wells
March 4, 1875 - March 3, 1877 Independent Republican
Van H. Manning
March 4, 1877 - March 3, 1883 Democratic
Vacant March 4, 1883 - June 25, 1884
James R. Chalmers
June 25, 1884 - March 3, 1885 Independent Seated after contested election with Van H. Manning
No image.svg
James B. Morgan
March 4, 1885 - March 3, 1891 Democratic
John C. Kyle (Mississippi Congressman).jpg
John C. Kyle
March 4, 1891 - March 3, 1897 Democratic
WVA Sullivan.jpg
William V. Sullivan
March 4, 1897 - May 31, 1898 Democratic Appointed U.S. Senator
Vacant May 31, 1898 - July 5, 1898
Thomas Spight
July 5, 1898 - March 3, 1911 Democratic
Hubert D. Stephens
March 4, 1911 - March 3, 1921 Democratic
Bill G. Lowrey (Mississippi Congressman).jpg
Bill G. Lowrey
March 4, 1921 - March 3, 1929 Democratic
U.S. Senator Wall Doxey (D-MS).jpg
Wall Doxey
March 4, 1929 - September 28, 1941 Democratic Elected to U.S. Senate
Vacant September 28, 1941 - November 4, 1941
Jamie L. Whitten.jpg
Jamie Whitten
November 4, 1941 - January 3, 1973 Democratic Redistricted to the 1st district
Bowen DR.png
David R. Bowen
January 3, 1973 - January 3, 1983 Democratic
Webb Franklin.png
Webb Franklin
January 3, 1983 - January 3, 1987 Republican
Mike Espy, Official Portrait, 101st Congress.png
Mike Espy
January 3, 1987 - January 22, 1993 Democratic Resigned after being confirmed as United States Secretary of Agriculture
Vacant January 22, 1993 - April 13, 1993
Bennie Thompson official photo.jpg
Bennie Thompson
April 13, 1993–Present Democratic Incumbent

Historical district boundaries

2003 - 2013
2003 - 2013

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Partisan Voting Index – Districts of the 115th Congress" (PDF). The Cook Political Report. April 7, 2017. Retrieved April 7, 2017.
  3. ^ Eric Foner, Reconstruction, 1863-1877, New York: Perennial Classics, p. 590.
  4. ^ Michael Perman, Struggle for Mastery: Disfranchisement in the South, 1888-1908 (2000), ch 4.
  5. ^ "Rich, poor, young, old: Congressional districts at a glance | Bloomberg Government". Bloomberg Government. 2017-09-15. Retrieved 2018-11-21.
  6. ^ "datatables". Retrieved 2018-11-21.

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