Regardless of race, class, or gender, nineteenth-century Americans contacted their governors about every concern imaginable. That makes governors' collections an invaluable resource for "hearing" from individuals whose voices are often missing in traditional sources, as well as from those who wielded significant power during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras.
The Civil War & Reconstruction Governors of Mississippi Project (CWRGM) is digitizing, transcribing, and annotating these valuable records from Mississippi’s governors’ offices and making them freely available online. The project covers nine administrations, beginning amid rumblings of secession in late 1859, continuing through civil war, emancipation, occupation, and Reconstruction, ending in the early Jim Crow South in 1882. Thanks to the diverse nature of this collection, CWRGM documents touch on nearly every topic imaginable. These include questions of loyalty and dissent, the process of emancipation and the changing definition of citizenship, and military experiences that ranged from state militias to Confederate national service to the role of nearly 20,000 Mississippians who served in the Union Army and Navy. The collections also contribute to ongoing debates about Civil War memory and commemoration, and help users explore the question of whose experiences are preserved and how, and whose are ignored or erased.
This site features documents in the collection as they are digitized, transcribed, and provided with early annotations through subject tagging features. We encourage users to review the "How to Get Started" and "Explore the Collection" sections that offer suggestions on how to best search the collection. "Educator Resources" offers a sampling of about eighty documents that spotlight how the collection is deepening our understanding of this era, and includes short contextualizing essays, lesson plans with selected documents for secondary classrooms, and information about upcoming free educator workshops. "Media" connects users to the project’s podcast and recorded interviews that discuss the historical significance of the collection. "About" shares more about the CWRGM project partners, the research team, and includes copies of our work plan and protocols. "Get Involved" shares ideas for how volunteers can contribute their time and energy to the project.
As you think about where to start, we encourage you to explore some of the "Feature Subjects" below. These spotlight connections within the collections and offer ideas for further exploration.