On Wednesday, August 12, Deanne Stephens will present “The 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Mississippi” as a streaming-only History Is Lunch program on the MDAH Facebook page.
More than 140 years ago, Mississippi experienced a crippling epidemic. In July of 1878 yellow fever struck and raged until the end of November, sweeping across the state. Previous yellow fever outbreaks had plagued the region, but the 1878 epidemic affected communities that previously had been fever-free.
Mass confusion and panic permeated Mississippi's towns as news of the contagion’s ever-increasing spread reached new locales. “Quarantine lines, oftentimes guarded with shotguns, quickly strangled commerce in the state,” said Stephens. “As a result, business deteriorated to the point that Mississippians soon required aid in the form of vast amounts of money and huge quantities of donated merchandise.”
Deanne Stephens is the author of Plague among the Magnolias: The 1878 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Mississippi. She earned her BS, MS, and PhD from the University of Southern Mississippi, where she is a professor of history and faculty member with the Center for the Study of the Gulf South.
The streaming-only program will take place at 12 noon on Wednesday, August 12. It will be shown live on the Mississippi Department of Archives and History’s Facebook page—https://www.facebook.com/MDAHOfficial—and available afterwards on the MDAH YouTube channel—https://www.youtube.com/MDAHVideo and on our History Is Lunch page.