Prior to the end of the Civil War, slavery was common in Mississippi. Like in other southern states, large plantations produced cotton and other crops. Slaves made up almost the entire workforce on plantations. Typically, overseers were the only white employees on a plantation. Some slaves worked in and around the plantation house, while most worked in the fields. These slaves planted, cared for, and harvested crops.
Mississippi relied on a primarily agricultural economy. Without slave labor, Mississippi farmers and plantation owners would have been without workers. The agricultural industry depended on slave labor.
Slaves generally lived in harsher conditions in Mississippi than in other slave states. Emancipation was prohibited in most cases. Few freed blacks lived in the state, and because of this almost all paying jobs were held by whites.
After the Civil War, plantation owners had to pay their workers. The sharecropping system rose in popularity during this time. Former slaves became sharecroppers. Many Mississippi plantation owners faced financial hardships after the Civil War.