President Donald Trump’s visit to Jackson on Saturday is the latest in a long line of commanders in chief to visit the Magnolia State in its 200-year history.
Arguably the most famous visit by a U.S. president to Mississippi was the November 1902 hunting trip by President Theodore Roosevelt, an avid big game hunter. Unable to find a bear to shoot, Roosevelt declined as unsportsmanlike an offer to shoot a bear that had been captured and tied up. News stories and a cartoon about the incident near Onward led a toy manufacturer to begin mass production of stuffed “Teddy bears” that remain popular today.
The Mississippi Department of Archives and History has recorded these visits to the state by U.S. presidents:
• President Barack Obama visited the Gulfport area in 2010 following the BP oil spill.
• President George W. Bush toured the Gulf Coast in 2005 following Hurricane Katrina and also gave a speech at Madison Central High School in August 2002.
• President Bill Clinton visited Clarksdale in July 1999 for a forum on economic development in the Delta.
• President George H.W. Bush made a campaign stop in Gulfport in 1992 after the Republican National Convention and a campaign stop the same year at the Greenville airport. He also visited Meridian in 1991.
• President Ronald Reagan held a campaign rally in 1984 on the Mississipi Gulf Coast.
• President Jimmy Carter went to Yazoo City in 1977, spending the night with a family there. He also made a campaign stop in Jackson just prior to the 1980 election.
• President Gerald Ford campaigned in the state in 1976 seeking a full term.
• President Richard Nixon spoke in Jackson in 1974, went to Naval Air Station Meridian in 1973 and toured the Mississippi Coast in 1969 after Hurricane Camille.
• President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave a speech in Tupelo in November 1934 heralding it as “The First TVA City,” a reference to the Tennessee Valley Authority. He also visited the Gulf Coast in 1937 and reviewed troops at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg in September 1942.
• President Woodrow Wilson spent Christmas of 1913 in Pass Christian at the home of Alice Herndon, a family friend. The home became known as the “Dixie White House,” and several other presidents visited the home after they left office.
• President William Howard Taft visited Vicksburg and Natchez in October 1909 on a Mississippi River tour. Taft then visited Jackson on Nov. 1, 1909 and Mississippi University for a Women (then Mississippi Industrial Institute and College) on Nov. 2, 1909.
• President Theodore Roosevelt gave a speech in Vicksburg in 1907 in addition to his 1902 bear hunt visit.
• President William McKinley visited Jackson in April 1901 while on a tour of the region and he delivered a speech in Corinth on April 30, 1901.