From the pain and despair of historic flooding to emotional moments in sports, see the photographs that capture some of Mississippi’s biggest moments from 2019. It was a year that Mississippians said goodbye to a senator, celebrated long-awaited education gains, witnessed Tougaloo College’s 150 year anniversary and saw firsthand the largest immigration raid in U.S. history. Mississippi Today photographer Eric J. Shelton reviewed hundreds of images that defined the year in pictures to curate this collection. — Harvey Parson
Bettersten Wade, center, passes out signs before the start of a march in protest of the death of 61-year-old George Robinson.
Carolyn Washington and her 5-year-old great-niece, Jaycee Washington, after the protest on Jones Avenue in Jackson Monday, January 21, 2019.
Breein Tyree expresses emotion after Ole Miss loss their game against Tennessee in Oxford, Wednesday, February 27, 2019.
Mary Catherine George, of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church, holds a protest sign outside of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization Tuesday, March 19, 2019.
Vic Schaefer gives a hug to Teaira McCowan, another Texan, on her senior night at Mississippi State.
Geneva Williams sits on her porch in Tchula, Miss. Saturday, March 23, 2019. Residents in the Tchula, one of the poorest cities in the state, have been affected by the recent flooding in the Delta.
Governor Phil Bryant holds a press conference at the Mississippi National Guard’s Army Aviation Support Facility after his aerial tour of the Mississippi River/Backwater Flooding Wednesday, April 3, 2019.
Flood waters surround Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in the Goose Lake community of Issaquena County, Friday, April 5, 2019.
Anderson Jones Sr., 59, positions his boat as he gets ready to travel across flood water to get to his home in Fitler, Miss., Monday, April 15, 2019.
Anderson Jones Sr., 59, navigates through flood water to get to his home in Fitler, Miss., Monday, April 15, 2019.
Artist and native Jacksonian Kwame Braxton takes a look at his mural painted on the Center for Community Production building in downtown Jackson Wednesday, April 17, 2019.
Jackson native Justin Ransburg works on his mural near the intersection of West Monument and Capitol Streets in downtown Jackson, Wednesday, March 17, 2019.
Stacey Abrams, left, receives an honorary degree during Tougaloo College’s Sesquicentennial Commencement Exercises at Tougaloo’s campus Sunday, May 5, 2019.
Graduate Kristyn Newman, left, kisses her boyfriend, Carnell Taylor, during Tougaloo College’s Sesquicentennial Commencement Exercises at Tougaloo’s campus Sunday, May 5, 2019. Carnell, who serves in the army, surprised Kristyn after returning from Germany.
Jennie Jefferson expresses emotion as she talks about the recent flooding near her home and the damage it caused to her car in Tchula, Miss., Thursday, May 9, 2019. Jefferson is still making payments on her car, but she is unable to afford repairs.
Two-year-old Rihanna Barret is photographed on the steps on her grandmother’s home in Tchula, Miss. Thursday, May 9, 2019.
L.D. Miller is photographed in Tchula, Miss., Thursday, May 9, 2019. Despite the conditions of the flooding due to the rise of Tchula Lake, Miller keeps an upbeat attitude and remains positive for his community.
Sand bags are in place near farm land to help prevent flooding in Eagle Lake, Monday, May 13, 2019.
Mailboxes stand in front of flooded farmland in Eagle Lake, Monday, May 13, 2019.
Amelie Hahn holds a sign during a pro-choice rally outside of the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Coleman Boyd, a counter protester, voices his opinions during a pro-choice rally outside of the Mississippi Capitol in Jackson, Tuesday, May 21, 2019.
Hezekiah Watkins, Mississippi’s youngest Freedom Rider, is photographed outside of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum in Jackson, Miss., Friday, May 24, 2019.
Rylan Townsend holds protest signs during a rally concerning the contaminated groundwater under Eastern Heights residents’ homes in Grenada, Miss., Wednesday, May 29, 2019.
Fred Hubbard, an Eastern Heights Subdivision resident, is photographed inside of his home in Grenada, Miss., Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Hubbard claims to have experienced health issues due to the contaminated groundwater in the subdivision.
Herbert Broome pays his respect to the late Republican Sen. Thad Cochran during a funeral service at the state Capitol in Jackson, Miss., for a funeral service, Monday, June 3, 2019.
Billy Whitten stands in front of his farmland in Valley Park. Over a 1,000 acres of his land are submerged in flood water.
Simone Windom kisses her one-year-old son, Lemore Windom, at a park in West Jackson, Friday, June 14, 2019.
Students prepare for the ‘third grade reading gate’ in the Jefferson County School District on June 17, 2019.
Roy Lee Brown ties his shoes before heading out the door to do some farm work before going to his second with the Canadian National Railway. Brown works with the railway and he hauls grains to help pay for his farming equipment and to keep his family farm.
A cowgirl makes her way to the rodeo grounds before the start to the 17th Annual Jackson Black Rodeo at the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson, Miss., Saturday July 13, 2019.
Blake Thompson, 11, is photographed at the 17thAnnual Black Rodeo in Jackson, Miss., Saturday, July 13, 2019.
A family member makes a phone as she waits in hopes that her loved ones are released and returned to Koch Foods Inc., plant in Morton, Miss., Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. About 680 undocumented immigrants were detained during this a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid at multiple locations across the state.
A woman who was detained during the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids, right, wears an ankle bracelet while seeking legal advice at Alpha and Omega Church of Deliverance in Forest, Miss., Saturday, August 10, 2019.
An American youth member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church holds a sign that reads “te amamos” during the church’s Spanish Mass service in Canton, Miss., Sunday, August 11, 2019.
Church members pray in a filled sanctuary during Sacred Heart Catholic Church’s Spanish Mass service in Canton, Miss., Sunday, August 11, 2019.
An American flag and a Mexican flag hang on neighboring homes in Morton.
“She has done nothing wrong! … She doesn’t have a record!” Maria Armenta Pita cried, referring to the detainment of Griselda Salas, Pita’s sister and mother of 11-year-old Justin.
Doroteo Lopez holds his 5-year-old son Lesvi Lopez during the Poor People’s Campaign’s “Everybody’s Got a Right to Live” mass at Liberty Missionary Baptist Church in Canton, Miss., Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019.
A missing sink in one of the bathrooms at Leland Elementary School.
Principal Maurice Johnson looks at a broken toilets in one of the girl’s bathroom at Leland Elementary School Monday, September 9, 2019.
Leland High School Principal Johnny Vick walks talks about the school’s structural damage Monday, September 9, 2019.
Artist Juegasiempre works on a mural of Jasmine Jackson during the Paint the Town event in Clarksdale Tuesday, October 1, 2019. Jasmine Jackson is a Clarksdale local who Juegasiempre was inspired to paint after seeing a photo of her taken by Eric Stone.
Cynthia Wilder spent hours at the courthouse writing letters, collecting documents and soliciting legal aid and two months after she was forced to move her family out of their home, she won an eviction appeal.
U.S. Army veteran Anthony Burkett looks out the front door of his damaged trailer in Seminary, Miss., Wednesday, October 30, 2019.
President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up during a campaign rally at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Friday, November 1, 2019.
A young boy holds a “Keep America Great!” sign during the Trump rally at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Friday, November 1, 2019.
Supporters wear President Donald Trump-inspired hats during the Trump rally at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Friday, November 1, 2019.
Tate Reeves speaks at the Westin after winning the governor election Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Tate Reeves speaks at the Westin after winning the governor election Tuesday, November 5, 2019.
Rep. Bennie Thompson, chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, oversaw a field hearing at Tougaloo College Thursday, Nov. 7, where experts talked about the largest workplace immigration raid in U.S. history.
Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and former mayor of New York City, speaks to media at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center Tuesday, December 3, 2019.
Tony “Dr. Shoemaker” Brothers sits across the street from his family’s business, Dennis Brothers Shoe Repair Service, in the 300 block of Farish Street in Jackson Thursday, December 5, 2019.
Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood closes a box of files at his office inside of the Walter Sillers Building in Jackson, Miss., Thursday, December 12, 2019.
Que’shun Gray plays the lottery at a Chevron gas station near the intersection of Ridgewood Road and Adkins Boulevard in Jackson, Miss., Friday, December 13, 2019.
James Lane, a lifelong resident of Edwards, Miss., with his chainsaw Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019. Lane has been helping people in his hometown by cutting down trees in their yards. In return, he uses the fallen trees for firewood.
Atallya Price, a mother of four, only had her new trailer for two weeks before it was destroyed by Monday’s tornado. “If this would have happened at night, we wouldn’t have made it,” Price said.
Eric J. Shelton is a 2018 corps member in Report for America, and joined the team as our first photojournalist. A native of Columbia, Miss., Eric earned his bachelor’s in photojournalism from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was a multimedia journalist for Abilene Reporter-News, chief photographer for the Hattiesburg American and photo editor for the Killeen Daily Herald before joining our team June 2018.