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Since the 1930s and the Great Migration, the majority of Mississippi's population has been white, albeit with the highest percentage of black residents of any U. Democratic Party whites retained political power through Jim Crow laws.In the first half of the 20th century, nearly 400,000 rural blacks left the state for work and opportunities in northern and midwestern cities, with another wave of migration around World War II to West Coast cities.The northeast is a region of fertile black earth that extends into the Alabama Black Belt. The northwest remainder of the state consists of the Mississippi Delta, a section of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain.

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The Pontotoc Ridge and the Fall Line Hills in the northeast have somewhat higher elevations.

Yellow-brown loess soil is found in the western parts of the state. It is separated from the Gulf of Mexico proper by the shallow Mississippi Sound, which is partially sheltered by Petit Bois Island, Horn Island, East and West Ship Islands, Deer Island, Round Island, and Cat Island.

Major lakes include Ross Barnett Reservoir, Arkabutla Lake, Sardis Lake, and Grenada Lake with the largest lake being Sardis Lake.

Mississippi is entirely composed of lowlands, the highest point being Woodall Mountain, in the foothills of the Cumberland Mountains, 807 feet (246 m) above sea level. The state's mean elevation is 300 feet (91 m) above sea level.

By the end of the 19th century, African Americans made up two-thirds of the Delta's property owners, but timber and railroad companies acquired much of the land after a financial crisis.

Clearing of the land altered the Delta's ecology, increasing the severity of flooding along the Mississippi. A largely rural state with agricultural areas dominated by industrial farms, Mississippi is ranked low or last among the states in such measures as health, educational attainment, and median household income. From the early 19th century to the 1930s, its residents were mostly black, a population that before the American Civil War was composed largely of African American slaves.

Temperatures average about 81°F (about 27°C) in July and about 48 °F (about 9 °C) in January.

The temperature varies little statewide in the summer; however, in winter, the region near Mississippi Sound is significantly warmer than the inland portion of the state.

Yearly precipitation generally increases from north to south, with the regions closer to the Gulf being the most humid.

Thus, Clarksdale, in the northwest, gets about 50 inches (about 1,270 mm) of precipitation annually and Biloxi, in the south, about 61 inches (about 1,550 mm).

Small amounts of snow fall in northern and central Mississippi; snow is occasional in the southern part of the state.

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