There is no better symbol of all that Vicksburg, Mississippi is trying to accomplish than the mighty Mississippi River. In 1876, Ole Man River abruptly cut through a narrow neck of land, straightening a horseshoe bend that used to take the waterway right past this historic port.
Today, the residents of Vicksburg are attempting to change course, too—by improving how they stay healthy, shape up, educate children, and grow the economy.
Perched on a bluff overlooking a canal that connects the Yazoo River to the redirected Mississippi, this city of 23,000 in the Mississippi Delta is working hard to make healthier living an easier choice. Efforts include partnerships among groups like Shape Up Vicksburg, the United Way and the Vicksburg Chamber of Commerce with the school district, city, county, and employers, including the largest one, the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center.
The people of Vicksburg want to change how not only they see themselves, but how the rest of the country sees them. This motivation comes from frustration with Mississippi being typecast as poor, unfit and undereducated.