Oprah's Mississippi Roots
Maggie Reads, a blogging librarian, has a review of Finding Oprah's Roots. She talks about the difficulty of African-American research in the state:
Mississippi records, like many southern states, had a lackadaisical
attitude toward black race record keeping prior to the 1900s. When African
Americans were included in the list of others, they were recorded with
nicknames. Amazingly, these nicknames were white generated, and they may or may not have been the name a person actually went by.