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Jackson, Mississippi

City & State Capital
Jackson, Mississippi
Images top, left to right: Mississippi State Capitol, Old Mississippi State Capitol, Lamar Life Building, Mississippi Governor's Mansion
Images top, left to right: Mississippi State Capitol, Old Mississippi State Capitol, Lamar Life Building, Mississippi Governor's Mansion
Flag of Jackson
Official seal of Jackson
Nickname(s): "Crossroads of the South"
Motto: "City with Soul"
Location in Hinds County, Mississippi
Location in Hinds County, Mississippi
Country  United States of America
State  Mississippi
Counties Hinds, Madison, Rankin
Incorporation 1821
 • Type Strong Mayor-Council
 • Mayor Tony Yarber
 • City council
 • Chief of Police Lee Vance (interim)
 • City & State Capital 276.7 km2 (106.8 sq mi)
 • Land 271.7 km2 (104.9 sq mi)
 • Water 5.0 km2 (1.9 sq mi)
Elevation 85 m (279 ft)
Population (2010)[1]
 • City & State Capital 173,514
 • Estimate (2013)[2] 172,638
 • Rank US: 138th
 • Urban 351,478 (US: 107th)
 • Metro 576,382 (US: 93rd)
Demonym Jacksonian
Time zone CST (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 39200-39299
Area code(s) 601, 769
FIPS code 28-36000
GNIS feature ID 0711543[3]
Website City of Jackson
For additional city data see City-Data

Jackson is the capital and since 1944 the largest city of the state of Mississippi. The city is located on the Pearl River (Mississippi–Louisiana) which drains into the Gulf of Mexico and is part of the Jackson Prairie region of the state.[4][5] Jackson is one of two county seats of Hinds County, with the city of Raymond being the other.

The city, the anchor for its metro area, is named after Andrew Jackson, who was honored for his role in the Battle of New Orleans and later was elected as US president. The current slogan for the city is "Jackson, Mississippi: City with Soul."[6] It has had numerous musicians prominent in blues, gospel and jazz, and was known for decades for its illegal nightclubs on the Gold Coast; one site has been designated for the Mississippi Blues Trail.

It had a decline in population from 184,256 at the 2000 census to 173,514 at the 2010 census. The 2010 census ascribed a population of 539,057 to the five-county Jackson metropolitan area.[7] The city is ranked third as the best "mud" city among the United States' 100 largest metro areas, according to Forbes magazine.[8] The study measured overall affordability in living costs, housing rates, and more.

In 2011 USS Jackson (LCS-6) was the first ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the city.[9]


  • History 1
    • AmerIndians 1.1
    • Founding and antebellum period (to 1860) 1.2
    • American Civil War and late nineteenth century (1861–1900) 1.3
    • Early twentieth century (1901–1960) 1.4
      • Jackson's Gold Coast 1.4.1
      • World War II and later development 1.4.2
    • Civil Rights Movement in Jackson 1.5
    • Mid-1960s to present 1.6
  • Geography 2
    • Major highways 2.1
    • Geology 2.2
    • Climate 2.3
  • Demographics 3
  • Transportation 4
    • Air travel 4.1
    • Ground transportation 4.2
      • Interstate highways 4.2.1
      • U.S. highways 4.2.2
      • State highways 4.2.3
      • Other roads 4.2.4
      • Bus service 4.2.5
    • Railroads 4.3
  • Industry 5
    • Publicly traded companies 5.1
  • Religion 6
  • Cultural organizations and institutions 7
  • Government and infrastructure 8
    • Municipal government 8.1
    • State government 8.2
    • Federal representation 8.3
  • Education 9
    • Colleges and universities 9.1
    • Primary and secondary schools 9.2
      • Public schools 9.2.1
      • Private schools 9.2.2
  • Media 10
    • Newspapers 10.1
      • Daily 10.1.1
      • Weekly 10.1.2
      • Historic 10.1.3
    • Publishing 10.2
    • Television 10.3
    • FM radio 10.4
    • AM radio 10.5
  • Points of interest 11
    • Representation in media 11.1
      • Films 11.1.1
    • Ballet 11.2
      • Annual festivals and cultural events 11.2.1
    • Downtown Jackson attractions 11.3
    • Museums and historic sites 11.4
      • Historic marker 11.4.1
    • Parks 11.5
    • Downtown Jackson renaissance 11.6
    • Tallest buildings 11.7
  • Sports 12
    • Roller Derby 12.1
    • Sports arenas 12.2
    • Sports teams 12.3
    • Former professional sports teams 12.4
  • Notable people 13
  • Notes 14
  • References 15
  • External links 16


The entire Choctaw Nation's location and size compared to the U.S. state of Mississippi.


The region which is now the city of Jackson was historically part of the large territory occupied by the Choctaw Nation, the historic culture of the Muskogean-speaking indigenous peoples who had inhabited the area for thousands of years before European encounter. The area now called Jackson was obtained by the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, by which the Choctaw ceded some of their land. After the treaty was ratified, European-American settlers began to move into the area, so many that they encroached on remaining Choctaw land.

Under pressure from the U.S. government, the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. They live in several majority-Indian communities located throughout the state. The largest community is located in Choctaw 100 mi (160 km) northeast of Jackson.

Founding and antebellum period (to 1860)

The area that is now Jackson was initially referred to as Parkerville.[12] Located on the historic Natchez Trace trade route, created by Native Americans and used by European-American settlers, it was first settled by Louis LeFleur, a French Canadian trader. The village became known as LeFleur's Bluff.[13] During the late 18th century and early 19th century, this site had a trading post. It was connected to markets in Tennessee. A treaty with the Choctaw, the Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, formally opened the area for non-Native American settlers.

LeFleur's Bluff was developed because it was chosen as the site for the new state's capital. The Mississippi General Assembly decided in 1821 that the new state needed a centrally located capital (they were then located at the historic city of Natchez). They commissioned Thomas Hinds, James Patton, and William Lattimore to look for a suitable site. The absolute center of the state was a swamp, so the group had to widen their search.

After surveying areas north and east of Jackson, they proceeded southwest along the Pearl River until they reached LeFleur's Bluff in Hinds County.[13] Their report to the General Assembly stated that this location had beautiful and healthful surroundings, good water, abundant timber, navigable waters, and proximity to the trading route Natchez Trace. The Assembly passed an act on November 28, 1821, authorizing the site as the permanent seat of the government of the state of Mississippi.[13] One Whig politician lamented the new capital as a "serious violation of principle" because it was not at the absolute center of the state.[14]

The capital was named for General Andrew Jackson, to honor his victory in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. He was later elected as the seventh President of the United States.

Jackson was originally planned, in April 1822, by Peter Aaron Van Dorn in a "checkerboard" pattern advocated by Thomas Jefferson.[15] City blocks alternated with parks and other open spaces. Over time, many of the park squares have been developed rather than maintained as green space.

The state legislature first met in Jackson on December 23, 1822. In 1839, the Mississippi General Assembly passed the first state law in the United States that permitted married women to own and administer their own property.

Jackson was first connected by railroad to other cities in 1840. An 1844 map shows Jackson linked by an east-west rail line running between Vicksburg, Raymond, and Brandon. Unlike Vicksburg, Greenville, and Natchez, Jackson is not located on the Mississippi River, and did not develop like those cities from that river commerce. Construction of railroad lines to the city sparked its growth in the decades after the American Civil War.

American Civil War and late nineteenth century (1861–1900)

"Raising the Stars and Stripes Over the Capitol of the State of Mississippi," engraving from Harper's Weekly, 20 June 1863, after the capture of Jackson by Union forces during the American Civil War.
September 1863 map of the Siege of Jackson.
Despite its small population, during the Civil War, Jackson became a strategic center of manufacturing for the Confederate States of America. In 1863, during the campaign which ended in the capture of Vicksburg, Union forces captured Jackson during two battles—once before the fall of Vicksburg and once after the fall of Vicksburg.

On May 13, 1863, Union forces won the first Battle of Jackson, forcing Confederate forces to flee northward towards Canton. On May 15, Union troops under the command of William Tecumseh Sherman burned and looted key facilities in Jackson, a strategic manufacturing and railroad center for the Confederacy. After driving the Confederate forces out of Jackson, Union forces turned west and engaged the Vicksburg defenders at the Battle of Champion Hill in nearby Edwards. The Union forces began their siege of Vicksburg soon after their victory at Champion Hill. Confederate forces began to reassemble in Jackson in preparation for an attempt to break through the Union lines surrounding Vicksburg and end the siege. The Confederate forces in Jackson built defensive fortifications encircling the city while preparing to march west to Vicksburg.

Confederate forces marched out of Jackson in early July 1863 to break the siege of Vicksburg. But, unknown to them, Vicksburg had already surrendered on July 4, 1863. General Ulysses S. Grant dispatched General Sherman to meet the Confederate forces heading west from Jackson. Upon learning that Vicksburg had already surrendered, the Confederates retreated into Jackson. Union forces began the Siege of Jackson, which lasted for approximately one week. Union forces encircled the city and began an artillery bombardment. One of the Union artillery emplacements has been preserved on the grounds of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Another Federal position is preserved on the campus of Millsaps College. John C. Breckenridge, former United States Vice President, served as one of the Confederate generals defending Jackson. On July 16, 1863, Confederate forces slipped out of Jackson during the night and retreated across the Pearl River.

Union forces completely burned the city after its capture this second time. The city was called "Chimneyville" because only the chimneys of houses were left standing. The northern line of Confederate defenses in Jackson during the siege was located along a road near downtown Jackson, now known as Fortification Street.

Mississippi Old Capitol, downtown Jackson.

Because of the siege and following destruction, few antebellum structures have survived in Jackson. The Governor's Mansion, built in 1842, served as Sherman's headquarters and has been preserved. Another is the Old Capitol building, which served as the home of the Mississippi state legislature from 1839 to 1903. The Mississippi legislature passed the ordinance of secession from the Union on January 9, 1861 there, becoming the second state to secede from the United States. The Jackson City Hall, built in 1846 for less than $8,000, also survived. It is said that Sherman, a Mason, spared it because it housed a Masonic Lodge, though a more likely reason is that it housed an army hospital.

During Reconstruction, Mississippi had considerable insurgent action, as whites struggled to maintain supremacy. In 1875 the [16] Democrats regained control of the state legislature in 1876. The constitutional convention of 1890, which produced Mississippi's Constitution of 1890, was also held at the capitol.

This was the first of new constitutions or amendments ratified in southern states through 1908 that effectively disfranchised most African Americans and many poor whites, through provisions making voter registration more difficult: such as poll taxes, residency requirements, and literacy tests. These provisions survived a Supreme Court challenge in 1898.[17][18] As 20th-century Supreme Court decisions later ruled such provisions were unconstitutional, Mississippi and other southern states rapidly devised new methods to continue disfranchisement of most blacks, who comprised a majority in the state until the 1930s.

The economic recovery from the Civil War was slow through the start of the 20th century, but there were some developments in transportation. In 1871, the city introduced mule-drawn streetcars which ran on State Street, which were replaced by electric ones in 1899.[19]

The so-called New Capitol replaced the older structure upon its completion in 1903. Today the Old Capitol is operated as a historical museum.

Early twentieth century (1901–1960)

Panorama of downtown Jackson in 1910. The Old Capitol and Capitol Street can be seen at the center of the photo. The New Capitol is at the left.

Author Eudora Welty was born in Jackson in 1909, lived most of her life in the Belhaven section of the city, and died there in 2001. Her memoir of development as a writer, One Writer's Beginnings (1984), presented a picture of the city in the early twentieth century. She won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for her novel, The Optimist's Daughter, and is best known for her novels and short stories. The main Jackson Public Library was named in her honor, and her home has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Standard Life Building, downtown Jackson.

Richard Wright, a highly acclaimed African-American author, lived in Jackson as an adolescent and young man in the 1910s and 1920s. He related his experience in his memoir Black Boy (1945). He described the harsh and largely terror-filled life most African Americans experienced in the South and northern ghettos such as Chicago under segregation in the early twentieth century.

April 16, 1921 flood on Town Creek tributary stream at Jackson, Mississippi shown flowed onto Capitol Street. The photo is a view of East Capitol Street looking east from North Farish Street.
Jackson had significant growth in the early twentieth century, which produced dramatic changes in the city's skyline. Jackson's new Union Station downtown reflected the city's service by multiple rail lines, including the Illinois Central. Across the street, the new, luxurious King Edward Hotel opened its doors in 1923, having been built according to a design by New Orleans architect William T. Nolan. It became a center for prestigious events held by Jackson society and Mississippi politics. Nearby, the 18-story Standard Life Building, designed in 1929 by Claude Lindsley, was the largest reinforced concrete structure in the world upon its completion.

Jackson's economic growth was further stimulated in the 1930s by the discovery of natural gas fields nearby. Speculators began searching for oil and natural gas in Jackson beginning in 1920. The initial drilling attempts of the early twenties came up empty. This failure did not stop Ella Render from obtaining a lease from the state’s insane asylum to begin a well on its grounds in 1924. Render found natural gas, but eventually lost the rights when courts determined that the asylum did not have the right to lease the state’s property. Businessmen jumped on the opportunity and dug wells in the Jackson area. The continued success of these ventures attracted further investment and by 1930, there were fourteen derricks in the Jackson skyline.

Mississippi Governor Theodore Bilbo stated,

“it is no idle dream to prophecy that the state’s share [of the oil and natural gas profits] properly safe-guarded would soon pay the state’s entire bonded indebtedness and even be great enough to defray all the state’s expenses and make our state tax free so long as obligations are concerned.”
This enthusiasm was subdued when the first wells failed to produce oil of a sufficiently high gravity for commercial success. The barrels of oil had considerable amounts of salt water, which lessened the quality. The governor’s prediction is wrong in hindsight, but the oil and natural gas industry did provide an economic boost for the city and state. The effects of the Great Depression were mitigated by the industry’s success. At its height in 1934, there were 113 producing wells in the state. The overwhelming majority were closed by 1955.[20]

Jackson's Gold Coast

During Mississippi's extended Prohibition period, from the 1920s until the 1960s, illegal drinking and gambling casinos flourished on the east side of the Pearl River, in Flowood along the original U.S. Route 80 just across from the city of Jackson, Mississippi. Those illegal casinos, bootleg liquor stores and nightclubs made up the Gold Coast, a strip of mostly black-market businesses that operated for decades along Flowood Road. Although outside the law, the Gold Coast was a thriving center of nightlife and music, with many local blues musicians appearing regularly in the clubs.

The Gold Coast declined and businesses disappeared after Mississippi's prohibition laws were repealed in 1966, allowing Hinds County, including Jackson, to go "wet".[21] In addition, integration drew off business from establishments that earlier had catered to African Americans, such as the Summers Hotel. When it opened in 1943 on Street, it was one of two hotels in the city that served black clients. For years its Subway Lounge was a prime performance spot for black musicians playing jazz and blues.

In another major change, in 1990 the state approved gaming on riverboats. Numerous casinos have been developed on riverboats, mostly in Mississippi River towns such as Tunica Resorts, Greenville, Vicksburg, and Biloxi on the Gulf Coast. Before the damage and losses due to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the state ranked second nationally in gambling revenues.

World War II and later development

During World War II, Hawkins Field in northwest Jackson was developed as a major airbase. Among other facilities and units, the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School was established there, after Nazi Germany occupied the Netherlands. From 1941, the base trained all Dutch military aircrews.

In 1949, the poet Margaret Walker began teaching at Jackson State University, a historically black college. She taught there until 1979, and founded the university's Center for African-American Studies. Her poetry collection won a Yale Younger Poets Prize. Her second novel, Jubilee (1966), is considered a major work of African-American literature. She has influenced many younger writers.

Civil Rights Movement in Jackson

The Civil Rights Movement had been active for decades, particularly mounting legal challenges to Mississippi's constitution and laws that disfranchised blacks. Beginning in 1960, Jackson as the state capital became the site for dramatic non-violent protests in a new phase of activism that brought in a wide variety of participants in the performance of mass demonstrations. In 1960, the Census Bureau reported Jackson's population as 64.3% white and 35.7% black.[22]

At the time, public facilities were segregated and Millsaps College to work with student activists. It has been recognized as a site on the "Civil Rights Trail" by the National Park Service.[23]

The mass demonstrations of the 1960s were initiated with the arrival of more than 300 Freedom Riders on May 24, 1961. They were arrested in Jackson for disturbing the peace after they disembarked from their interstate buses. The interracial teams rode the buses from Washington, DC and sat together to demonstrate against segregation on public transportation, as the Constitution provides for unrestricted public transportation.[24] Although the Freedom Riders had intended New Orleans, Louisiana as their final destination, Jackson was the farthest that any managed to travel. New participants kept joining the movement, as they intended to fill the jails in Jackson with their protest. The riders had encountered extreme violence along the way, including a bus burning and physical assaults. They attracted national media attention to the struggle for constitutional rights.

After the Freedom Rides, students and activists of the Freedom Movement launched a series of merchant boycotts,[25] sit-ins and protest marches,[26] from 1961 to 1963. Businesses discriminated against black customers. For instance, at the time, department stores did not hire black salesclerks or allow black customers to use their fitting rooms to try on clothes, or lunch counters for meals while in the store, but they wanted them to shop in their stores.

In Jackson, shortly after midnight on June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers, civil rights activist and leader of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist. Thousands marched in his funeral procession to protest the killing.[27] A portion of U.S. Highway 49, all of Delta Drive, a library, the central post office for the city, and Jackson-Evers International Airport were named in honor of Medgar Evers. In 1994, prosecutors Ed Peters and Bobby DeLaughter finally obtained a murder conviction of De La Beckwith.

During 1963 and 1964, civil rights organizers gathered local residents for voter education and voter registration. Blacks had been essentially disfranchised since 1890. In a pilot project, activists rapidly registered 80,000 voters across the state, demonstrating the desire of African Americans to vote. In 1964 they created the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party as an alternative to the all-white state Democratic Party, and sent an alternate slate of candidates to the national party convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey that year.

Segregation and the disfranchisement of African Americans gradually ended after the Civil Rights Movement gained passage of the James Meredith, the first African American to enroll at the University of Mississippi. The march, which began in Memphis, Tennessee, was an attempt to garner support for full implementation of civil rights in practice, following the legislation. It was accompanied by a new drive to register African Americans to vote in Mississippi. In this latter goal, it succeeded in registering between 2,500 and 3,000 black Mississippians to vote. The march ended on June 26 after Meredith, who had been wounded by a sniper's bullet earlier on the march, addressed a large rally of some 15,000 people in Jackson.

In September 1967 a Ku Klux Klan chapter bombed the synagogue of the Beth Israel Congregation in Jackson, and in November bombed the house of its rabbi, Dr. Perry Nussbaum.[28] He and his congregation had supported civil rights.

Gradually the old barriers came down. Since that period, both whites and African Americans in the state have had a consistently high rate of voter registration and turnout. Following the Great Migration, since the 1930s the state has been majority white in total population. African Americans are a majority now in Jackson, and in several cities and counties of the Mississippi Delta, which are included in the 2nd congressional district, established in the late 19th century.[29] The other three congressional districts are majority white.

Mid-1960s to present

The first successful cadaveric transplant was performed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson in June 1963 by Dr. James Hardy. Hardy transplanted the cadaveric lung into a patient suffering from lung cancer. The patient survived for eighteen days before dying of kidney failure.

Since 1968, Jackson has been the home of Malaco Records, one of the leading record companies for gospel, blues and soul music in the United States. In January 1973, Paul Simon recorded the songs "Learn How To Fall" and "Take Me To the Mardi Gras", found on the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon, in Jackson at the Malaco Recording Studios. Many well-known Southern artists recorded on the album including the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (David Hood, Jimmy Johnson, Roger Hawkins, Barry Beckett); Carson Whitsett, the Onward Brass Band from New Orleans, and others. The label has recorded many leading soul and blues artists, including Bobby Bland, ZZ Hill, Latimore, Shirley Brown, Denise LaSalle and Tyrone Davis.

On May 15, 1970 police killed two students and wounded 12 at Jackson State University (then called Jackson State College) after a protest of the Vietnam War included students' overturning and burning some cars. These killings occurred eleven days after the National Guard killed four students in an anti-war protest at Kent State University in Ohio, and were part of national social unrest.[30] Newsweek cited the Jackson State killings in its issue of May 18 when it suggested that U.S. President Richard Nixon faced a new home front.

In 1997, Harvey Johnson, Jr. was elected as Jackson's first African-American mayor. During his term, he proposed the development of a convention center to attract more business to the city. In 2004, during his second term, 66 percent of the voters passed a referendum for a tax to build the Convention Center.[31]

Mayor Johnson was replaced by Frank Melton on July 4, 2005. Melton subsequently generated controversy through his unconventional behavior, which included acting as a law enforcement officer. A dramatic spike in crime also ensued, despite Melton's efforts to reduce crime. The lack of jobs contributed to crime.[32]

2007 saw a historic first for Mississippi as Hinds County sheriff Malcolm McMillin was appointed as the new police chief in Jackson. McMillin was both the county sheriff and city police chief until 2009, when he stepped down due to the disagreements with the mayor. Mayor Frank Melton died in May 2009 and City Councilman Leslie McLemore served as acting mayor of Jackson until July 2009, when former Mayor Harvey Johnson assumed the Mayor position.[33]

On June 26, 2011, 49-year-old James Craig Anderson was killed in Jackson after being beaten, robbed and run over by a group of white teenagers. The district attorney described it as a "crime of hate", and the FBI investigated it as a civil rights violation.[34][35][36]

On March 18, 2013, a severe hailstorm hit the Jackson metro area. The hail caused major damage to roofs, vehicles, and siding damage to many homes. Hail ranged in size from golfball to softball. There were over 40,000 hailstorm claims of homeowner and automobile damage.[37][38]

On July 1, 2013, Chokwe Lumumba was sworn into office as mayor of the city. After only eight months in office, Lumumba passed away on February 25, 2014. Lumumba was a controversial figure due to his prior membership in the Republic of New Africa as well as being a co-founder of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America. Lumumba's son, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, ran for the mayoral seat following his father's death, but lost to Councillor Tony Yarber on April 22, 2014.[39]

In 2013, Jackson was named as one of the top 10 friendliest cities in the United States by CN Traveler. The capital city was tied with Natchez as Number 7. The city was noticed for friendly people, great food, and green and pretty public places.[40]


Photograph of Jackson Mississippi taken from the International Space Station (ISS)

Jackson is located on the Pearl River, and is served by the Ross Barnett Reservoir, which forms a section of the Pearl River and is located northeast of Jackson on the border between Madison and Rankin counties. A tiny portion of the city containing Tougaloo College lies in Madison County, bounded on the west by I-220 and on the east by US 51 and I-55. A second portion of the city is located in Rankin County. In the 2000 census, only 1,533 of the city's residents lived in Madison County. Although no Jackson residents lived in the Rankin County portion in 2000, that figure had risen to 172 by 2006.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 106.8 square miles (277 km2), of which, is land, and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2), or 1.80% of the total, is water.

Major highways


Jackson sits atop the Jackson Volcano and is the only capital city in the United States to have this feature. The peak of the volcano is located 2,900 feet (880 m) directly below the Mississippi Coliseum.[41]


Jackson is located in the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa), with hot, humid summers and mild winters. Rain occurs throughout the year, though the winter and spring are the wettest seasons, and the late summer and early autumn is usually the driest time of the year. Snow is rare, and accumulation very seldom lasts more than a day.[42] Much of Jackson's rainfall occurs during thunderstorms. Thunder is heard on roughly 70 days each year. Jackson lies in a region prone to severe thunderstorms which can produce large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. Among the most notable tornado events was the F5 Candlestick Park Tornado on March 3, 1966 which destroyed the shopping center of the same name and surrounding businesses and residential areas, killing 19 in South Jackson.

The record low temperature is −5 °F (−21 °C), set on January 27, 1940,[43] and the record high is 107 °F (42 °C), recorded as recently as August 30, 2000.[43]


Jackson remained a small town for much of the 19th century. Before the American Civil War, Jackson's population remained small, particularly in contrast to the river towns along the commerce-laden Mississippi River. Despite the city's status as the state capital, the 1850 census counted only 1,881 residents, and by 1900 the population of Jackson had grown only to approximately 8,000. Although it expanded rapidly, during this period Meridian became Mississippi's largest city, based on trade, manufacturing, and access to transportation via railroad and highway.

In the early 20th century, as can be seen by the table, Jackson had its largest rates of growth, but was ranked second to Meridian. By 1944, Jackson's population had risen to some 70,000 inhabitants and it became the largest city in the state. It has maintained its position, achieving a peak population in the 1980 census of more than 200,000 residents in the city. Since then, Jackson has steadily seen a decline in its population, while its suburbs have had a boom. This change has occurred in part due to white flight,[46] but it also demonstrates the national suburbanization trend, in which wealthier residents moved out to newer housing. This decline slowed in the first decade of the 21st century.[47]

As of the census[48] of 2010, there were 173,514 people, and 62,400 households. The population density was 1,562.5 people per square mile. There were 74,537 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 79.4% Black or African American, 18.4% White or Euro American, 0.1% Native American, 0.4% Asian, and 0.9% from two or more races. 1.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.[49] Non-Hispanic Whites were 18% of the population in 2010,[49] down from 60% in 1970.[22]

There were 267,841 households out of which 39.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.4% were married couples living together, 25.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 34.4% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.24. Same-sex couple households comprised 0.8% of all househoulds.[50]

The age of the population was spread out with 28.5% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 29.1% from 25 to 44, 19.1% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,414, and the median income for a family was $36,003. Males had a median income of $29,166 versus $23,328 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,116. About 19.6% of families and 23.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.7% of those under age 18 and 15.7% of those age 65 or over.[51]

Jackson ranks number 10 in the nation in concentration of African-American same-sex couples.[52]

In 2012, WAPT posted an article about Jackson's population being projected to grow after a 30-year decline. In a pattern typical of many older cities, Jackson's population had declined while its suburbs grew. Some people expect that pattern to change, noting people's renewed preferences for denser neighborhoods, city amenities, and other attractions. After 1980, the city population declined to the 2010 Census, with 173,514 citizens. "Whether it is flattening out, or what it could be, we don't know exactly," said Mark Monk of the Central Mississippi Planning and Development District. Monk also mentioned that it is just a one-year estimate, so it is not all accurate. Jackson was projected to grow at an estimated 1.1%. On the other hand, Madison was projected to grow 1.8% and Rankin had a projection of 1.5%. Of persons moving into the city, some 60 percent were from Rankin and Madison counties, and had chosen to return to the city. Thirty percent were female. Thirty-three percent were African Americans.[53]


Air travel

Commercial aircraft waiting to depart from Jackson-Evers International Airport, July 2005.
JATRAN bus in front of the Hotel King Edward and Standard Life Building, downtown Jackson.
Union Station, in downtown Jackson, now served only by Amtrak.

Jackson is served by Jackson-Evers International Airport, located at Allen C. Thompson Field, east of the city in Pearl in Rankin County. Its IATA code is JAN. The airport has non-stop service to 12 cities throughout the United States and is served by 4 scheduled carriers (American, Delta, United, and US Airways). Southwest ceased service in the summer of 2014.

On December 22, 2004, Jackson City Council members voted 6–0 to rename Jackson International Airport in honor of slain civil rights leader and field secretary for the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, Medgar Evers. This decision took effect on January 22, 2005.

Formerly Jackson was served by Hawkins Field Airport, located in northwest Jackson, with IATA code HKS, which is now used for private air traffic only.

Underway is the Airport Parkway project. The environmental impact study is complete and final plans are drawn and awaiting Mississippi Department of Transportation approval. Right-of-way acquisition is underway at an estimated cost of $19 million. The Airport Parkway will connect High Street in downtown Jackson to Mississippi Highway 475 in Flowood at Jackson-Evers International Airport. The Airport Parkway Commission consists of the Mayor of Pearl, the Mayor of Flowood, and the Mayor of Jackson, as the Airport Parkway will run through and have access from each of these three cities.

Ground transportation

Interstate highways

Interstate 20
Runs east-west from near El Paso, Texas to Florence, South Carolina. Jackson is roughly halfway between Dallas and Atlanta. The highway is six lanes from Interstate 220 to MS 468 in Pearl.

Interstate 55
Runs north-south from Chicago through Jackson towards Brookhaven, McComb, and the Louisiana state line to New Orleans. Jackson is roughly halfway between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee. The highway maintains eight to ten lanes in the northern part of the city, six lanes in the center and four lanes south of I-20.

Interstate 220
Connects Interstates 55 and 20 on the north and west sides of the city and is four lanes throughout its route.

U.S. highways

U.S. Highway 49
Runs north-south from the Arkansas state line at Lula via Clarksdale and Yazoo City, towards Hattiesburg and Gulfport. It bypasses the city via I-20 and I-220

U.S. Highway 51
Known in Jackson as State Street, it roughly parallels Interstate 55 from the I-20/I-55 western split to downtown. It multiplexes with I-55 from Pearl/Pascagoula St northward to County Line Road, where the two highways split.

U.S. Highway 80
Roughly parallels Interstate 20.

State highways

Mississippi Highway 18
Runs southwest towards Raymond and Port Gibson; southeast towards Bay Springs and Quitman.

Mississippi Highway 25
Some parts of this road are known as Lakeland Drive such as Jackson & Flowood, which runs northeast towards Carthage and Starkville.

Other roads

In addition, Jackson is served by the Natchez Trace Parkway, which runs from Natchez to Nashville, Tennessee.

Bus service

JATRAN (Jackson Transit System) operates hourly or half-hourly during daytime hours on weekdays, and mostly hourly on Saturdays. No evening or Sunday Service provided.


During the two waves of Great Migration in the 20th century, thousands of African Americans used trains to migrate to northern and midwestern cities, with many traveling north to Chicago from rural Mississippi. They settled in neighborhoods with people they had known at home.

The growth of competition from highways and airline traffic meant widespread restructuring in the railroad industry since the mid-20th century. Passenger service was decreased, as people increasingly chose to use cars and planes. For freight traffic, Jackson is served by the Canadian National Railway (CN) and Kansas City Southern Railway (KCS). CN has a medium-sized yard downtown which Mill Street parallels and KCS has a large classification yard in Richland.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Jackson. The Amtrak station is located at 300 West Capitol Street. Amtrak's southbound City of New Orleans provides service from Jackson to New Orleans and some points between. The northbound City of New Orleans provides service from Jackson to Memphis, Carbondale, Champaign-Urbana, Chicago and some points between. Efforts to establish service with another Amtrak train, the Crescent Star, an extension of the Crescent westward from Meridian, Mississippi to Dallas, failed in 2003.


Jackson is home to several major industries. These include electrical equipment and machinery, processed food, and primary and fabricated metal products. The surrounding area supports agricultural development of livestock, soybeans, cotton, and poultry. Major private companies based in Jackson include Ergon.

Publicly traded companies

The following companies are headquartered in Jackson:


Cultural organizations and institutions

  • Ballet Mississippi
  • Celtic Heritage Society of Mississippi
  • Crossroads Film Society
  • International Museum of Muslim Cultures
  • Jackson State University Botanical Garden
  • Jackson Zoo
  • Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum
  • Mississippi Arts Center
  • Mississippi Chorus
  • Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (opening 2017)[55]
  • Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which contains the state archives and records
  • Mississippi Heritage Trust
  • Mississippi Hispanic Association
  • Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet
  • Mississippi Museum of Art
  • Mississippi Opera
  • Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (MSO), formerly the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1944
  • Municipal Art Gallery
  • Mynelle Gardens
  • New Stage Theatre
  • Russell C. Davis Planetarium
  • Smith-Robertson Museum and Cultural Center
  • USA International Ballet Competition

Government and infrastructure

1874 engraving in Scribner's Monthly of the Old Capitol, the seat of Mississippi's legislature from 1839 to 1903.

Municipal government

In 1985, Jackson voters opted to replace the three-person mayor-commissioner system with a city council and mayor. City council members are elected from each of the city's seven wards. It is headed by a mayor elected citywide.

Jackson's mayor is Tony Yarber.

Jackson's City Council members are:

  • Ward 1: Quentin Whitwell
  • Ward 2: Melvin Priester, Jr.
  • Ward 3: LaRita Cooper-Stokes
  • Ward 4: De'Keither Stamps
  • Ward 5: Charles H. Tillman
  • Ward 6: Tyrone Hendrix
  • Ward 7: Margaret C. Barrett-Simon[56]

State government

The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) operates the Jackson Probation & Parole Office in Jackson.[57] The MDOC Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, in unincorporated Rankin County,[58] is located in proximity to Jackson.[59]

Federal representation

The United States Postal Service operates the Jackson Main Post Office[60] and several smaller post offices.


Jackson State University band "The Sonic Boom" performing at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium
Millsaps College is one of several institutions in and around Jackson established before 1900.

Jackson is home to the international headquarters of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for students enrolled in two-year colleges.

Colleges and universities

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Jackson Public School District operates 60 public schools. It is one of the largest school districts in the state with about 30,000 students. 38 elementary schools, 13 middle schools, 7 high schools & 2 special schools.[61] Jackson Public Schools is the only urban school district in the state.[62]

The district's high schools include:

Private schools

Private secondary schools include:

Private primary schools include:


Offices of The Clarion Ledger in 1912.




  • Jackson Advocate – weekly newspaper and oldest newspaper serving the state's African-American community
  • Jackson Free Press – alternative newsweekly featuring local news, investigative reporting, and arts and entertainment coverage
  • The Mississippi Link – weekly newspaper serving the state's African American community
  • Mississippi Business Journal – weekly newspaper, with focus on business and economic development
  • The Northside Sun – weekly newspaper, with focus on the northeastern portion of the Jackson Metropolitan area


  • The Mississippian Daily Gazette – also often referred to as The Jackson Mississippian because of its location, circulated during the 19th century, a major newspaper during the Civil War
  • The Standard – circulated during the 19th century, after the Civil War The Eastern Clarion moved to Jackson and merged with The Standard, soon changed name to The Clarion
  • State Ledger – circulated during the 19th century, in 1888 The Clarion merged with the State Ledger and became known as The Clarion-Ledger
  • The Jackson Daily News – originally known as The Jackson Evening Post in 1882, changed the name to The Jackson Daily News in 1907, purchased along with The Clarion-Ledger by Gannett in 1982


Poster advertising the Mississippi Corvette Classic in August 2012, one of the many events hosted by the recently finished Jackson Convention Center.
  • University Press of Mississippi, the state's only not-for-profit publishing house and collective publisher for Mississippi's eight state universities, producing works on local history, culture and society


FM radio

AM radio

Points of interest

Thalia Mara Hall in Jackson, Mississippi

Representation in media

Jackson is a city famous for its music, including Gospel, Blues, and R&B. It is home to the world-famous Malaco Records recording studio, and many notable musicians hail from Jackson.

  • Jackson, MS is mentioned in the 1973 song "Uneasy Rider" by Charlie Daniels.
  • Rap rocker Kid Rock released a song about the city, entitled "Jackson, Mississippi" (2003).
  • The Rolling Stones sat "in a bar tippling a jar in Jackson" in their song "Country Honk" on the 1969 album "Let It Bleed". "And on the street the summer sun it shines. There's many a bar-room queen I've had in Jackson, but I just can't seem to drink you off my mind."
  • Bob Dylan claimed he "got a woman in Jackson, I ain't gonna say her name" in his song "Outlaw Blues" on the 1965 album "Bringing It All Back Home". "She's a brown-skinned woman, but I love her just the same."
  • "Jackson" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Billy Edd Wheeler about newlyweds making the discovery that the "fire" has gone out of their relationship. They want to go to Jackson, where each looks forward to a new life. The song's reference to gambling points to the Mississippi setting, where illegal gambling flourished into the 1960s (and was legalized on riverboats in 1990.)

The best-known single releases of the song include the 1968 Grammy Award winner by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, and the hit Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood version from the same year. The song was performed by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (playing Johnny Cash and June Carter) in the 2005 film Walk the Line.


  • In 2002, the Subway Lounge (of the Summers Hotel on the Gold Coast) was featured as the subject of the film documentary entitled Last of the Mississippi Jukes.[63][64]
  • The popular film, The Help (2011), based on the bestselling novel by the same name by Kathryn Stockett, was filmed in Jackson. The city has a two-part, self-guided tour of areas featured in the film and the book.[65]
  • Get on Up, an upcoming movie in August 2014, had some scenes filmed in Jackson,[66] and Natchez.[67] This movie is based on the life of James Brown.[68]


In 1978, the USA International Ballet Competition was founded in Jackson by Thalia Mara, who is the namesake of Thalia Mara Hall, where the competition is held. The worldwide International Ballet Competition (IBC) was founded in 1964 in Varna, Bulgaria. Since 1979, when the event was first held in the United States in Jackson, it returns every four years in June. The competition expanded to rotating annual events among Jackson, Varna, Moscow and Tokyo. The rotation is currently among Jackson, Varna, Helsinki, and Shanghai. Jackson hosted the IBC in 1979, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006, and 2010; it will host it in 2014. The United States Congress recognized Jackson and the USA IBC in 1982 by passing a Joint Resolution designating Jackson as the official home of the USA IBC.[69]

Annual festivals and cultural events

  • CelticFest Mississippi (September)
  • Crossroads Film Festival (April)
  • Festival Latino ( September)
  • Jubilee!Jam (June)
  • Mal's St. Pattys Day Parade (third Saturday of March, before/after March 17; it is the fourth largest in the nation, attracting more than 50,000 people)
  • Mississippi State Fair (October)
  • (August)

Downtown Jackson attractions

Eudora Welty House in Jackson's Belhaven neighborhood.
  • Alamo Theater (The)
  • Boddie Mansion (The)
  • Bronze Statue of Medgar Evers
  • Chimneyville Crafts Gallery
  • City Hall
  • Dr. A. H. McCoy Federal Building
  • Jackson Zoo
  • Mississippi Arts Center
  • The Oaks House Museum/Boyd House
  • Old State Capitol
  • Russell C. Davis Planetarium/Ronald E. McNair Space Theater
  • Smith Park – by the Governor's Mansion
  • Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center
  • Sonny Guy Municipal Golf Course
  • Thalia Mara Hall
  • War Memorial Building

Museums and historic sites

  • Eudora Welty House Museum
  • Greenwood Cemetery
  • The International Museum of Muslim Cultures
  • The City of Jackson Fire Museum
  • King Edward Hotel
  • Manship House Museum
  • Medgar Evers Home Museum
  • Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum

Historic marker

Jackson received its first Mississippi Blues Trail designation in honor of the former "Subway Lounge" on Pearl Street. The ceremony was held there and the historic marker placed on the former site of the Summers Hotel, where the Subway Lounge was located in the basement level.[63] When the Summers Hotel opened in 1943, before desegregation, it was one of two hotels in the city available as lodging to blacks. In the 1960s, the hotel added a lounge in the basement that featured jazz. In the 1980s, when the lounge was revived, it catered to late night blues performers.


Lamar Life Building, downtown Jackson.

Downtown Jackson renaissance

Currently, Jackson is experiencing $1.6 billion in downtown development.[70] The public-private projects include new construction, renovation and adaptation of some existing buildings, including conversions into residential space; and improvements to public infrastructure and amenities.

Tallest buildings

Name Height Year
Regions Plaza (formerly AmSouth) 318 ft 1975
Jackson Marriott Downtown 255 ft 1975
Regions Bank Building (formerly AmSouth) 254 ft 1929
Walter Sillers State Office Building 250 ft 1972
Standard Life Building 250 ft 1929
Capital Towers Building 245 ft 1965
Trustmark National Bank Building 215 ft 1955
Lamar Life Building 191 ft 1924


Veterans Memorial Stadium is the largest stadium facility in Jackson. Its parking lot often is used by employees of the University of Mississippi Medical Center nearby.

Roller Derby

Sports arenas

Sports teams

Former professional sports teams

Notable people

See: List of people from Mississippi


  1. ^ Official records for Jackson have been kept at the international airport since 8 July 1963. For more information, see Threadex


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  5. ^ Moore, William H. (1965). Hinds County Geology and Mineral Resources. Bulletin 105 Mississippi Geological, Economic and Topographical Survey. Jackson: Tucker Printing House. p. 33
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External links

  • City of Jackson
  • Metro Jackson Chamber of Commerce
  • Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau
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