Jackson is the capital and the most populous city of the U.S. State of Mississippi. It is one of two seats in Hinds County, with the town of Raymond being the other. The 2000 census recorded Jackson's population at 184,256, but according to July 1, 2006 estimates, the city's population was 176,614 and its five-county metropolitan area had a population of 529,456. The Jackson-Yazoo City combined statistical area, consisting of the Jackson metropolitan area and Yazoo City micropolitan area, has a population of 557,385, making it the 88th-largest metropolitan area in the United States.
The current slogan for the city is Jackson, Mississippi: City with Soul.
During the late 18th century and early 19th century, the area was traversed by the Natchez Trace, on which a trading post stood before a treaty with the Choctaw, the Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, formally opened the area for non-native American settlers.
Jackson was originally planned, in April 1822, by Peter Van Dorn in a "checkerboard" pattern advocated by Thomas Jefferson, in which city blocks alternated with parks and other open spaces, giving the appearance of a checkerboard. This plan has not lasted to the present day.
In 1839, Jackson was the site of the passage of the first state law that permitted married women to own and administer their own property.
Jackson was first linked with other cities by rail 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 river commerce. Instead, railroads would later spark growth of the city in the decades after the American Civil War.
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 once again and engaged the Vicksburg defenders at the Battle of Champion Hill in nearby Edwards. The siege of Vicksburg began soon after the Union 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 there. The Confederate forces in Jackson built defensive fortifications encircling the city while preparing to march west to Vicksburg.
Confederate forces marched out of Jackson to break the siege of Vicksburg in early July 1863. However, 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 back into Jackson, thus beginning 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 still remains intact on the grounds of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Another Federal position is still intact on the campus of Millsaps College. One of the Confederate Generals defending Jackson was former United States Vice President John C. Breckenridge. 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, and the city earned the nickname "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.
Today there are few antebellum structures left standing in Jackson. One surviving structure is the Governor's Mansion, built in 1842, which served as Sherman's headquarters. Another is the Old Capitol building, which served as the home of the Mississippi state legislature from 1839 to 1903. There the Mississippi legislature passed the ordinance of secession from the Union on January 9, 1861, becoming the second state to secede from the United States.
In 1875 the Red Shirts were formed, one of a second wave of insurgent paramilitary organizations that essentially operated as "the military arm of the Democratic Party" to take back political power from the Republicans and to drive blacks from the polls. 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 African Americans and 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. As 20th century Supreme Court decisions began to find such provisions unconstitutional, Mississippi and other southern states rapidly devised new methods to continue disfranchisement of most blacks.
The so-called New Capitol replaced the older structure upon its completion in 1903, and today the Old Capitol is a historical museum. A third important surviving antebellum structure is the Jackson City Hall, built in 1846 for less than $8,000. 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.
Pulitzer Prize-winning 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 charming picture of the city in the early 20th century. The main Jackson Public Library was named in her honor.
Highly acclaimed African-American author Richard Wright, a native of Roxie, Mississippi, 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 poor African-Americans experienced in the South and northern ghettos under segregation in the early twentieth century.
Jackson's economic growth was stimulated in the 1930s by the discovery of natural gas fields nearby.
During World War II, Hawkins Field in northwest Jackson became 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.
Efforts to desegregate Jackson facilities began before the Freedom Rides when nine Tougaloo students were arrested for attempting to read books in the "white only" library. Founded as a historically black college (HBCU) by the American Missionary Movement after the Civil War, Tougaloo College brought both black and white students together to work for civil rights. It also created partnerships with neighboring mostly white Millsaps College to work with student activists. It has been recognized as a site on the Civil Rights Trail by the National Park Service. After the Freedom Rides, students and activists of the Freedom Movement launched a series of merchant boycotts, sit-ins and protest marches, from 1961 to 1963.
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 assassination. In 1994, prosecutors Ed Peters and Bobby DeLaughter finally obtained a murder conviction of De La Beckwith. A portion of U.S. Highway 49, all of Delta Drive and Jackson-Evers International Airport was named in honor of Medgar Evers. During 1963 and 1964, organizers did voter education and voter registration. In a pilot project, they 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 party, and sent an alternate slate of candidates to the national party convention.
Mississippi continued segregation and the disfranchisement of most African Americans until after the Civil Rights Movement gained passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Acts of 1965. In June 1966, Jackson was also the terminus of the James Meredith March, organized by 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 implementation of civil rights legislation. It was accompanied by a new drive to register African-Americans to vote in Mississippi. In this latter aim, 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.
Gradually the old barriers came down. Since then, both whites and African Americans in the state have had a high rate of voter registration and turnout.
Since 1968, Jackson has been the home of Malaco Records, one of the leading record companies for gospel and soul music in the United States. In January 1973, Paul Simon recorded the song "Learn How To Fall", found on the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon, in Jackson at the Malaco Recording Studios.
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 overturning and burning some cars. These killings occurred ten 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. Newsweek cited the Jackson State killings in its issue of 18 May when it suggested that U.S. President Richard Nixon faced a new home front.
In 1997, Harvey Johnson, Jr. became the city's first African-American mayor. During his term, he proposed the creation of a convention center, in hopes of attracting business to the city. This effort was not successful during his tenure but his idea did became a reality later when the voters of Jackson overwhelmingly passed a referendum for a tax to build the Convention Center. As a result of this vote, many new development projects are underway in Downtown Jackson.
Mayor Johnson was replaced by Frank Melton on July 4, 2005. Melton has subsequently generated controversy through his unconventional behavior, which has included acting as a law enforcement officer. A dramatic spike in crime has also ensued, despite Melton's efforts to reduce crime. The lack of jobs has contributed to crime.
2007 saw a historic first for Mississippi as Hinds County sheriff Malcolm McMillin was appointed as the new police chief in Jackson. McMillin is now both the county sheriff and city police chief.
The 14th annual "City Crime Rankings: Crime in Metropolitan America" ranks Jackson as the 23rd most dangerous city in America.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 106.8 square miles (276.7 km²), of which, 104.9 square miles (271.7 km²) of it is land and 1.9 square miles (5.0 km²) of it is water. The total area is 1.80 percent water.
Jackson sits atop the Jackson Volcano and is the only capital city or major population center in the United States to have this feature. The peak of the volcano is located 2900 feet directly below the Mississippi Coliseum.
Jackson possesses a humid subtropical climate, with very hot, humid summers and mild winters. Rain is evenly spread throughout the year, and snow can fall in wintertime, although heavy snowfall is relatively rare. Much of Jackson's rainfall occurs during thunderstorms. Thunder is heard on roughly 70 days per annum. Jackson lies in a region prone to severe thunderstorms which can produce large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. Among one of 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.
|Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures|
|Rec High °F (°C)||83 (28.3)||85 (29.4)||89 (31.6)||94 (34.4)||99 (37.2)||105 (40.5)||106 (41.1)||107 (41.6)||104 (40)||95 (35)||88 (31.1)||84 (28.8)|
|Norm High °F (°C)||55.1 (12.8)||60.3 (15.7)||68.1 (20.05)||75 (23.8)||82.1 (27.8)||88.9 (31.6)||91.4 (33)||91.4 (33)||86.4 (30.2)||76.8 (24.8)||66.3 (19.05)||57.9 (14.4)|
|Norm Low °F (°C)||35 (1.6)||38.2 (3.4)||45.4 (7.4)||51.7 (10.9)||61 (16.1)||68.1 (20.05)||71.4 (21.8)||70.3 (21.3)||64.6 (18.1)||52 (11.1)||43.4 (6.3)||37.3 (2.9)|
|Rec Low °F (°C)||2 (-16.6)||10 (-12.2)||15 (-9.4)||27 (-2.7)||38 (3.3)||47 (8.3)||51 (10.5)||54 (12.2)||35 (1.6)||26 (-3.3)||17 (-8.3)||4 (-15.5)|
|Precip in. (mm)||5.67 (144)||4.5 (114.3)||5.74 (145.8)||5.98 (151.9)||4.86 (123.4)||3.82 (97)||4.69 (119.1)||3.66 (93)||3.23 (82)||3.42 (86.9)||5.04 (128)||5.34 (135.6)|
| City of Jackson |
Population by year
|Year||Population|| ||U.S. Rank|
Jackson remained a small town for much of the 19th century. Before the American Civil War, Jackson's population remained tiny, particularly in contrast to Mississippi's cities located 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 only grown to approximately 8,000. It was during this period, roughly between 1890 and 1930, that Meridian became Mississippi's largest city, though by 1944, Jackson's population had risen to some 70,000 inhabitants. Since that time, it has continuously been the largest city in the state. Large-scale growth, however, did not come until the 1970s, after the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement. The 1980 census counted over 200,000 residents in the city for the first time. Since then, Jackson has steadily seen a decline in its population, while its suburbs have evidenced a boom.
As of the census of 2000, there were 184,256 people, 67,841 households, and 44,488 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,756.4 people per square mile (678.2/km²). There were 75,678 housing units at average density of 278.5/km² (721.4/sq mi). The racial makeup of the city was 70.6% Black or African American, 27.8% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.2% from other races, and 0.7% from two or more races. 0.8% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 67,841 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, 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.
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.
Jackson ranks number 10 in the nation in concentration of African-American same-sex couples.
In 2006, the Center for Immigrant Studies found Mississippi had the highest immigrant percentage growth rate of all states. The Jackson metro area is one of the South's emerging destinations for immigrants, many of whom are Latino.
On 22 December 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 22 January 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.
Runs east-west from near El Paso, Texas to Florence, South Carolina. Jackson is roughly halfway between Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. The highway is six lanes from Interstate 220 to MS 468 in Pearl.
Connects Interstates 55 and 20 on the north and west sides of the city and is four lanes throughout its route.
U.S. Highway 51
Known in Jackson as State Street, 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.
In 1985, Jackson voters opted to replace the three-man mayor-commissioner system with a city council. Jackson's city council members represent the city's seven wards, and the body is headed by the mayor.
Jackson's current mayor is Frank Melton, after defeating two-time incumbent Harvey Johnson, Jr. in a landslide election. He is currently serving his first 4-year term as mayor, which began on July 4, 2005, and will end on July 4, 2009.
"Jackson" is a song written by Jerry Leiber and Billy Edd Wheeler about a married couple who find that the "fire" has gone out of their relationship. The song relates the desire of the husband and wife to travel to Jackson, Mississippi, where they each look forward to a new life free of the unhappy relationship. Famous covers of the song include the 1968 Grammy Award winner by Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash. The song was performed by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon (playing Johnny Cash and June Carter) in the 2005 film Walk the Line.
Jackson is home to the USA International Ballet Competition. Founded in 1978 by Thalia Mara, the first USA International Ballet Competition took place in 1979 and joined the ranks of Varna, Bulgaria (1964); Mocsow, Russia (1969); and Tokyo, Japan (1976). The International Ballet Competition (IBC) originated in Varna, Bulgaria in 1964. The competition eventually expanded to rotating annual events in Varna, Moscow and Tokyo. In 1979 the event first came to the United States in Jackson, Mississippi, where it now returns every four years. The rotation is currently among Jackson, Varna, Helsinki, Finland, and Shanghai, China. These first competitions were given sanction by the International Dance Committee of UNESCO’s International Theater Institute. Today, international ballet competitions flourish worldwide, and the USA IBC in Jackson remains one of the oldest and most respected competitions in the world. In 1982, the United States Congress passed a Joint Resolution designating Jackson as the official home of the USA International Ballet Competition. Jackson held subsequent competitions in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. The next competition is in 2010. The competitions are held at Thalia Mara Hall.
|Regions Plaza (formerly AmSouth)||97 m||1975|
|Jackson Marriott Downtown||78 m||1975|
|Regions Bank Building (formerly AmSouth)||77 m||1929|
|Standard Life Building||76 m||1929|
|Trustmark National Bank Building||66 m||1955|
|Lamar Life Building||58 m||1924|
(see: List of people from Mississippi for a more in-depth list)