Oxford is a city in Calhoun and Talladega counties in the U.S. state of Alabama. The population was 14,592 at the 2000 census. Oxford is one of two principal cities of and included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Oxford is located at (33.597105, -85.838881).
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.3 square miles (47.4 km²), of which, 18.2 square miles (47.2 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.2 km²) of it (0.38%) is water.
Oxford lies among the foothills at the southern end of the Blue Ridge mountains. Nearby Mount Cheaha is Alabama's highest point and offers expansive views of the surrounding wilderness and the city below. Much of the city's southern border is shared with the Talladega National Forest.
Major bodies of water include Oxford Lake, Lake Hillabee, and Choccolocco Creek, which bisects the city.
Oxford, which was originally known as Lickskillet, was the first city in Calhoun County to be incorporated. It was founded in the early 1850s.
Anniston and Oxford citizens drew scorn from the nation during the American civil rights movement. Freedom Riders arriving in Anniston on May 14, 1961 were confronted by an angry mob of Anniston and Oxford citizens. Deciding not to make a stop, they attempted to leave, but the bus's tires had been slashed, and not far from town it had to stop. Someone threw a fire-bomb and the protesters inside were beaten by an angry mob as they fled the burning bus. Such acts of violence prompted President John F. Kennedy to provide federal protection to ensure the riders safety on their journey to Jackson, Mississippi.
Since 1970 Oxford has annexed large amounts of land to the south, including the communities of Coldwater and Bynum. In 1970 it was all in Calhoun County but today it includes areas in Talladega County.
Oxford features a Mayor-Council form of government. Mayor Leon Smith is currently serving his sixth term, having been elected to the post in 1984. The five-member Council includes T. Boice Turner (Place 1), June Land Reaves (Place 2), Mike Henderson (Place 3), Greg Thrower (Place 4), and Steven Waits (Place 5). Henderson serves as the Council President. The mayor and council members are elected to four-year terms (coinciding with presidential election years).
The school system is generally well-regarded. Oxford High School boasts an enrollment exceeding 1,000 students. In an autumn tradition, the Yellow Jacket football team spends Friday nights competing in front of large crowds at Lamar Field. Past attendance at the games has exceeded 10,000, and the crowd can be heard for miles around.
As of the census of 2000, there were 14,592 people, 5,734 households, and 4,231 families residing in the city. The population density was 800.1 people per square mile (308.9/km²). There were 6,280 housing units at an average density of 340.5/sq mi (131.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.46% White, 9.88% Black or African American, 0.38% Native American, 0.62% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.78% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. 1.93% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 5,734 households out of which 34.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 59.6% are married couples living together, 11.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.2% were non-families. 23.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.97.
In the city the population was spread out with 24.8% under the age of 18, 8.1% from 18 to 24, 29.5% from 25 to 44, 23.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $40,397, and the median income for a family was $47,891. Males had a median income of $34,838 versus $21,897 for females. The per capita income for the city was $28,923. About 6.8% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.3% of those under age 18 and 10.1% of those age 65 or over.