Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, officially the City of Jackson, is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County, along with Raymond, Mississippi. The city of Jackson also includes around 3,000 acres comprising Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport in Rankin County and a small portion of Madison County. The city's population was estimated to be 165,072 in 2017, a decline from 173,514 in 2010.[5] The city sits on the Pearl River and is located in the greater Jackson Prairie region of Mississippi.

Jackson, Mississippi


Crossroads of the South, Jack-town, The 601
The City with Soul
Located in Hinds County, Mississippi
Location within Mississippi
Location within the United States
Coordinates: 32°17′56″N 90°11′05″W
Country United States
State Mississippi
CountiesHinds, Madison, Rankin
Named forAndrew Jackson
  MayorChokwe Antar Lumumba (D)
  State capital city113.23 sq mi (293.27 km2)
  Land111.07 sq mi (287.66 km2)
  Water2.17 sq mi (5.61 km2)
279 ft (85 m)
  State capital city173,514
  RankUS: 149th
  Density1,503.28/sq mi (580.42/km2)
351,478 (US: 107th)
576,382 (US: 93rd)
Time zoneUTC−6 (CST)
  Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area codes601, 769
FIPS code28-36000
GNIS feature ID0711543[4]
For additional city data see City-Data

Founded in 1821 as the site for a new state capital, the city is named after General Andrew Jackson, who was honored for his role in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812 and would later serve as U.S. president. Following the nearby Battle of Vicksburg in 1863 during the American Civil War, Union forces under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman began the Siege of Jackson and the city was subsequently burned.[6]

During the 1920s, Jackson surpassed Meridian to become the most populous city in the state following a speculative natural gas boom in the region. The current slogan for the city is "The City with Soul".[7] It has had numerous musicians prominent in blues, gospel, folk, and jazz.

Jackson is the anchor for the Jackson, Mississippi Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is the state's largest metropolitan area with a 2016 population of 579,332, about one-fifth of Mississippi's population.[8]


Native Americans

The region that 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 colonization. The Choctaw name for the locale was Chisha Foka.[9] 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 United States acquired the land owned by the Choctaw Native Americans. After the treaty was ratified, American settlers moved into the area, encroaching on remaining Choctaw communal lands. One of the original Choctaw members, in 1849, described what he and his people experienced during this turbulent time when the Europeans had come to take their land. "We have had our habitations torn down and burned" as well as their "fences burned" while they themselves constantly faced personal abuse and have been "scoured, manacled and fettered".[10]

Under pressure from the U.S. government, the Choctaw Native Americans agreed to removal after 1830 from all of their lands east of the Mississippi River under the terms of several treaties.[11] Although most of the Choctaw moved to Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma, along with the other of the Five Civilized Tribes, a significant number chose to stay in their homeland, citing Article XIV of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. They gave up their tribal membership and became state and United States citizens at the time.[12] Today, most Choctaw in Mississippi have reorganized and are part of the federally recognized Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. They live in several majority-Indian communities located throughout the state. The largest community is located in Choctaw 100 miles (160 km) northeast of Jackson.

Founding and antebellum period (to 1860)

Located on the historic Natchez Trace trade route, created by Native Americans and used by European-American settlers, and on the Pearl River, the city's first European-American settler was 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. Soldiers returning to Tennessee from the military campaigns near New Orleans in 1815 built a public road that connected Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana to this district.[14] A United States 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 when it was chosen as the site for the new state's capital city. The Mississippi General Assembly decided in 1821 that the state needed a centrally located capital (the legislature was then located in 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 today's 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 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] On the same day, it passed a resolution to instruct the Washington delegation to press Congress for a donation of public lands on the river for the purpose of improved navigation to the Gulf of Mexico.[15] One Whig politician lamented the new capital as a "serious violation of principle" because it was not at the absolute center of the state.[16]

The capital was named for General Andrew Jackson, to honor his (January 1815) victory at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. He was later elected as the seventh president of the United States.

The city of Jackson was originally planned, in April 1822, by Peter Aaron Van Dorn in a "checkerboard" pattern advocated by Thomas Jefferson.[17] 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 Legislature passed the first state law in the U.S. to permit married women to own and administer their own property.

Jackson was connected by public road to Vicksburg and Clinton in 1826.[18] 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 it did not develop during the antebellum era as those cities did from major river commerce. Construction of railroad lines to the city sparked its growth in the decades following the American Civil War.

American Civil War and late 19th century (1861–1900)

Despite its small population, during the Civil War, Jackson became a strategic center of manufacturing for the Confederacy. In 1863, during the military 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. Breckinridge, 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.

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 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.[19] 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 each Southern state through 1908 that effectively disenfranchised 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.[20][21] 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. Their exclusion from politics was maintained into the late 1960s.

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.[22]

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 20th century (1901–1960)

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 20th 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.

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 in Northern ghettos such as Chicago under segregation in the early 20th century. Jackson had significant growth in the early 20th 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. The railroads were among the new work opportunities for African Americans, who moved into the city from rural areas for such industrial-type jobs.

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 politicians. 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 had begun searching for oil and natural gas in Jackson beginning in 1920. The initial drilling attempts 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, where he found natural gas. (Render 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. By 1930, there were 14 derricks in the Jackson skyline.

Mississippi Governor Theodore Bilbo stated:

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 was 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.[23]

Due to provisions in the federal Rivers and Harbors Act, on October 25, 1930, city leaders met with U.S. Army engineers to ask for federal help to alleviate Jackson flooding.[24] J.J. Halbert, city engineer, proposed a straightening and dredging of the Pearl River below Jackson.[25]

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. 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".[26] 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 Pearl 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 Delta towns such as Tunica Resorts, Greenville, and Vicksburg, as well as 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.[27] At the time, public facilities were segregated and Jim Crow was in effect. Efforts to desegregate Jackson facilities began when nine Tougaloo College students tried to read books in the "white only" public library and were arrested. Founded as a historically black college (HBCU) by the American Missionary Association after the Civil War, Tougaloo College helped organize both black and white students of the region to work together for civil rights. It created partnerships with the 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.[28]

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, D.C. and sat together to demonstrate against segregation on public transportation, as the Constitution provides for unrestricted public transportation.[29] Although the Freedom Riders had intended New Orleans 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,[30] sit-ins and protest marches,[31] 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 assassinated by Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist associated with the White Citizens' Council. Thousands marched in Evers' funeral procession to protest the killing.[32] Two trials at the time both resulted in hung juries. 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 in a state trial of De La Beckwith based on new evidence.

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 in 1963, 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 Democratic Party convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey, that year.

Segregation and the disfranchisement of African Americans gradually ended after the Civil Rights Movement gained Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. In June 1966, Jackson was 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 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.[33] 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 decades of the Great Migration, when more than one million blacks left the rural South, since the 1930s the state has been majority white in total population. African Americans are a majority in the city of Jackson, although the metropolitan area is majority white. African Americans are also a majority in several cities and counties of the Mississippi Delta, which are included in the 2nd congressional district.[34] The other three congressional districts are majority white.

Mid-1960s to present

The first successful cadaveric lung 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.

In 1966 it was estimated that recurring flood damage at Jackson from the Pearl River averaged nearly a million dollars per year. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spent $6.8 million on levees and a new channel in 1966 prior to the project completion with the aim to prevent a flood equal to the December 1961 event plus an additional foot.[35]

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, Jackson police killed two students and wounded twelve at 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.[36] 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.

The influx of illegal drugs nationally affected Jackson as smugglers used the highways, seaports, and airports of the Gulf region.[37][38] The 1980s in Jackson were dominated by Mayor Dale Danks Jr. until he was unseated by lawyer and legislator J. Kane Ditto, who criticized the deficit funding and the politicized police department of the city.[39] Federal investigations of drug trafficking at Jackson's Hawkins Field airport were a part of the Kerry Report, the 1986 U.S. Senate investigation of public corruption and foreign relations.[40]

As Jackson has become the medical and legal center of the state, it has attracted Jewish professionals in both fields. Since the late 20th century, it has developed the largest Jewish community in the state.[41]

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.[42]

Mayor Johnson was replaced by Frank Melton on July 4, 2005. Melton generated controversy through his unconventional behavior, which included acting as a law enforcement officer. A dramatic spike in crime ensued during his term, despite Melton's efforts to reduce crime. The lack of jobs contributed to crime.[43] In 2006 a young African-American businessman, Starsky Darnell Redd, was convicted of money laundering in federal court along with his mother, other associates, and Billy Tucker, the former airport security chief.[44] Redd had been convicted in 2002 for drug trafficking $8,000,000 worth of narcotics into Jackson.

In 2007 Hinds County sheriff Malcolm McMillin was appointed as the new police chief in Jackson, setting a historic precedent. 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 was elected and assumed the position.[45]

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 "hate crime", and the FBI investigated it as a civil rights violation.[46][47][48]

On March 18, 2013, a severe hailstorm hit the Jackson metro area. The hail caused major damage to roofs, vehicles, and building siding. Hail ranged in size from golfball to softball. There were more than 40,000 hailstorm claims of homeowner and automobile damage.[49][50]

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.[51]

On July 1, 2013, Chokwe Lumumba was sworn into office as mayor of the city. After eight months in office, Lumumba died on February 25, 2014. Lumumba was a popular yet controversial figure due to his prior membership in the Republic of New Afrika, 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.[52] In 2017, however, Chokwe Antar Lumumba ran for mayor again, and won. Following his victory, on June 26 he was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!,[53] at which time he declared a commitment to make Jackson the "Most Radical City on the Planet".


Jackson is located primarily in northeastern Hinds County, with small portions in Madison and Rankin counties. The Pearl River forms most of the eastern border of the city. A small portion of the city containing Tougaloo College lies in Madison County, bounded on the west by Interstate 220 and on the east by U.S. Route 51 and Interstate 55. An unconnected section of the city surrounds Jackson–Evers International Airport in Rankin County. In the 2010 census, only 622 of the city's residents lived in Madison County,[54] and only 1 lived within the city limits in Rankin County.[55] The city is bordered to the north by Ridgeland in Madison County, to the northeast by Ross Barnett Reservoir on the Pearl River, to the east by Flowood and Richland in Rankin County, to the south by Byram in Hinds County, and to the west by Clinton in Hinds County.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 113.2 square miles (293.3 km2), of which 111.0 square miles (287.6 km2) are land and 2.2 square miles (5.7 km2), or 1.94% of the total, are water.[56]

Major highways


Jackson sits atop the extinct Jackson Volcano, located 2,900 feet (880 m) underground. It is the only capital city in the United States to have this feature. The buried peak of the volcano is located directly below the Mississippi Coliseum.[57] The municipality is drained on the west by tributaries of the Big Black River and on the east by the Pearl River, which is 150 feet (46 m) higher than the Big Black near Canton. The artesian ground water flow is not as extensive in Jackson for this reason. The first large-scale well was drilled in the city in 1896, and the city water supply has relied on surface water resources.[58]


Jackson is located in the humid subtropical climate zone (Köppen Cfa). 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.[59] The mean annual precipitation is about 54 inches (1,400 mm), see climate table.[60] 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,[61] and the record high is 107 °F (42 °C), last recorded August 30, 2000.[61]


Historical population
Est. 2018164,422[3]−5.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[63]
2013 Estimate[64]

Jackson remained a small town for much of the 19th century. Before the 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 was still less than 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 ranked second to Meridian in Mississippi. 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,[65] 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.[66]

As of the census[67] of 2010, there were 173,514 people, and 62,400 households. The population density was 1,562.5 inhabitants per square mile (603.3/km2). 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.[68] Non-Hispanic Whites were 18% of the population in 2010,[68] down from 60% in 1970.[27]

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 households.[69]

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.[70]


Air travel

Jackson is served by Jackson–Evers International Airport, located at Allen C. Thompson Field, east of Jackson and north of Pearl in Rankin County. Its IATA code is JAN. The airport has non-stop service to eight cities (Atlanta, Chicago, Washington D.C., Dallas, Houston, Orlando, Denver, and Charlotte) throughout the United States and is served by five scheduled carriers (American, Delta, United, Frontier, and ViaAir). Jackson became one of the only cities to ever lose Southwest Airlines service when the carrier ceased service in the summer of 2014.

On December 22, 2004, the Jackson City Council 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.


Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Jackson. The Amtrak station is located at 300 West Capitol Street. The southbound City of New Orleans provides service from Jackson to New Orleans and some points between; it leaves at 11:20 a.m. and arrives in New Orleans about 3:30 p.m. The northbound City of New Orleans provides service from Jackson to Memphis, Carbondale, Champaign-Urbana, Chicago, and some points between. It leaves at 5:40 p.m., arrives in Memphis at 10 p.m., and in Chicago at 9 a.m. the new day. Efforts to establish service with another long-distance train, the proposed Crescent Star, an extension of the Crescent westward from Meridian, Mississippi, to Dallas, failed in 2003, because Congress refused any growth in Amtrak routes. This would have represented the first instance of passenger trains from Meridian, Mississippi to Jackson, to Shreveport, Louisiana since the 1967 cancellation of the Illinois Central Railroad's Southwestern Limited.

During the two waves of Great Migration in the 20th century, thousands of African Americans used trains to move to Northern and Midwestern cities, with many traveling 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.

In 2015, 11 percent of city of Jackson households lacked a car, which decreased to 7.6 percent in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Jackson averaged 1.68 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8.[71]


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.

Publicly traded companies

The following companies are headquartered in Jackson:

  • Cal-Maine Foods, Inc. (NASDAQ:CALM)
  • EastGroup Properties Inc. (NYSE:EGP)
  • Trustmark Corporation (NASDAQ:TRMK)

Private corporations

Cooperative enterprises

The city is home to Cooperation Jackson, which is an economic development vehicle for worker-owned cooperative business. The organization has led to the creation of several businesses including lawn care provider The Green Team, organic farm Freedom Farms, print shop The Center for Community Production, and The Balagoon Center, which is a cooperative business incubator. [72]


In 1993 Jackson had the nation's 12th highest homicide rate among cities with more than 100,000 residents, according to the FBI. The 87 slayings in the city in 1993 gave Jackson a homicide rate of 41.9 per 100,000 residents, the FBI reported, and set a new record for the most violent deaths in one year. 1994 had higher homicides, with 91, and the record would be broken again in 1995 with a total of 92.[73][74]


Cultural organizations and institutions

Government and infrastructure

Municipal government

In 1985, Jackson voters opted to replace the three-person mayor-commissioner system with a city council and mayor. This electoral system enables wider representation of residents on the city council. City council members are elected from each of the city's seven wards, considered single-member districts. The mayor is elected at-large citywide.

Jackson's mayor is Chokwe Antar Lumumba[94] (D). (D) on July 3, 2017.[95]

Jackson's City Council members are:

  • Ward 1: Ashby Foote
  • Ward 2: Melvin Priester, Jr.
  • Ward 3: Kenneth Stokes
  • Ward 4: De'Keither Stamps
  • Ward 5: Charles H. Tillman
  • Ward 6: Aaron Banks
  • Ward 7: Virgi Lindsay[96]

County government

Jackson is one of two county seats of Hinds County, with the city of Raymond being the other.

State government

The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) operates the Jackson Probation & Parole Office in Jackson.[97] The MDOC Central Mississippi Correctional Facility, in unincorporated Rankin County,[98] is located in proximity to Jackson.[99]

Federal representation

The larger portion of Jackson is part of Mississippi's 2nd congressional district. U.S. Representative Bennie Gordon Thompson, a Democrat, has served since 1993. Until 2011 he was Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and has been the ranking member since 2011 then.[1]

The United States Postal Service operates the Jackson Main Post Office[100] and several smaller post offices.

Infrastructure issues

On March 27, 2015, Jackson Mayor Tony Yarber issued a state of emergency for transportation (potholes) and water infrastructure (breaks in water mains).[101][102] The quality of Jackson's water infrastructure system decreased after the severe winter weather of 2014–2015. Jackson's office estimated the cost to fix the roads and water pipes at $750 million to $1 billion.[102]

After issuing the state of emergency, the City of Jackson filed a letter of intent to Department of Health to borrow $2.5 million to repair broken water pipes. The Jackson City Council must approve the mayor's proposal.[101] Additionally, Mayor Yarber asked for help from both FEMA and the state Governor's office.[103]

Calling for a state of emergency increases the likelihood that the U.S. Department of Transportation would give the city money from a "quick release" funding account.[102]


Jackson is home to the most collegiate institutions in Mississippi. Jackson State University is the largest collegiate institution in Jackson, fourth largest in Mississippi, and the only doctoral-granting research institution based in the region.[104][105]

Colleges and universities

Primary and secondary schools

Public schools

Jackson Public School District (JPS) operates 60 public schools. It is one of the largest school districts in the state with about 30,000 students in thirty-eight elementary schools, thirteen middle schools, seven high schools, and two special schools.[106] Jackson Public Schools is the only urban school district in the state.[107]

As of 2017 the public schools have few children who are middle or upper class, as 99% of the students in JPS qualify for free or reduced school lunches. In 2017 Susan Womack, president of the Parents for Public Schools Jackson (PPSJ) from 2000 to 2012, stated that middle to upper class families in Jackson tended to leave public school after elementary school, with parents who remained in Jackson enrolling their children in private school, and those who wished to continue enrolling their children in public schools moving to Madison County. The PPSJ decided circa the mid-2000s that it was not feasible to encourage middle and upper class parents to put their children in JPS schools.[108]

The district's high schools include:

Private schools

Private secondary schools include:

Some schools are in nearby municipalities:

Private primary schools include:





  • 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


  • 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

Museums and historic sites

Historic marker

Jackson received its first Mississippi Blues Trail designation in honor of the former "Subway Lounge" on Pearl Street. A ceremony was held to place a historic marker at the former site of the Summers Hotel, where the Subway Lounge was located in the basement level.[123] When the Summers Hotel opened in 1943, long before desegregation, it was one of two hotels in the city available as lodging to blacks. In the 1960s, the hotel added a lounge that featured jazz. In the 1980s, when the lounge was revived, it catered to late night blues performers.


  • Battlefield Park
  • Grove Park
  • LeFleur's Bluff State Park
  • Parham Bridges Park
  • Sheppard Brothers Park
  • Smith Park
  • Sykes Park
  • Presidential Hills Park


  • Pearl River

Downtown Jackson renaissance

Currently, Jackson is experiencing $1.6 billion in downtown development.[124] 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 ft1975
Jackson Marriott Downtown255 ft1975
Regions Bank Building (formerly AmSouth)254 ft1929
Walter Sillers State Office Building250 ft1972
Standard Life Building250 ft1929
Capital Towers Building245 ft1965
Trustmark National Bank Building215 ft1955
Lamar Life Building191 ft1924


In 2011, the United States Navy named the USS Jackson (LCS-6) in honor of the city.[125]


Roller derby

Sports arenas

Sports teams

Former professional sports teams


  • 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.[123][128]
  • 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.[129]
  • Get on Up, a movie released in August 2014, had some scenes filmed in Jackson,[130] and nearby Natchez.[131] This movie is based on the life of James Brown.[132]
  • The movie Speech & Debate, an adaptation of the stage play of the same name of Broadway theatre,[133] was filmed entirely in Jackson.[134]

Notable people

See: List of people from Mississippi


  1. Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1981 to 2010.
  2. Official records for Jackson have been kept at the international airport since 8 July 1963. For more information, see Threadex


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