Jackson, Mississippi

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Jackson is the capital, as well as the largest city, in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2000 census, the city's population was 184,256 and the Greater Jackson metropolitan area, including its suburbs in Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Copiah, and Simpson counties, had a population of 510,000; however, both population figures have likely increased with the influx of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina. Jackson is one of the county seats of Hinds County; Raymond is the other county seat. The city has self-styled itself as "The Best of the New South," and "The Bold, New City." Frank Melton is the current mayor of Jackson.

Jackson, Mississippi
Flag of Jackson, Mississippi
Seal of Jackson, Mississippi
Nickname: "The Best of the New South" and "The Bold, New City"
Location of Jackson,  Mississippi
Location in Mississippi
County Hinds County
Mayor Frank Melton
 - Total
 - Water

276.7 km² (106.8 mi²)
5.0 km² (1.9 mi²) 1.80% 
 - City (2000)
 - Density
 - Metropolitan

Time zone Central (UTC –6)
WGS-84 (GPS)
 32.3004° N 90.1844° W
Official Website



The Old Capitol in Jackson served as the Capitol Building from 1839 until its replacement in 1903.
The Old Capitol in Jackson served as the Capitol Building from 1839 until its replacement in 1903.

The city, originally known as LeFleur's Bluff, was founded based on the need for a centrally located capital for the state of Mississippi and named for the iconic figure of General Andrew Jackson. In 1821, the Mississippi General Assembly, meeting in the then-capital, Natchez, had sent Thomas Hinds (for whom Hinds County is named), James Patton, and William Lattimore to look for a site. After surveying areas north and east of Jackson, they proceeded southwest along the Pearl River until they reached LeFleur's Bluff in Hinds County. 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. And so, a legislative act passed by the Assembly on 28 November 1821 authorized the location to become the permanent seat of the government of the state of Mississippi. Jackson was originally planned out 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. The state legislature first met in Jackson on December 23, 1822.

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. 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.

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 13 May 1863, Union forces won the first Battle of Jackson, forcing Confederate forces to flee northward towards Canton. Subsequently, on 15 May 1863 Union troops under the command of William Tecumseh Sherman burned and looted key facilities in city of 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 4 July 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 16 July 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. The constitutional convention of 1890, which produced Mississippi's Constitution of 1890, was also held there. 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, died there in 2001, and lived most of her life in the Belhaven section of the city. She wrote a memoir of her development as a writer, One Writer's Beginnings (1984). The book gives a charming picture of the city in the early 20th century. Today, the main Jackson public library is 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, and relates his experience in his memoir Black Boy (1945). He describes the harsh and largely terror-filled life most African-Americans experienced in the South (and, it should be added, in much of the United States) under segregation in the early twentieth century.

Jackson's economic growth was stimulated in the 1930s by the discovery of natural gas fields nearby.

On May 24, 1961 during the American civil rights movement, a large group of Freedom Riders was arrested in Jackson for disturbing the peace after they disembarked from their bus.

In Jackson, shortly after midnight on June 12, 1963, civil rights activist and leader of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP Medgar Evers was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist. In 1994, prosecutors finally convicted de la Beckwith of murder. A local highway (U.S. Route 49) now bears Medgar Evers' name.

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 1965, Millsaps College became the first private college in the South to admit African-American students.

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.

In 1997, Harvey Johnson, Jr. became the city's first African American mayor. Among several accomplishments, he proposed the creation of a Convention Center, in hopes of attracting business to the city. He was replaced by Frank Melton on July 4, 2005.

Capital City Convention Center proposal.
Capital City Convention Center proposal.


Beautiful Mynelle Gardens near West Jackson
Beautiful Mynelle Gardens near West Jackson

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.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 276.7 km² (106.8 mi²). 271.7 km² (104.9 mi²) of it is land and 5.0 km² (1.9 mi²) of it is water. The total area is 1.80 percent water.


Jackson remained a small town for much of the nineteenth century. The 1860 census counted only 1,881 residents, and by 1900 the population had only grown to approximately 8,000, though by 1944, Jackson's population had risen to some 70,000 inhabitants. Large-scale growth did not come until the 1970s, after the turbulence of the Civil Rights Movement. -- 23:15, 26 October 2005 (UTC) As of the census2 of 2000, there are 184,256 people, 67,841 households, and 44,503 families residing in the city. The population density is 678.2/km² (1,756.4/mi²). There are 75,678 housing units at an average density of 278.5/km² (721.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 27.79% White, 70.64% Black or African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.57% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.19% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. 0.79% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There are 67,841 households out of which 33.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.4% are married couples living together, 25.3% have a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% are non-families. 28.9% of all households are made up of individuals and 9.0% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.61 and the average family size is 3.24.

In the city the population is 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 are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 31 years. For every 100 females there are 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 81.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city is $30,414, and the median income for a family is $36,003. Males have a median income of $29,166 versus $23,328 for females. The per capita income for the city is $17,116. 23.5% of the population and 19.6% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 33.7% of those under the age of 18 and 15.7% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Political Structures

Frank Melton, mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.
Frank Melton, mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.

In 1985, Jackson voters opted to replace the three-man mayor-commissioner system with a city council. Today, Jackson is governed by a city council, with members representing the city's seven wards, and is headed by the mayor, Frank Melton, who was inducted into office in July 4, 2005.

Council Members

  • Ben Allen, Ward 1
  • Leslie Burl McLemore, Ward 2
  • Kenneth I. Stokes, Ward 3
  • William R. "Bo" Brown, Ward 4
  • Bettye K. Dagner-Cook, Ward 5
  • Marshand K. Crisler, Ward 6
  • Margaret C. Barrett-Simon, Ward 7

Jackson-Area Educational Institutions

Colleges and Universities

Public High Schools

(All these high schools compete interscholastically in the Mississippi High School Activities Association or MHSAA)

  • Bailey Magnet High School
  • Brandon High School (Brandon)
  • Callaway High School
  • Career Development Center
  • Clinton High School (Clinton)
  • Florence High School (Florence)
  • Forest Hill High School
  • Jim Hill High School
  • Lanier High School
  • Madison Central High School (Madison)
  • Murrah High School
  • Northwest Rankin High School (Flowood)
  • Pearl High School (Pearl)
  • Provine High School
  • Richland High School (Richland)
  • Ridgeland High School (Ridgeland)
  • Terry High School (Terry)
  • Wingfield High School

Private High Schools

(Some compete in the MHSAA; others in the Mississippi Private Schools Association, or MPSA)


Newspapers and Publishing


  • Channel 3--WLBT: NBC
  • Channel 8--WBXK: UATV
  • Channel 12--WJTV (NewsChannel 12): CBS
  • Channel 16--WAPT: ABC
  • Channel 27--WXMS (Jackson's UPN): lower-powered UPN affiliate; may go independent soon
  • Channel 29--WMPN: PBS
  • Channel 34--WRBJ (UPN 34): not yet on the air, but will be Jackson's full-power UPN affiliate
  • Channel 35--WUFX (Fox 35): Fox
  • Channel 40--WDBD (WB40): The WB

FM radio

  • 88.5 WJSU: jazz; National Public Radio
  • 89.1 WMBU: Moody Bible Radio
  • 90.1 WMPR: variety
  • 91.3 WMPN: classical music; National Public Radio
  • 92.5 WQST: American Family Radio
  • 93.1 WYAB (B93): oldies
  • 93.5 WHJT (Star 93.5): christian contemporary
  • 93.9 WRXW (Rock 93-9): active rock
  • 94.7 WWJK (94-7 Jack FM): adult hits
  • 95.5 WHLH (95.5 Hallelujah FM): gospel
  • 96.3 WUSJ (US 96.3): country music
  • 97.3 WFMN (Supertalk Mississippi): talk
  • 97.7 WRJH (Hot 97-7): hip-hop
  • 98.7 WJKK (Mix 98.7): adult contemporary
  • 99.7 WJMI (99 Jams): hip-hop
  • 100.5 WRTM-FM (Smooth 100-dot-5): urban AC
  • 100.9 WJXN: christian contemporary (K-Love)
  • 101.7 WYOY (Y101): top-40
  • 102.9 WMSI (Miss 103): country music
  • 103.7 WLEZ-LP (EZ 103.7): adult standards
  • 105.1 WQJQ (Q105): oldies
  • 105.9 WOAD-FM (Praise 105.9): gospel
  • 106.7 WSTZ (Z106.7): classic rock
  • 107.5 WKXI-FM (Kixie 107): urban AC

AM radio

  • 620 WJDX (The Score): Fox Sports Radio
  • 780 WIIN: Spanish-language
  • 810 WSJC: Family Talk Radio
  • 930 WSFZ (SuperSport 930): Sporting News Radio
  • 970 WZQK (Real Country 970): classic country
  • 1120 WTWZ: christian country-music, secular bluegrass
  • 1150 WONG: urban AC, gospel
  • 1180 WJNT (NewsTalk 1180): news & talk
  • 1240 WPBQ: ESPN Radio
  • 1300 WOAD-AM: gospel
  • 1370 WMGO: gospel
  • 1400 WKXI-AM (Blues 1400): blues
  • 1590 WZRX (Glory 1590): gospel

Cultural Organizations

Periodic Cultural Events

Sports teams

Sports Arenas

  • Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium -- Football
  • Mississippi Coliseum -- Basketball, Hockey, Track, Rodeo
  • Smith-Wills Stadium -- Home of the Jackson Senators. Baseball, Softball, Football, Soccer, Multipurpose (Has new synthetic surface)
  • Trustmark Park -- Home of the Mississippi Braves (Baseball)
  • River Hills Club -- Tennis
  • JSU Athletics and Assembly Center -- Basketball, Track
  • Tougaloo College Wellness Center -- Home of the Mississippi Hardhats

Former Professional Sports Teams

  • Hockey
    • Jackson Bandits -- Minor League Hockey Team -- East Coast Hockey League
  • Soccer
    • Jackson Calypso -- Women's Soccer
    • Jackson Rockers -- Men's Soccer
  • Football
    • Mississippi Pride -- Regional Football League
    • Jackson CFL Team -- Canadian Football League entry; moved from Las Vegas to Jackson, but never played

Famous Jacksonians


Air Travel

Jackson is served by Jackson-Evers International Airport, located at Allen C. Thompson Field, east of the city in Flowood in Rankin County. Its IATA code is JAN.

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.

Ground Transportation

Interstate Highways:

U.S. Highways:

State Highways:

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


Jackson is served by the Canadian National Railway (formerly the Illinois Central Railroad). Jackson is also served by Amtrak.


External links

Flag of Mississippi

State of Mississippi
Regions | Largest Cities | Smaller Cities | Governors | Lieutenant Governors | Legislature | State Parks | Music | History |

Capital: Jackson
Regions: The Delta - Golden Triangle - Gulf Coast - Jackson Metro - Memphis Metro - Natchez District - Pine Belt
Largest cities: Biloxi - Clinton - Columbus - Greenville - Gulfport - Hattiesburg - Jackson - Meridian - Pascagoula - Southaven - Tupelo - Vicksburg
Smaller cities: Brandon - Brookhaven - Canton - Clarksdale - Cleveland - Corinth - Gautier - Greenwood - Grenada - Horn Lake - Indianola - Laurel - Long Beach - Madison - McComb - Moss Point - Natchez - Ocean Springs - Olive Branch - Oxford - Pearl - Picayune - Ridgeland - Starkville - West Hattiesburg (Oak Grove) - West Point - Yazoo City

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