Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Jackson is the capital and largest city in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2000 census, its population is 184,256. The Jackson metropolitan area, including its suburbs and Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Copiah, and Simpson counties, has a population of 510,000. 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."
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 was 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.
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.
On May 13, 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 seige 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 seige of Vicksburg in early July, 1863. However, unknown to them, Vicksburg had already surrendered on July 4, 1863. General 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 University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. 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 seige 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 stimuated in the 1930s by the discovery of natural gas fields nearby.
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 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.
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.
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.
As of the census 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.
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, Harvey Johnson, Jr., who was elected in 1997 and reelected in 2001.
- 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
- Millsaps College (1890)
- Belhaven College (1883)
- Jackson State University (1877)
- Tougaloo College
- Reformed Theological Seminary
- University of Mississippi Medical Center, health sciences campus of the University of Mississippi (1955)
- Two campuses of Hinds Community College (1917)
Newspapers and Publishing Organizations
- The Jackson Free Press - Blogs and discussion at: http://www.jacksonfreepress.com
- The Clarion-Ledger daily newspaper, at http://www.clarionledger.com
- The Northside Sun weekly newspaper, at http://www.northsidesun.com
- The "Mississippi Link " weekly newspaper, at http://www.mississippilink.com
- The "Mississippi Business Journal " weekly newspaper, at http://www.msbusiness.com
- University Press of Mississippi
- The Jackson Mississippian (defunct newspaper)
- The Jackson Advocate
- Mississippi Symphony Orchestra (MSO), formerly the Jackson Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1944
- Ballet Mississippi
- Mississippi Museum of Art, including the Walter C. Davis Planetarium
- Mississippi Opera
- New Stage Theatre
- Mississippi Hispanic Association
- Mississippi Heritage Trust
- Mississippi Arts Center
- Smith-Robertson Museum and Cultural Center
- Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum
- Mynelle Gardens
- Jackson Zoo
Periodic Cultural Events
- Mississippi State Fair (held annually in October)
- Crossroads Film Festival (April)
- Jubilee!Jam (June)
- Mississippi Braves, AA Affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, scheduled to begin play in the Southern League in 2005.
- Jackson Senators, Independent, of the Central Baseball League / http://www.jacksonsenators.com
- Mississippi HardHats, World Basketball Association / http://www.oursportscentral.com/sports/?t_id=1392
- Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium -- Football
- Mississippi Coliseum -- Basketball, Hockey, Track, Rodeo
- Smith-Wills Stadium -- Baseball, Softball, Football, Soccer, Multipurpose (Has new synthetic surface)
- MS Braves Baseball Stadium -- Baseball
- River Hills Club -- Tennis
Former Professional Sports Teams
- Jackson Bandits -- Minor League Hockey Team -- East Coast Hockey League
- Jackson Calypso -- Women's Soccer
- Jackson Rockers -- Men's Soccer
- Mississippi Pride -- Regional Football League
- Jackson CFL Team -- Canadian Football League entry; moved from Las Vegas to Jackson, but never played
- Margaret Walker Alexander , writer
- Lerone Bennett, Jr. , Editor, Ebony Magazine
- Harry A. Cole, Sr., chemist, inventor of Pine-Sol
- Vic Fleming, writer
- Richard Ford, writer
- Othella Harrington , professional basketball player
- Beth Henley, playwright
- Faith Hill, country music entertainer
- Lindsey Hunter, professional basketball player
- Fern Kinney, rhythm & blues and disco music entertainer
- Dorothy Moore, gospel singer
- Walter Payton, professional football player, member of the NFL Hall of Fame
- LeAnn Rimes, country music entertainer
- James Robinson, professional basketball player
- Otis Spann, blues musician
- Eudora Welty, writer
- Cassandra Wilson, jazz singer and songwriter
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.
- State Highway 18
- State Highway 25 (some parts known as Lakeland Drive)
Jackson is served by the Illinois Central Railroad, with lines running between New Orleans, Louisiana and Memphis, Tennessee, as well as between Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Meridian, Mississippi. Jackson is served by Amtrak, but most train traffic through Jackson involves cargo only.
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