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Prichard is a city located in Mobile County, Alabama. Prichard borders the northside of Mobile, as well as the Mobile suburbs of Chickasaw, Alabama, Saraland, and the unincorporated sections of Eight Mile, Alabama . As of the 2000 census, the population of the city is 28,633. Prichard is an impoverished city which has been in a state of decline since the mid-60s, it has been riddled with financial problems, Alabama's highest continous per capita crime rate, and a population which has been fleeing for the last 40 years. However, as things look brighter for the Mobile area, they look brighter for Prichard as well
Prichard began as a settlement in the 1830's bordering the Telegraph Road (known now as U.S Highway 43 ) It remained largely unsettled until the Clotilde landed in Mobile Bay prior to the Civil War. Africatown evolved into a greater part of the Plateau/Magazine area which developed along Telegraph Road, and eventually, Plateau and Magazine had their territory split between Mobile and Prichard. After 1900, Prichard began a slow and steady development. In 1925, Prichard was incorporated as a city In WWII Prichard became a company town, as many Mobile shipbuilding companies built homes for their workers in Prichard. During the 1950's and 60's, Prichard annexed historic Whistler as well as parts of Eight Mile, Alabama and Kushla . The 40's and 50's saw phenomenal growth in the Mobile area, and Mobile, Prichard and Chickasaw all recorded their highest city proper populations in 1960. Following the Civil Rights Movement however, Prichard's rigid system of segregation collapsed, and many blacks who had previously lived in the Bullshead/Neely/Trinity Gardens area of Prichard began moving into East Prichard (downtown Prichard) causing a dramatic white flight to occur. In 1960, Prichard recorded a population of 47,371, making it Alabama's largest suburb. In 1970, the population had fell to 41,000 and by 1990 it had fell to approximately 34,000. In 1970, Vigor High School on Wilson Avenue, which had been Prichard's white high school during segregation was 70% white, by 1980, it was 80% black, even considering the fact that most of Prichard's remaining white areas were in its district. In 1994, construction of I-165 was completed, and it has produced some economic benefits in East Prichard. The 1980's downtown vacancy rate was near 80%, as of 2000, it is closer to 30%. In 2004, the Prichard Housing Authority began demolition of the Bessemer Avenue Housing Project in Bullshead.
Recent Political History
In 1972, while still a majority white city, Prichard elected it's first black Mayor, Algernon Johnson (A.J) Cooper, who would serve 2 terms as Prichard's mayor, and would eventually serve in the administration of President Bill Clinton. In 1968, Cooper had founded the Black American Law Students Association at New York University. Mayor Cooper was popular with both blacks and whites, however, he engaged in many battles with the Prichard City Council during his tenure. Cooper however, governed the city in an efficient manner, the same cannot be said for his predecessors, whose actions in the 1980s and the 1990s exacerbated the problems of crime and both white and middle class black flight, culminating in the 2000 impeachment of Mayor Jesse Norwood, who had led a controversial administration whose actions included having Prichard declare bankruptcy in 1999. Mayor Norwood was succeeded in office by Mayor Charles Harden, whose stormy term included fights with Prichard CIty Coucil President Ron Davis, a Mobile County Sheriffs Deputy. Also during Harden, Prichards stagnant condition continued, and Mayor Harden missed a majority of City Council meetings held in 2004, and in August 2004, was defeated by Ron Davis, who received the support of whites, blacks, the business community and the Mobile Register. In November 2004, Mobile County voters narrowly (500 votes out of 100000 cast on the issue) defeated a local amendment which would have allowed Prichard to set up a special trade zone, the measure passed by a 2/3s vote in Prichard, and also passed by smaller margins in Mobile and Chickasaw, but was defeated by the rest of Mobile County
Prichard is located at 30°44'53" North, 88°6'1" West (30.748038, -88.100384).
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 28,633 people, 9,841 households, and 7,272 families residing in the city. The population density is 435.4/km² (1,127.6/mi²). There are 11,336 housing units at an average density of 172.4/km² (446.4/mi²). The racial makeup of the city is 14.18% White, 84.53% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.12% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.07% from other races, and 0.79% from two or more races. 0.57% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 9,841 households out of which 36.3% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.8% are married couples living together, 36.0% have a female householder with no husband present, and 26.1% are non-families. 23.4% 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 2.84 and the average family size is 3.35.
In the city the population is spread out with 31.4% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 24.6% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 32 years. For every 100 females there are 84.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 76.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $19,544, and the median income for a family is $23,519. Males have a median income of $26,543 versus $17,040 for females. The per capita income for the city is $10,626. 35.5% of the population and 31.8% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 47.8% of those under the age of 18 and 25.8% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
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