|Motto: "Heart Of The Delta"|
Location of Belzoni, Mississippi
|• Mayor||Lenora Holmes Sutton|
|• Total||1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)|
|• Land||1.0 sq mi (2.5 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||112 ft (34 m)|
|Population (United States Census estimate)|
|• Density||2,519/sq mi (967/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0666815|
Belzoni (// bel-ZOHN-ə) is a city in Humphreys County, Mississippi, in the Mississippi Delta region, on the Yazoo River. The population was 2,663 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Humphreys County. It was named for the 19th-century Italian archaeologist/explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni.
The area was named Farm-Raised Catfish Capital of the World in 1976 by then Governor Cliff Finch, since it produces more farm-raised catfish than any other U.S. county. 40,000 acres (160 km2) of the county are underwater, used to grow catfish. About 60% of U.S. farm-raised catfish are grown within a 65-mile (100-km) radius of Belzoni. The title "Catfish Capital" is also claimed by Savannah, Tennessee and Des Allemands, Louisiana. Belzoni is known for the World Catfish Festival held every April.
The area that eventually became Belzoni was originally known as "Greasy Row" because of saloons along the bank of the Yazoo River. In 1895, a charter was granted for the village of Belzoni, although the area had been settled for several decades previously. Steve Castleman, who secured the charter, became the first mayor of Belzoni. When Humphreys County was formed in 1918, Belzoni was selected county seat.
Civil Rights movement
Belzoni was the site of the murder of an early civil rights pioneer. The Rev. George W. Lee, an African-American minister who was seeking voting rights for the disfranchised blacks of the Mississippi Delta, was murdered in 1955 in "Bloody Belzoni" by racists committed to upholding segregation. This murder sparked local attention but never made national headlines. His killers were never found, as the governor of Mississippi, Hugh L. White, refused to investigate the case. Many consider him the first martyr of the modern Civil Rights movement.
National Public Radio correspondent Margot Adler, while an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, was active in the voter registration drive in Humphreys County (Belzoni) in the summer of 1965. In 2000, she recalled: "I remember how difficult it was to register people: the fear was palpable. I remember that after one month of daily work there were only seven people registered, and a bunch of us almost got ourselves killed after being chased onto private property by a group of men who belonged to the White Citizens Council". She said that the civil rights movement changed Humphreys County, and bettered the lot of African Americans. "There was real change in Belzoni. Streets were paved in hog town, sewers no longer overflowed into the dirt streets. Several black families I knew from then have held political office during the last decade".
In 2006, Belzoni elected its first African-American mayor, Wardell Walton. His term ended with the election of Lenora Sutton in 2013, the first female mayor of Belzoni.
Belzoni is located at (33.1813, -90.4857).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.0 square mile (2.6 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,663 people, 934 households, and 640 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,777.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,072.5 /km2). There were 1,018 housing units at an average density of 1,061.9 per square mile (410.0 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 30.49% White, 68.08% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.60% from other races, and 0.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.35% of the population.
There were 934 households out of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 28.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.49.
In the city the population was spread out with 32.2% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.5 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $20,690, and the median income for a family was $25,521. Males had a median income of $26,466 versus $15,833 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,022. About 29.3% of families and 35.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.4% of those under age 18 and 27.3% of those age 65 or over.
The City of Belzoni is served by the Humphreys County School District:
- Humphreys County High School
- Thomas C. Randle Career and Technical Center
- Humphreys Junior High School
- O.M. McNair Upper Elementary School
- Ida Greene Lower Elementary School
- Belzoni Banner
The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Belzoni has a Humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
|Climate data for Belzoni, Mississippi|
|Average high °C (°F)||12
|Average low °C (°F)||2
|Precipitation mm (inches)||137
|Source: Weatherbase |
- Lawrence Gordon, film producer & former president of 20th Century Fox and American International Pictures
- Don Gorton, Commissioner, Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board
- Madolyn Hardy, first Miss Mississippi in 1934
- Elmore James, Blues guitarist 
- Denise LaSalle, Blues singer
- Ethel Wright Mohamed, 'Grandma Moses of Stitchery' 
- Pinetop Perkins, Blues musician.
- Benjamin Swan member of Massachusetts House of Representatives.
- Monroe Swan, Wisconsin State Senate
- Jean Terrell, R&B and jazz singer, replaced Diana Ross in The Supremes in 1970.
- Herb Washington, track and field athlete and Major League Baseball player.
- Annette Polly Williams, Wisconsin State Assembly
- Sonny Boy Williamson II aka Rice Miller, Blues Harmonica player 
- "History Made in Belzoni with the Swearing in of Sutton; First Female Mayor". Belzoni Banner. July 3, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Rowland, Dunbar (1907). Encyclopedia of Mississippi History: Comprising Sketches of Counties, Towns, Events, Institutions and Persons. S.A. Brant. page 229
- "Catfish Festival". Belzoni–Humphreys Development Foundation. Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
- "History of Belzoni". Belzoni–Humphreys Development Foundation. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
- Klopfer, Susan (2 December 2005). "Rev. George Lee 'Died to Vote' in 'Bloody' Belzoni". Buzzle.com. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
- "Rev. George W. Lee" (pdf). The Middle of the Internet. Retrieved 2010-01-17.
- Adler, Margot (November 23, 2000). "Margot Adler". Veterans of the Civil Rights Movement. Westwind Writers Inc. Archived from the original on 29 October 2009. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
- "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- Climate Summary for Belzoni, Mississippi
- "Weatherbase.com". Weatherbase. 2013. Retrieved on September 21, 2013.
- Erikson, Hal (7 February 2005). "We're Sorry". New York Times (New York: The New York Times Company). Retrieved 13 November 2009.
- "City of Belzoni". Belzoni–Humphreys Development Foundation. Retrieved 1010-01-17.
- "Trail of the Hellhound". National Park Service. April 20, 2001.
- Chancey, Jill R. (June 4, 2007). "The Needle's Song: The Folk Art of Ethel Wright Mohamed". Resource Library. Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc. Retrieved 2010-08-27.
- Upholt, Boyce (2014-06-04). "A Pageant in Catfish Country". Roads & Kingdoms. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Belzoni.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Belzoni, Mississippi.|
- City of Belzoni Mississippi website
- History of Belzoni's Jewish community (from the Institute of Southern Jewish Life)
- Annual Catfish Festival
- Photos from the World Catfish Festival April 4, 2009