Claiborne County, Mississippi
|Claiborne County, Mississippi|
Claiborne County courthouse in Port Gibson, Mississippi
Location in the state of Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
|Largest city||Port Gibson|
|• Total||501.36 sq mi (1,299 km2)|
|• Land||486.77 sq mi (1,261 km2)|
|• Water||14.59 sq mi (38 km2), 2.91%|
|• Density||23/sq mi (9/km²)|
The county is named after William Claiborne, the second governor of the Mississippi Territory. According to the United States Census Bureau, this county has the third-largest percentage of black residents of any U.S. county, with blacks comprising an 84% majority of the population. The area was long a center of cotton plantations and related agriculture. Claiborne County was the center of a little-known but profound African-American civil rights movement and struggle during the middle of the 20th century.
The county was developed by European-American settlers as cotton plantations after Indian Removal in the 1830s. Using enslaved African Americans as laborers, planters created long, narrow properties fronting on the Mississippi River, the transportation byway for all to markets and trading cities. They brought numerous African-American slaves here, chiefly transported through sales from the Upper South, to work the plantations before the American Civil War.
After the Reconstruction era following the Civil War, white Democrats managed to regain power in the state legislature, through paramilitary groups such as the Red Shirts who suppressed black voting through violence and assassinations. They passed Jim Crow laws and in 1890 a new constitution, which incorporated the use of poll taxes and literacy tests; in practice, these were used to disfranchise blacks. This second-class status was enforced by whites until the civil rights movement gained passage of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Many blacks did not want to wait the decades for those changes. With doors closed against them and a wave of violence from lynchings, they left: from 1900 to 1920, the population of the county declined by 41%, more than 8500 persons from the peak of 20,787. These rural blacks migrated to the North and Midwest cities, such as Chicago, in the Great Migration to seek jobs and other opportunities elsewhere.
African Americans in Claiborne County had to continue to struggle against white supremacy after national legislation was passed. They increased assertiveness and some armed in self-defense. To gain integration of public facilities and more opportunities in local businesses, they undertook an economic boycott, upheld by the United States Supreme Court as a form of political protest. NAACP leader Charles Evers (brother of Medgar, who had been assassinated) achieved support from the antagonistic groups of the national NAACP, the segregationist Mississippi Sovereignty Commission, and white liberals.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 501.36 square miles (1,298.5 km2), of which 486.77 square miles (1,260.7 km2) (or 97.09%) is land and 14.59 square miles (37.8 km2) (or 2.91%) is water.
- U.S. Route 61
- Mississippi Highway 18
- Mississippi Highway 547
- Mississippi Highway 548
- Natchez Trace Parkway
- Warren County (north)
- Hinds County (northeast)
- Copiah County (southeast)
- Jefferson County (south)
- Tensas Parish, Louisiana (west)
||Warren County||Hinds County|
|Tensas Parish, Louisiana|
|Jefferson County||Copiah County|
National protected area
- Natchez Trace Parkway (part)
After some gains, population has declined since 1980 by nearly 25%, because of limited opportunities in the rural area.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 9,604 people residing in the county. 84.4% were Black or African American, 14.2% White, 0.4% Asian, 0.1% Native American, 0.3% of some other race and 0.6% of two or more races. 0.8% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
As of the census of 2000, there were 11,831 people, 3,685 households, and 2,531 families residing in the county. The population density was 24 people per square mile (9/km²). There were 4,252 housing units at an average density of 9 per square mile (3/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.11% Black or African American, 15.18% White, 0.05% Native American, 0.14% Asian, 0.10% from other races, and 0.41% from two or more races. 0.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 3,685 households out of which 34.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.50% were married couples living together, 26.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 28.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.72 and the average family size was 3.35.
In the county the population was spread out with 26.30% under the age of 18, 23.10% from 18 to 24, 22.30% from 25 to 44, 17.90% from 45 to 64, and 10.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 26 years. For every 100 females there were 85.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $22,615, and the median income for a family was $29,867. Males had a median income of $28,777 versus $20,140 for females. The per capita income for the county was $11,244. About 27.90% of families and 32.40% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.80% of those under age 18 and 28.00% of those age 65 or over. Claiborne County has the eighth lowest per capita income in Mississippi and the 67th lowest in the United States.
Notable natives and residents
- James Monroe Trotter, a descendant of Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, born into slavery in Grand Gulf, first man of color to be promoted to lieutenant in the US Army during the American Civil War, first to be hired by the USPS, and appointed in 1886 as federal Recorder of Deeds in Washington, D.C.
- Joseph Edison Walker, physician and entrepreneur, was born and grew up in Tillman, founded the Universal Life Insurance Company, one of the largest black-owned insurance companies in the nation
Sites of interest
- Claiborne County Courthouse
- Grand Gulf Nuclear Generating Station
- Grand Gulf Military State Park (Mississippi)
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Minorities now in the majority in nearly 10% of U.S. counties", Lexington Herald-Leader August 8, 2007, p. A8
- Crosby, Emilye. A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. 2005. ISBN 0-8078-5638-X, available at Googlebooks.
- "Census 2010 Gazetteer Files". Retrieved July 2, 2013.
- "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved September 3, 2013.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.