Location of Doddsville, Mississippi
|• Total||0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)|
|• Land||0.8 sq mi (2.0 km2)|
|• Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)|
|Elevation||131 ft (40 m)|
|• Density||141.0/sq mi (54.4/km2)|
|Time zone||Central (CST) (UTC-6)|
|• Summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
|GNIS feature ID||0669310|
Daniel Doddsman Sr. and his eldest son, Daniel Jr. were early settlers who hauled logs in the area in 1888, and purchased 107 acres (43 ha) of land where the town now stands in 1891. Oliver Eastland, grandfather of U.S. Senator James Eastland, bought a large tract of land near Doddsville in the 1880s, and his son Woods Eastland cleared the land to create a 2,300 acres (930 ha) plantation.
A landing called "Standing Stump" existed west of Doddsville on the bank of the Sunflower River. When river levels rose in the spring, boats from Vicksburg would follow the Yazoo River and then Sunflower River as far as Standing Stump, where a post office was located.
When the Yazoo Delta Railroad was completed in 1897, a depot was located in the town and named "Doddsville", after the Dodds brothers. By 1898, Doddsville had five stores, and the Sunflower Lumber Company was founded.
In 1904, Luther Holbert, an African-American, shot dead white plantation owner James Eastland (uncle of future senator James Eastland), after Eastman had confronted Holbert in his cabin. Eastman's murder gained national attention. Within days, a white mob had captured Holbert and his wife, after which the couple were tortured with oversized corkscrews, had their fingers and ears cut off to distribute to onlookers, and were burned to death while tied to a tree. The Holberts' gruesome murder inspired Bo Carter's 1936 blues hit All Around Man, with its references to "the butcher-man", "screwin", "grindin", and "bore your hole till the auger-man comes".
Doddsville was incorporated in 1920, and by 1922 the population was estimated at between 400 and 500. There was a hotel and rooming house, two drug stores with licensed pharmacists, two Chinese groceries, a Café, a dress shop, a school, two churches, a woman’s club, four doctors, and five passenger trains a day. The city hall was located inside the Doddsville Land and Mercantile Company store.
A jail was built in 1952, and a town water system installed in 1963.
In 1962, civil rights worker Charles McLaurin was in Sunflower County attempting to register black voters. In his report to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he wrote that Doddsville was the place:
Where many years ago the burning of Negroes was a Sunday spectacle where whites young and old delighted at this evil which killed the spirit of the old Negroes and set the stage of the place-fixing of the young ones not yet born.
Doddsville is located at (33.657509, -90.524204).
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 0.8 square miles (2.1 km2), all land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 108 people, 38 households, and 22 families residing in the town. The population density was 141.0 people per square mile (54.2/km²). There were 40 housing units at an average density of 52.2 per square mile (20.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 67.59% African American and 32.41% White.
There were 38 households out of which 34.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 21.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 39.5% were non-families. 31.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.84 and the average family size was 3.87.
In the town the population was spread out with 32.4% under the age of 18, 5.6% from 18 to 24, 28.7% from 25 to 44, 19.4% from 45 to 64, and 13.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 100.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.5 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $19,000, and the median income for a family was $25,250. Males had a median income of $16,250 versus $15,625 for females. The per capita income for the town was $6,359. There were 10.5% of families and 30.7% of the population living below the poverty line, including 38.5% of under eighteens and none of those over 64.
- James Eastland, U.S. Senator from Mississippi.
- C. L. Franklin, Baptist preacher, civil rights activist, and father of Aretha Franklin; grew up near Doddsville and attended school there.
- Fruteland Jackson, blues musician.
- Bell, Torey. "The Town of Doddsville". Rootsweb. Retrieved Sep 2013.
- Mills, Kay (2007). This Little Light of Mine: The Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. University of Kentucky Press.
- Waldrep, Christopher (2001). Racial Violence on Trial: A Handbook with Cases, Laws, and Documents. ABC-CLIO.
- Sinclair, William Albert (1905). The Aftermath of Slavery; A Study of the Condition and Environment of the American Negro. Boston: Small, Maynard & Company. p. 250.
The Nashville (Tennessee) American gives an account of a lynching in Mississippi as follows: "But there was a lynching in that state that for fiendish brutality has not yet been surpassed, even when the victims have been roasted at the stake. It occurred at Doddsville, recently, and these are the circumstances as related by local newspapers: Luther Holbert, a negro, had a quarrel with a white man and, following the usual Mississippi method, they exchanged shots, the negro escaping and the white man being killed. The negro, knowing the penalty for killing a white man in that section, fled, of course, accompanied by his wife, who had had no part in the quarrel. They were captured by the mob and this is what was done to them, according to the statement of an eye-witness in the Vicksburg Herald."'When the two negroes were captured they were tied to trees, and while the funeral pyres were being prepared they were forced to suffer the most fiendish tortures. The blacks were forced to hold out their hands while one finger at a time was chopped off. The fingers were distributed as souvenirs. The ears of the murderers were cut off. Holbert was severely beaten, his skull was fractured, and one of his eyes, knocked out with a stick, hung by a shred from the socket. Neither the man nor the woman begged for mercy, nor made a groan or plea. When the executioners came forward to lop off fingers, Holbert extended his hand without being asked. The most excruciating form of punishment consisted in the use of a large corkscrew in the hands of one of the mob. This instrument was bored into the flesh of the man and the woman, in the arms, legs, and body, and pulled out, the spiral tearing out big pieces of raw, quivering flesh every time it was withdrawn.'""
- Birkeland, Peter M. (2002). Seems Like Murder Here. University of Chicago Press.
- "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.
- "No simple solutions to education, workforce training problems. (Focus Delta & River Cities)." Mississippi Business Journal. May 27, 2002. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
- Titon, Jeff Todd (1989). Reverend C.L. Franklin: Life, History, and Selected Sermons. University of Illinois.
- Pearson, Barry Lee (2005). Jook Right on: Blues Stories and Blues Storytellers. University of Tennessee Press.