|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013)|
|Elevation||272 ft (82.9 m)|
|Area||6.87 km2 (2.7 sq mi)|
|- land||6.82 km2 (3 sq mi)|
|- water||0.06 km2 (0 sq mi)|
|Density||143.6 / km2 (371.9 / sq mi)|
|- summer (DST)||CDT (UTC-5)|
Gibsland is a town in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 979. The town is best known for its connecting railroads, for being the birthplace of Coleman College, and for the nearby shootings of the bandits Bonnie and Clyde in 1934.
In 1890, with ten students, Coleman Baptist Male and Female College opened its doors to educate the children of freed slaves in northern Louisiana. The institution's primary vision and mission was to produce teachers and preachers.
Supported by the Southern Baptist Church, at the height of its existence Coleman College owned some 100 acres (40 ha), of which ten were devoted to educational purposes. There were eight buildings which included classrooms, auditoriums, dormitories and an administrative building. Extracurricular activities included the Coleman College Choir, a glee club, and intercollegiate athletics. Nicknamed the Bulldogs, Coleman College's chief athletic rival was the Grambling College Tigers. Enrollment reached as high as 400 in some years, and Coleman College graduated hundreds of teachers and preachers before closing its doors in 1944. Among its graduates were the first president of Louisiana's Southern University, Dr. J.S. Clark, and Ada Bell Lewis Coleman, the mother of Mildred Coleman Marks and Geraldine Coleman Gaillord (the oldest surviving heirs) and the late McVicker Monroe Coleman, Jr. and Georgia Coleman McClaron. Professor Coleman leaves behind a strong legacy of public service through his great-grandson John R. Marks III, the mayor of Tallahassee, Florida.
Professor Coleman, founder and president of Coleman College, died March 1927 in Jackson, Mississippi, as a result of injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
Coleman College re-opened in Shreveport in late 1944. By 1946 the school's Board of Trustees had paid the last note on property that was located where Winnfield Funeral Home now sits in the Mooretown Community at 3701 Hollywood Avenue. Decreased enrollment caused the school to go out of existence in the mid-1950s. The original site of Coleman College became Coleman High School, and after integration with the all-white Gibsland High School during the late 1960s the school was renamed Gibsland-Coleman Complex.
Jesse N. Stone, the fourth president of the Southern University System, based in Baton Rouge, was a Gibsland native, as was former Louisiana Tech University president F. Jay Taylor. Born in nearby Taylor was the Louisiana Tech speech professor and long-time principal of Castor High School, E. R. Minchew.
Brief railroad history
First incorporated in 1889, the Louisiana & North West Railroad Company operates 62 miles (100 km) of shortline between Gibsland and McNeil, Arkansas, to the north. The LNW interchanges on both ends of the line: with the Union Pacific (former St. Louis Southwestern) in McNeil; and with Kansas City Southern (former MidSouth, ICG) at Gibsland.
For many years the road was well-known among railfans for its unusual stable of F7 "covered wagons"—unusual motive power of choice for a backwoods southern shortline. In the early 1990s, the F units were sold off to various places, gradually replaced by Geeps from various locations. The LNW shops are located at Gibsland, a few hundred yards from one of the busiest interchange diamonds in all of the state. For decades, three different railroads interchanged in Gibsland. The switching activity could get so hectic the daily routine was known among railfans as the "Gibsland Shuffle."
Gibsland is located in northern Bienville Parish at .(32.542675, -93.053511)
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,119 people, 475 households, and 293 families residing in the town. The population density was 422.2 people per square mile (163.0/km²). There were 568 housing units at an average density of 214.3 per square mile (82.8/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 16.26% White, 82.75% African American, 0.36% Asian, 0.36% from other races, and 0.27% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.36% of the population.
There were 475 households out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.4% were married couples living together, 23.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.3% were non-families. 36.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 3.10.
In the town the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 8.7% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 19.3% from 45 to 64, and 17.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 83.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.3 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $19,250, and the median income for a family was $22,098. Males had a median income of $25,789 versus $18,958 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,185. About 27.5% of families and 34.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.3% of those under age 18 and 23.9% of those age 65 or over.
Gibsland welcoming sign: "The Jonquil Capital of Louisiana"
Gibsland Bank and Trust Company also has a branch in nearby Minden.
First United Methodist Church in Gibsland
First Baptist Church of Gibsland
L.J. "Boots" Hinton, son of Ted Hinton, is curator of the Bonnie & Clyde Ambush Museum, which opened in Gibsland in 2004.
Arts and culture
The Jonquil Jubilee and Historic and Garden Tour and the Bonnie and Clyde Festival are celebrated annually. The Jonquil Jubilee offers advice to area gardeners from botanists.
Bonnie and Clyde
The Bonnie and Clyde Festival is held in Gibsland in mid-May. It features a staged bank robbery by actors portraying the infamous duo. The festival has been featured on the television program Weird U.S. on the History Channel. Bonnie and Clyde were killed off Louisiana Highway 154 south of Gibsland toward Sailes.
Gibsland is home to the Bonnie and Clyde Ambush Museum located in the former cafe where the outlaws ate their last meal, a breakfast. The museum is operated by L.J. "Boots" Hinton (born ca. 1933), formerly of Dallas, a son of posse member Ted Hinton. The museum exhibits also mention the local posse members brought in for jurisdictional reasons, Bienville Parish Sheriff Henderson Jordan (1896–1958) and his chief deputy and successor as sheriff, Prentiss Oakley.
Gibsland-Coleman Alumni Association was organized in 1981. The first reunion was held in July 1981. The Gibsland-Coleman Alumni Association is a non-profit organization of alumni and other individuals who are interested in supporting the organization-mainly providing college scholarships annually to graduating seniors. Chapters are located in Houston, Los Angeles, Oakland, Gibsland and Maryland. The reunion is held in Gibsland annually during the first weekend of July.
Odis Odell Key is the mayor of Gibsland.
Pinkie C. Wilkerson, an African American Democrat, represented Gibsland in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1992 until her death in an automobile accident in 2000. A Gibsland street bears her name.
- "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Gibsland town, Louisiana". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved December 2, 2013.
- "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.
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