Sunflower County, Mississippi
|Sunflower County, Mississippi|
Sunflower County Courthouse
Location in the state of Mississippi
Mississippi's location in the U.S.
707.22 sq mi (1,832 km²)
693.79 sq mi (1,797 km²)
13.43 sq mi (35 km²), 1.90%
49/sq mi (19/km²)
The Indianola Micropolitan Statistical Area includes all of Sunflower County.
Sunflower County was created in 1844. The land mass encompassed most of Sunflower and Leflore Counties as we know them today. The first seat of government was Clayton, located near Fort Pemberton. Later the county seat was moved to McNutt, also in the Leflore County of today. When Sunflower and Leflore Counties were separated in 1871, the new county seat for Sunflower County was moved to Johnsonville. This village was located where the north end of Mound Bayou empties into the Sunflower River. In 1882 the county seat was moved to Eureka, which was later renamed Indianola.
After the U.S. Civil War, across several decades African Americans migrated to Sunflower County to work in the Mississippi Delta. In 1870, 3,243 black people lived in Sunflower County. This increased to 12,070 in 1900, making up 75% of the residents in Sunflower County. Between 1900 and 1920, the black population almost tripled.
After many African-Americans who had migrated to the north from the 1940s to the 1970s failed to find job and socioeconomic opportunities there, they began to send their children back down to the Mississippi Delta to live with their relatives in the 1980s and 1990s. As a result gang and drug trade activity began to appear in the Mississippi Delta. As a result of this trend, crack cocaine began to be distributed in Sunflower County.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 707.22 square miles (1,831.7 km2), of which 693.79 square miles (1,796.9 km2) (or 98.10%) is land and 13.43 square miles (34.8 km2) (or 1.90%) is water. Sunflower County is the longest county in Mississippi. The traveling distance from the southern boundary at Caile to its northern boundary at Rome is approximately 56 miles.
The center of the county is about 30 miles (48 km) east of the Mississippi River, about 40 miles (64 km) west of the hill section of Mississippi, 100 miles (160 km) north of Jackson, and about 100 miles (160 km) south of Memphis, Tennessee.
Major highways 
Adjacent counties 
- Coahoma County (north)
- Tallahatchie County (northeast)
- Leflore County (east)
- Humphreys County (south)
- Washington County (southwest)
- Bolivar County (northwest)
||Bolivar County||Coahoma County||Tallahatchie County|
|Washington County||Humphreys County|
|MS Counties 1900-1990
GeoHive - 2000 & 2010 statistics
As of the census of 2000, there were 34,369 people, 9,637 households, and 7,314 families residing in the county. The population density was 50 people per square mile (19/km²). There were 10,338 housing units at an average density of 15 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 28.88% White, 69.86% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.40% Asian, 0.48% from other races, and 0.28% from two or more races. 1.30% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 1990, there were 32,341 people. The racial makeup of the county was 26.40% White or European American, 71.89% Black or African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.60% Asian, 0.50% from other races, and 0.28% from two or more races. 1.31% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 1980, there were 30,402 people. The racial makeup of the county was 24.45% White or European American, 73.88% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.80% Asian, 0.52% from other races, and 0.28% from two or more races. 1.32% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
As of the census of 2000, there were 9,637 households out of which 38.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.30% were married couples living together, 28.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 24.10% were non-families. 21.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.50.
In the county the population was spread out with 27.90% under the age of 18, 14.00% from 18 to 24, 30.30% from 25 to 44, 18.10% from 45 to 64, and 9.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 115.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 120.00 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $24,970, and the median income for a family was $29,144. Males had a median income of $26,208 versus $19,145 for females. The per capita income for the county was $11,365. About 24.60% of families and 30.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 39.50% of those under age 18 and 24.10% of those age 65 or over.
The Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC) is responsible for the state's correctional services, probation services, and parole services. MDOC operates the Mississippi State Penitentiary (MSP) in the unincorporated community of Parchman in Sunflower County and a probation and parole office in the Courthouse Annex in Indianola.
MSP, a prison for men, is the location of the State of Mississippi male death row and the State of Mississippi execution chamber. Around the time of MSP's opening in 1901, Sunflower County residents objected to having executions performed at MSP because they feared that Sunflower County would be stigmatized as a "death county." Therefore the State of Mississippi originally performed executions of condemned criminals in their counties of conviction. By the 1950s residents of Sunflower County were still opposed to the concept of housing the execution chamber at MSP. In September 1954, Governor Hugh White called for a special session of the Mississippi Legislature to discuss the application of the death penalty. During that year, an execution chamber was installed at MSP.
In December 2011, Sunflower County's unemployment rate was 16.2%. The Mississippi statewide rate was 9.9%, and the U.S. overall unemployment rate was 8.3%. As of 2012 it was one of the poorest counties in the state, and one of the poorest in the United States.
Notable residents 
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (May 2010)|
- Charlie Patton (bluesman, 1891–1934)
- James Eastland (U.S. Senator from Mississippi, 1904–1986)
- Willie Best (actor, 1916–1962)
- Fannie Lou Hamer (civil rights activist, 1917–1977)
- Craig Claiborne (Food Editor, New York Times, 1920–2000)
- B.B. King (bluesman, 1925–present)
- Sam Lacey (retired NBA basketball player, 1948–present)
- Archie Manning (NFL quarterback, 1949–present); father of Peyton Manning, Cooper Manning and Eli Manning
- C. L. Franklin, father of Aretha Franklin
- Johnny Russell, country singer
Two airports are located in unincorporated Sunflower County. Indianola Municipal Airport, near Indianola, is operated by the city. Ruleville-Drew Airport, between Drew and Ruleville, is jointly operated by the two cities.
J. Todd Moye, author of Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1945-1986, said "Sunflower County has always been overwhelmingly rural" and that, at the end of the 20th century, the county had four "main towns of any size."
- Unincorporated places
Colleges and universities 
Primary and secondary schools 
Public schools 
- Public School Districts
Between 2009 and 2012, the State of Mississippi had taken over all three Sunflower County school districts and put them under the conservatorship of the Mississippi Department of Education, due to academic and financial reasons. In February 2012 the Mississippi Senate voted 43-4 to pass Senate Bill 2330, to consolidate the three school districts into one school district. The bill went to the Mississippi House of Representatives. The Greenwood Commonwealth said that the county was an "easy target" for school merging due to the difficulties in all three school districts, and that the scenario "doesn’t leave them with much leverage to argue in favor of the status quo. And because none of them does well, none of them can object to assuming someone else’s headaches. All three are beset with them." Later that month, the State Board of Education approved the consolidation of the Drew School District and the Sunflower County School District, and if Senate Bill 2330 is approved, Indianola School District will be added. In May 2012 Governor of Mississippi Phil Bryant signed the bill into law, requiring all three districts to consolidate. SB2330 stipulates that if a county has three school districts all under conservatorship by the Mississippi Department of Education will have them consolidated into one school district serving the entire county. As of July 1, 2012, the Drew School District was consolidated with the Sunflower County School District.
Private schools 
Public libraries 
Notable residents 
See also 
- Excerpt of: Mills, Kay This Little Light of Mine. In: Barnwell, Marion (editor) A Place Called Mississippi: Collected Narratives. University Press of Mississippi, 1997. ISBN 1617033391, 9781617033391.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- Hemphill, Marie M. 1980. Fevers, Floods and Faith—A History of Sunflower County Mississippi, 1844–1976
- Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1945-1986. University of North Carolina Press, November 29, 2004. 28. Retrieved from Google Books on February 26, 2012. ISBN 0-8078-5561-8, ISBN 978-0-8078-5561-4.
- Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1945-1986. UNC Press Books, 2004. 216. Retrieved from Google Books on March 2, 2011. ISBN 0-8078-5561-8, ISBN 978-0-8078-5561-4.
- "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
- "Demographics for Sunflower County Schools." Sunflower County School District. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "Sunflower County." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on September 14, 2010.
- "State Prisons." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- "MDOC QUICK REFERENCE." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- "Division of Institutions State Prisons." Mississippi Department of Corrections. April 21, 2010. Retrieved on May 21, 2010.
- Martin, Nathan. "Wilcher gets reprieve." Laurel Leader-Call. July 12, 2006. Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
- Cabana, Donald A. "The History of Capital Punishment in Mississippi: An Overview." Mississippi History Now. Mississippi Historical Society. Retrieved on August 16, 2010.
- "Mississippi and the Death Penalty." Mississippi Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 12, 2010.
- Senate votes to merge 3 Sunflower school districts." Associated Press at gulflive.com, Alabama Live LLC. Wednesday February 8, 2012. Retrieved on March 25, 2012.
- Matthews, Suzette. "Senate votes to consolidate Sunflower schools." (PDF) The Cleveland Current. Retrieved on June 13, 2012.
- Wright, Chance. "Bryant signs school merger." The Bolivar Commercial. Retrieved on June 13, 2012.
- FAA Airport Master Record for IDL - Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
- "Poplarville, Hattiesburg among airports receiving grants." WDAM. March 12, 2010. Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
- FAA Airport Master Record for M37 - Retrieved on September 23, 2010.
- "Sunflower County." Mississippi Department of Education. Retrieved on July 20, 2010.
- Wright, Chance. "Senate passes school merger." Bolivar Commercial. February 2012. Retrieved on March 25, 2012.
- Amy, Jeff. "Miss. bill would force 6 Bolivar County school districts to merge into 3 or fewer." The Republic. March 14, 2012. Retrieved on March 24, 2012.
- "Legislature must initiate school district consolidation." The Greenwood Commonwealth at The Picayune Item. February 17, 2012. Retrieved on March 25, 2012.
- "School consolidation approved." Clarion Ledger. February 17, 2012. Retrieved on March 26, 2012.
- Doyle, Rory. "Drew, Ruleville prepare to merge." Bolivar Commercial. Retrieved on August 30, 2012.
- Amy, Jeff. "Mississippi to return Okolona schools to local control; district merger ends Drew High School." Associated Press at The Republic. May 17, 2012. Retrieved on June 12, 2012.
- "Home." North Sunflower Academy. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
- "Home." Central Delta Academy. Retrieved on August 17, 2010.
- Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1945-1986. UNC Press Books, 2004. 179. Retrieved from Google Books on March 2, 2011. ISBN 0-8078-5561-8, ISBN 978-0-8078-5561-4.
- Moye, J. Todd. Let the People Decide: Black Freedom and White Resistance Movements in Sunflower County, Mississippi, 1945-1986. UNC Press Books, 2004. 243. Retrieved from Google Books on March 2, 2011. "Sunflower County's two other segregation academies— North Sunflower Academy, between Drew and Ruleville, and Central Delta Academy in Inverness— both sprouted in a similar fashion." ISBN 0-8078-5561-8, ISBN 978-0-8078-5561-4.
- "Profile of Pillow Academy 2010-2011." Pillow Academy. Retrieved on March 25, 2012.
- Lynch, Adam (18 November 2009). "Ceara’s Season". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved 19 August 2011.
- "Sunflower County Library Directory." Sunflower County Library. Retrieved on July 21, 2010.
- "about us." The Enterprise-Tocsin. Retrieved on March 4, 2011. "Our office is located at 114 Main St, Indianola."
- "bc_masthead1.gif." The Bolivar Commercial. Retrieved on April 15, 2012.
- Barnwell, p. 225.