The Jackson Metropolitan Statistical Area is a metropolitan area in the central region of the U.S. state of Mississippi that covers five counties: Copiah, Hinds, Madison, Rankin, and Simpson. As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 497,197. According to July 1, 2008 estimates, the population had risen to 537,285.
As of the census of 2000, there were 497,197 people, 180,556 households, and 127,704 families residing within the MSA. The racial makeup of the MSA was 53.02% White, 45.29% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.67% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.29% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.98% of the population.
The city was founded based on the need for a centrally located capital for the state of Mississippi. In 1821, the Mississippi General Assembly, meeting in the then-capital of Natchez, had sent Thomas Hinds (for whom Hinds County is named), James Patton, and William Lattimore to look for a site. After surveying areas north and east of Jackson, they proceeded southwest along the Pearl River until they reached LeFleur's Bluff in Hinds County. Their report to the General Assembly stated that this location had beautiful and healthful surroundings, good water, abundant timber, navigable waters, and proximity to the trading route Natchez Trace. And so, a legislative Act passed by the Assembly on November 28, 1821, authorized the location to become the permanent seat of the government of the state of Mississippi.
During the late 18th century and early 19th century, the area was traversed by the Natchez Trace, on which a trading post stood before a treaty with the Choctaw, the Treaty of Doak's Stand in 1820, formally opened the area for non-native American settlers.
Jackson was originally planned, in April 1822, by Peter Van Dorn in a "checkerboard" pattern advocated by Thomas Jefferson, in which city blocks alternated with parks and other open spaces, giving the appearance of a checkerboard. This plan has not lasted to the present day.
The state legislature first met in Jackson on December 23, 1822.
In 1839, Jackson was the site of the passage of the first state law that permitted married women to own and administer their own property.
Jackson was first linked with other cities by rail in 1840. An 1844 map shows Jackson linked by an east-west rail line running between Vicksburg, Raymond, and Brandon. Unlike Vicksburg, Greenville, and Natchez, Jackson is not located on the Mississippi River, and did not develop like those cities from river commerce. Instead, railroads would later spark growth of the city in the decades after the American Civil War.
Despite its small population, during the Civil War , Jackson became a strategic center of manufacturing for the Confederate States of America. In 1863, during the campaign which ended in the capture of Vicksburg, Union forces captured Jackson during two battles—once before the fall of Vicksburg and once after the fall of Vicksburg.
On May 13, 1863, Union forces won the first Battle of Jackson, forcing Confederate forces to flee northward towards Canton. Subsequently, on May 15, 1863, Union troops under the command of William Tecumseh Sherman burned and looted key facilities in city of Jackson, a strategic manufacturing and railroad center for the Confederacy. After driving the Confederate forces out of Jackson, Union forces turned west once again and engaged the Vicksburg defenders at the Battle of Champion Hill in nearby Edwards. The siege of Vicksburg began soon after the Union victory at Champion Hill. Confederate forces began to reassemble in Jackson in preparation for an attempt to break through the Union lines surrounding Vicksburg and end the siege there. The Confederate forces in Jackson built defensive fortifications encircling the city while preparing to march west to Vicksburg.
Confederate forces marched out of Jackson to break the siege of Vicksburg in early July 1863. However, unknown to them, Vicksburg had already surrendered on July 4, 1863. General Ulysses S. Grant dispatched General Sherman to meet the Confederate forces heading west from Jackson. Upon learning that Vicksburg had already surrendered, the Confederates retreated back into Jackson, thus beginning the Siege of Jackson, which lasted for approximately one week. Union forces encircled the city and began an artillery bombardment. One of the Union artillery emplacements still remains intact on the grounds of the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Another Federal position is still intact on the campus of Millsaps College. One of the Confederate Generals defending Jackson was former United States Vice President John C. Breckenridge. On July 16, 1863, Confederate forces slipped out of Jackson during the night and retreated across the Pearl River. Union forces completely burned the city after its capture this second time, and the city earned the nickname "Chimneyville" because only the chimneys of houses were left standing. The northern line of Confederate defenses in Jackson during the siege was located along a road near downtown Jackson, now known as Fortification Street.
Today there are few antebellum structures left standing in Jackson. One surviving structure is the Governor's Mansion, built in 1842, which served as Sherman's headquarters. Another is the Old Capitol building, which served as the home of the Mississippi state legislature from 1839 to 1903. There the Mississippi legislature passed the ordinance of secession from the Union on January 9, 1861, becoming the second state to secede from the United States. The constitutional convention of 1890, which produced Mississippi's Constitution of 1890, was also held there. The so-called New Capitol replaced the older structure upon its completion in 1903, and today the Old Capitol is a historical museum. A third important surviving antebellum structure is the Jackson City Hall, built in 1846 for less than $8,000. It is said that Sherman, a Mason, spared it because it housed a Masonic Lodge, though a more likely reason is that it housed an army hospital.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty was born in Jackson in 1909, died there in 2001, and lived most of her life in the Belhaven section of the city. She wrote a memoir of her development as a writer, One Writer's Beginnings (1984), which gives a charming picture of the city in the early 20th century. Today, the main Jackson public library is named in her honor.
Highly acclaimed African-American author Richard Wright, a native of Roxie, Mississippi, lived in Jackson as an adolescent and young man in the 1910s and 1920s, and relates his experience in his memoir Black Boy (1945). He describes the harsh and largely terror-filled life most African-Americans experienced in the South and the rest of the United States under segregation in the early twentieth century.
Jackson's economic growth was stimulated in the 1930s by the discovery of natural gas fields nearby.
During World War II, Hawkins Field in northwest Jackson became a major airbase. Among other facilities and units, the Royal Netherlands Military Flying School was established there, after Nazi Germany occupied Holland. From 1941, the base trained all Dutch military aircrews.
Since 1960, Jackson has undergone a series of dramatic changes and growth. On May 24, 1961, during the American Civil Rights Movement, a large group of Freedom Riders was arrested in Jackson for "disturbing the peace" after they disembarked from their bus. Although the Freedom Riders had planned to make New Orleans, Louisiana their final destination, Jackson was the farthest that any of them actually managed to travel.
In Jackson, shortly after midnight on June 12, 1963, Medgar Evers, civil rights activist and leader of the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, was murdered by Byron De La Beckwith, a white supremacist. In 1994, prosecutors Ed Peters and Bobby DeLaughter finally got De La Beckwith convicted of murder by a jury. A portion of U.S. Highway 49, all of Delta Drive and Jackson-Evers International Airport now bear Medgar Evers's name.
The first successful cadaveric lung transplant was performed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson in June 1963 by Dr. James Hardy. Hardy transplanted the cadaveric lung into a patient suffering from lung cancer. The patient survived for eighteen days before dying of kidney failure.
In June 1966, Jackson was also the terminus of the James Meredith March, organized by James Meredith, the first African-American to enroll at the University of Mississippi. The march, which began in Memphis, Tennessee, was an attempt to garner support for the Civil Rights movement and was accompanied by a drive to register African-Americans to vote in Mississippi. In this latter aim, it succeeded in registering between 2,500 and 3,000 black Mississippians to vote. The march ended on June 26 after Meredith, who had been wounded by a sniper's bullet earlier on the march, addressed a large rally of some 15,000 people in Jackson.
Since 1968, Jackson has been the home of Malaco Records, one of the leading record companies for gospel and soul music in the United States. In January 1973, Paul Simon recorded the song "Learn How To Fall", found on the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon, in Jackson at the Malaco Recording Studios.
Two students at Jackson State University (then called Jackson State College) were killed while protesting the Vietnam War on May 15, 1970. These murders were part of the evidence cited by Newsweek in its issue of 18 May when it suggested that U.S. President Richard Nixon faced a new home front.
In 1997, Harvey Johnson, Jr. became the city's first African American mayor. During his term, he proposed the creation of a convention center, in hopes of attracting business to the city. This measure was passed during Johnson's tenure, but construction did not begin until recently. The convention center has an anticipated completion date of early 2009. Mayor Johnson was replaced by Frank Melton on July 4, 2005. Melton has subsequently generated controversy through his unconventional behavior, which has included acting as a law enforcement officer. A dramatic spike in crime has also ensued, despite Melton's promises to rid the city of its crime problem.
The Jackson metropolitan area possesses a humid subtropical climate, with very hot, humid summers and mild winters. Rain is very evenly spread throughout the year, and snow can fall in wintertime, although heavy snowfall is relatively rare. Much of the areas rainfall occurs during thunderstorms. Thunder is heard on roughly 70 days per annum. The Jackson metropolitan area lies in a region prone to severe thunderstorms which can produce large hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.
|City of Jackson
Monthly Normal and Record High and Low Temperatures
|Rec High °F||83||85||89||94||99||105||106||107||104||95||88||84|
|Norm High °F||55.1||60.3||68.1||75||82.1||88.9||91.4||91.4||86.4||76.8||66.3||57.9|
|Norm Low °F||35||38.2||45.4||51.7||61||68.1||71.4||70.3||64.6||52||43.4||37.3|
|Rec Low °F||2||10||15||27||38||47||51||54||35||26||17||4|
|Source: USTravelWeather.com |
Jackson is home to several major industries. These include electrical equipment and machinery, processed food, and primary and fabricated metal products. The surrounding area supports agricultural development of livestock, soybeans, cotton, and poultry.
The following companies are headquartered in Jackson:
Jackson is home to the USA International Ballet Competition. Founded in 1978 by Thalia Mara, the first USA International Ballet Competition took place in 1979 and joined the ranks of Varna, Bulgaria (1964); Moscow, Russia (1969); and Tokyo, Japan (1976). The International Ballet Competition (IBC) originated in Varna, Bulgaria in 1964. The competition eventually expanded to rotating annual events in Varna, Moscow and Tokyo. In 1979 the event first came to the United States in Jackson, Mississippi, where it now returns every four years. The rotation is currently among Jackson, Varna, Helsinki, Finland and Shanghai, China. These first competitions were given sanction by the International Dance Committee of UNESCO’s International Theater Institute. Today, international ballet competitions flourish worldwide, and the USA IBC in Jackson remains one of the oldest and most respected competitions in the world. In 1982, the United States Congress passed a Joint Resolution designating Jackson as the official home of the USA International Ballet Competition. Jackson held subsequent competitions in 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006. The next competition is in 2010. The competitions are held at Thalia Mara Hall.
There are two miniature golf courses in the metro area - "The Park" in Flowood (which also has laser tag and go-karts) and "Golfworld" in Jackson. GattiTown Pizza and Games in located in Ridgeland. Chuck E. Cheese's is located in Jackson at its new location near Northpark Mall.
Currently, Jackson is experiencing $1.6 billion in downtown development. Among the projects include improvements to or construction of the following:
|AmSouth Plaza||97 m||1975|
|Jackson Marriott Downtown||78 m||1975|
|AmSouth Bank Building||77 m||1929|
|Standard Life Building||76 m||1929|
|Trustmark National Bank Building||66 m||1955|
|Lamar Life Building||58 m||1924|
Fondren is a historical neighborhood located on the fringes of downtown Jackson. The district has the ambiance of art-deco style architecture and many fine restaurants and eclectic shops.
Jackson is served by Jackson-Evers International Airport, located at Allen C. Thompson Field, east of the city in Flowood in Rankin County. Its IATA code is JAN. The airport has non-stop service to 12 cities throughout the United States and is served by 6 mainline carriers (American, Delta, Continental, Southwest, Northwest, and US Airways)
On 22 December 2004, Jackson City Council members voted 6-0 to rename Jackson International Airport in honor of slain civil rights leader and field secretary for the Mississippi chapter of the NAACP, Medgar Evers. This decision took effect on 22 January 2005.
Formerly Jackson was served by Hawkins Field Airport, located in northwest Jackson, with IATA code HKS, which is now used for private air traffic only.
Underway is the Airport Parkway project. The environmental impact study is complete and final plans are drawn and awaiting Mississippi Department of Transportation approval. Right-of-way acquisition is underway at an estimated cost of $19 million. The Airport Parkway will connect High Street in downtown Jackson to Mississippi Highway 475 in Flowood at Jackson-Evers International Airport. The Airport Parkway Commission consists of the Mayor of Pearl, the Mayor of Flowood and the Mayor of Jackson, as the Airport Parkway will run through and have access from each of these three cities.
Runs north-south from Chicago through Jackson towards Brookhaven, McComb, and the Louisiana state line to New Orleans. Jackson is roughly halfway between New Orleans and Memphis, Tennessee. The highway maintains eight to ten lanes in northern part of city, six lanes in the center and four lanes south of I-20.
Runs east-west from near El Paso, Texas to Florence, South Carolina. Jackson is roughly halfway between Dallas, Texas and Atlanta, Georgia. The highway is six lanes from Interstate 220 to MS 468 in Pearl.
Connects Interstates 55 and 20 on the north and west sides of the city and is four lanes throughout its route.
U.S. Highway 51
Known in Jackson as State Street, roughly parallels Interstate 55 from the I-20/I-55 western split to downtown. It multiplexes with I-55 from Pearl/Pascagoula St northward to County Line Road, where the two highways split.
U.S. Highway 80
Roughly parallels Interstate 20.
JATRAN (Jackson Transit System) operates hourly or half-hourly during daytime hours on weekdays, and mostly hourly on Saturdays. No evening or Sunday service is operated.
Jackson is served by the Canadian National Railway (formerly the Illinois Central Railroad). The Kansas City Southern Railway also serves the city. The Canadian National has a medium-sized yard downtown which Mill Street parallels and the Kansas City Southern has a large classification yard in Richland. Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Jackson. The Amtrak station is located at 300 West Capitol Street. Amtrak's southbound City of New Orleans provides service from Jackson to New Orleans and some points between. The northbound City of New Orleans provides service from Jackson to Memphis, Carbondale, Champaign-Urbana, Chicago and some points between. Efforts to establish service with another Amtrak train, the Crescent Star, an extension of the Crescent westward from Meridian, Mississippi to Dallas, Texas, failed in 2003.