McComb, Mississippi

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McComb, Mississippi
Location of McComb, Mississippi
Location of McComb, Mississippi
McComb, Mississippi is located in the United States
McComb, Mississippi
McComb, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 31°14′40.10″N 90°28′17.73″W / 31.2444722°N 90.4715917°W / 31.2444722; -90.4715917Coordinates: 31°14′40.10″N 90°28′17.73″W / 31.2444722°N 90.4715917°W / 31.2444722; -90.4715917
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Pike
 • Mayor Quordiniah Lockley
 • Total 11.64 sq mi (30.14 km2)
 • Land 11.58 sq mi (29.98 km2)
 • Water 0.06 sq mi (0.15 km2)
423 ft (129 m)
 • Total 12,790
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,105.55/sq mi (426.86/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 601/ 769
FIPS code 28-43280
GNIS feature ID 0673307
Website McComb Mississippi

McComb is a city in Pike County, Mississippi, United States, approximately 80 miles (130 km) south of Jackson. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 12,790.[3] It is the principal city of the McComb, Mississippi Micropolitan Statistical Area.


A steam locomotive on display in McComb

McComb was founded in 1872 after Henry Simpson McComb of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad, a predecessor of the Illinois Central Railroad (now part of the Canadian National Railway), decided to move the railroad's maintenance shops away from New Orleans, Louisiana, to avoid the attractions of that city's saloons.

The railroad purchased land in Pike County. Three nearby communities, Elizabethtown, Burglund, and Harveytown, agreed to consolidate to form this town. Main Street developed with the downtown's shops, attractions, and business.

The rail center in McComb was one of flashpoints in the violent Illinois Central shopmen's strike of 1911. Riots took place here that resulted in many injuries, at least three black strikebreakers killed, and authorities bringing in state militia to suppress the emergency soon after the strike started on September 30.[4]

During the 1960s, McComb and nearby areas were the sites of extreme violence by KKK and other white supremacist opponents to the Civil Rights Movement. In 1961, SNCC conducted its first voter registration project in Mississippi in this city. White officials and local KKK members countered it with violence and intimidation to suppress black voters.

Fifteen-year-old Brenda Travis was expelled from high school for being in a sit-in at an all-white luncheonette, where she ordered a hamburger. She was convicted of trespassing and sentenced to a year in a state juvenile facility.

In addition to the physical attacks on activists, Herbert Lee, an older member of the NAACP, was murdered in front of witnesses at a cotton gin in nearby Liberty, Mississippi, by white state representative E.H. Hurst. The attacker claimed self-defense and was exonerated by an all-white coroner's jury. In 1961 more than 100 black high school students in McComb were arrested for protesting Lee's murder.[5]

After whites severely beat several staff members, SNCC pulled out of the region in early 1962. They moved north in Mississippi to work in slightly less dangerous conditions.

In January 1964, Louis Allen was murdered in Liberty, Mississippi, shortly before he planned to move north to join his brother in Minnesota. A married family man and member of the NAACP, he had been a witness to Lee's murder by Hurst in 1961, and he had been suspected of talking to US Department of Justice officials about it. They told him they could not offer him protection.[6]

The song, "We Shall Never Turn Back," was related to the 1961 events in Amite and Pike counties. One verse said: "We have hung our heads and cried, Cried for those like Lee who died, Died for you and he died for me, Died for the cause of equality, But we'll never turn back..."[6]

In 1964, civil rights activists began the Mississippi Project and what would be called Freedom Summer, with teams returning to southwest Mississippi. They sang, "We Shall Never Turn Back." SNCC members of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) returned to McComb in mid-July 1964 to work on voter registration. From late August 1964 through September, after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, McComb was the site of eleven bombings directed against African Americans.[6] Malcolm Boyd took part of COFO's Freedom House as a member of a clerical delegation to assist African-American voter registration.

The following summer, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 authorizing federal oversight and enforcement to enable blacks to register and vote again in the South. In Mississippi, most blacks had been disenfranchised since 1890. Even with enforcement, it took time to overcome local white resistance to black voting.

On October 20, 1977, a chartered plane carrying members and crew of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in a swamp near McComb, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, Steve's sister Cassie (a backup singer), and road manager Dean Kilpatrick.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.6 square miles (30 km2), of which 11.6 square miles (30 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.54%) is water.


The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, McComb has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.[7]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,982
1890 2,383 20.2%
1900 4,477 87.9%
1910 6,237 39.3%
1920 7,775 24.7%
1930 10,057 29.4%
1940 9,898 −1.6%
1950 10,401 5.1%
1960 12,020 15.6%
1970 11,969 −0.4%
1980 12,331 3.0%
1990 11,591 −6.0%
2000 13,337 15.1%
2010 12,790 −4.1%
Est. 2018 13,045 [2] 2.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]

As of the census[9] of 2010, there were 12,790 people and 5,073 households in the city. The population density was 1,184 people per square mile (424/km²). There were 5,825 housing units at an average density of 500.6 per square mile (193.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.29% African American, 31.22% White, 0.91% Asian, 0.17% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

As of the 2000 census, there were 5,265 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 25.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,507, and the median income for a family was $31,758. Males had a median income of $27,899 versus $17,402 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,790. About 27.4% of families and 31.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.7% of those under the age of 18 and 21.3% of those 65 and older.


The City of McComb is served by the McComb School District. There are 7 schools in the district, Otken Elementary, Kennedy Early Childhood Center, Higgins Middle School, Denman Jr. High School, McComb High School, Business & Technology Center, and Summit Academy. The McComb and the surrounding Pike County area has three separate school districts, three private schools, and a community college in the northern part of the county. St. Alphonsus Catholic Church is located in McComb and provides classes kindergarten through seventh grade. McComb is also the location of Parklane Academy, a K4 through 12th grade private college preparatory school. And Jubilee - Performing Arts - Center, a private school catered in the performing arts. It is the first of its kind in the Pike County Area. It is located in the central McComb region. Southwest Mississippi Community College is located seven miles north of McComb, and northeast of Summit, MS. McComb High School is one of the 100 National Model Schools.


Rail transportation

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to McComb. Amtrak trains 58 & 59, the City of New Orleans stop here.[10]

Notable people


  1. ^ "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Jan 6, 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved August 6, 2019.
  3. ^ "Mississippi: 2010" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. 2012-08-14. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  4. ^ Industrial Relations: Final Report and Testimony, United States Commission on Industrial Relations. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1916. pp. 9714–9719. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  5. ^ "Civil Rights Movement -- History & Timeline, 1961". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Peter Cummings, "11 New Bombings Continue Long Legacy of Violence In Southwestern Mississippi", First of three articles, The Crimson (Harvard), 30 September 1964, accessed 11 January 2015
  7. ^ "McComb, Mississippi Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  10. ^ "City of New Orleans Train Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans - Amtrak". Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  11. ^ "Bo Diddley". Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  12. ^ "Mississippi Blues Commission - Blues Trail". Retrieved 2008-05-28.
  13. ^ "Dunbar, Charles E." A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography. Archived from the original on September 25, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2010.
  14. ^ "Bio page". Vasti Jackson. 2014-07-13. Retrieved 2016-12-28.
  15. ^ "Obituaries: Barlow and Related Families". Baton Rouge State Times, March 12, 1990, p. 6-!. Retrieved May 7, 2010. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  16. ^ "Obituary - Dr. Jesse Dale Thorn, May 14, 2014". Ouachita Citizen. Retrieved May 17, 2014.

External links

  • McComb travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • McComb City Railroad Depot Museum
  • Civil Rights Movement Veterans ~ McComb Project
  • History of Civil Rights Movement in McComb
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