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Cleveland, Mississippi
A Different Kind of Delta
Location of Cleveland, Mississippi
Location of Cleveland, Mississippi
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Country United States
State Mississippi
County Bolivar
 • Total 7.58 sq mi (19.63 km2)
 • Land 7.58 sq mi (19.63 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
141 ft (43 m)
 • Total 11,199
 • Density 1,477.44/sq mi (570.5/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-14260
GNIS feature ID 0668601
Website City Website

Cleveland is a city in Bolivar County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 11,199 as of the 2020 United States Census.

Cleveland has a large commercial economy, with numerous restaurants, stores, and services along U.S. 61. Cleveland is one of the two county seats of Bolivar County (the other being Rosedale).


Named after President Grover Cleveland, the town began formation in 1869 as people moved inland from the Mississippi River. The Louisville, New Orleans & Texas Railroad ran through the town and a portion of the railroad remains there today. Early records show the community was called Fontaine in 1884 and at some point Coleman's Station. Moses W. Coleman built the first home on the bayou in the area. In 1885, it was officially named Sims after Rueben T. Sims, who owned part of the land on which the town stood. The village of Cleveland was chartered on March 25, 1886, and the United States Post Office recognized the town as such on August 5, 1887. It was Sims's son, B.C. Sims, who was responsible for the name change to Cleveland.

In 1967, Senators Robert F. Kennedy and Joseph S. Clark, Jr. began Senate hearings to assess the effectiveness of the War on Poverty programs. The first field hearings were held in Jackson, Mississippi, and the following day Kennedy and Clark set out to visit "pockets of poverty" in the Mississippi Delta. They arrived in Cleveland, along with Marian Wright and Peter Edelman, for a tour conducted by Amzie Moore. There they observed barefoot, underfed African-American children in tattered clothing, with vacant expressions and distended bellies. Kennedy told Edelman that he thought he had seen the worst poverty in the nation in West Virginia, but it paled in comparison to the poverty he observed in Cleveland.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.3 square miles (19 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 479
1910 1,001 109.0%
1920 1,674 67.2%
1930 3,240 93.5%
1940 4,189 29.3%
1950 6,747 61.1%
1960 10,172 50.8%
1970 13,327 31.0%
1980 14,524 9.0%
1990 15,384 5.9%
2000 13,841 −10.0%
2010 12,334 −10.9%
2019 (est.) 11,073 −10.2%
U.S. Decennial Census
Bologna Performing Arts Center
Bologna Performing Arts Center in Cleveland, Mississippi
Ellis Theater - Cleveland, MS
Ellis Theater in Cleveland

2020 census

Cleveland Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 4,887 43.64%
Black or African American 5,519 49.28%
Native American 5 0.04%
Asian 188 1.68%
Pacific Islander 7 0.02%
Other/Mixed 316 2.82%
Hispanic or Latino 284 2.54%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 11,199 people, 4,266 households, and 2,611 families residing in the city.

Arts and culture

Mississippi Blues Trail

Two Mississippi Blues Trail markers are located in Cleveland. The first marker recognizes Chrisman Street, which once served as the center of African-American business and social life in Cleveland. The second marker celebrates blues musician W. C. Handy.

The Grammy Museum Mississippi opened in 2015.


Colleges and universities

  • Delta State University

Bolivar County residents have residency for two community colleges: Coahoma Community College and Mississippi Delta Community College. Their main campuses respectively are in unincorporated Coahoma County and Moorhead in Sunflower County.

Primary and secondary schools

The City of Cleveland is served by the Cleveland School District. Schools within the Cleveland city limits include:

  • Cleveland Central High School – Formed in mid-2017 by the consolidation of Cleveland High School and East Side High School, occupying the former Cleveland High School and Margaret Green Junior High School.
  • Cleveland Central Middle School – Formed in mid-2017 by the consolidation of D.M. Smith Middle School and Margaret Green Junior High School, located at the former East Side High School campus.
  • Nailor Elementary School
  • Cypress Parks Elementary School
  • Pearman Elementary School
  • Parks Elementary School
  • D. M. Smith Elementary


  • Alternative School
  • Cleveland Voc Tech Complex
Private schools
  • K-12: Bayou Academy
  • K-6: Presbyterian Day School

Previously ethnic Chinese students were required to attend separate schools, something that persisted into the 1940s. The Chinese Mission School educated them. This building was demolished in 2003.


Fire services

The Cleveland Volunteer Fire Department is currently rated Class 4 by the State Rating Bureau and has three paid employees and 37 volunteer fire fighters. The paid employees include a Fire Inspector, Maintenance Engineer and Maintenance Assistant. All other positions are volunteer. The department operates from three separate fire stations, including a new station at the Cleveland Municipal Airport that opened in late 2011 and utilizes four front line pumpers, two rescue/utility vehicles, an aerial platform pumper, an airport/crash rescue truck, one Ford F-2500 with a bed mounted deluge gun, a Hazardous Materials Response Unit and one backup pumper for its daily operations. The department also operates a training facility that is home to a rope rescue tower, smoke house, ventilation simulator, confined space maze, drafting pit, and a Class A burn facility.

Notable people

  • Bobby Bradford – jazz trumpeter, cornetist, bandleader, and composer
  • Amzie Moore – Civil rights activist
  • Walter Rhodes – blues accordionist and singer
  • Bobbie L. Steele – 32nd president of Chicago's Cook County Board of Commissioners
  • Larry Speakes – acting spokesman for the White House under President Ronald Reagan
  • Professional baseball players:
    • Dave Ferriss
    • Chet "Chick" Morgan
    • Josh Hancock
    • Kevin Rogers
  • Professional football players:
    • Shane Matthews
    • Floyd Womack
    • Pat Coleman
    • Ken Lucas
    • John Eubanks
    • Lou Rash
  • Johnny O'Bryant III – professional basketball player
  • Margaret Wade – Basketball Hall of Fame Coach, namesake of the Wade Trophy

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