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Columbia, Mississippi
Marion County courthouse in Columbia
Marion County courthouse in Columbia
Location of Columbia, Mississippi
Location of Columbia, Mississippi
Columbia, Mississippi is located in the United States
Columbia, Mississippi
Columbia, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Marion
 • Total 6.76 sq mi (17.50 km2)
 • Land 6.75 sq mi (17.49 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
148 ft (45 m)
 • Total 6,582
 • Estimate 
 • Density 864.23/sq mi (333.66/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 601
FIPS code 28-15340
GNIS feature ID 0668715

Columbia is a U.S. city in and the county seat of Marion County, Mississippi, which was formed six years before Mississippi was admitted to statehood. Columbia was named for Columbia, South Carolina, from which many of the early settlers had migrated. The population was 6,582 as of the 2010 census.


Columbia is the county seat of Marion County, Mississippi. Marion county was created out of Amite county in 1811, encompassing the southwest quarter of the current state of Mississippi. Before statehood in 1816, there were three territorial census/poll tax records taken of what was deemed Marion County at the time. These records reveal that during 1813, several LOTT men arrived and settled on the Pearl River in what is now Columbia. In 1813, William Lot was the largest slave holder near present-day Columbia, owning 28 slaves. There were five men, who settled south of present-day Columbia on 2,789 acres of land with 65 slaves. North of present-day Columbia, on what was the earliest attempt at a town, was Timothy Terrell on 3,151 acres with 32 slaves.

The land on which the current City of Columbia resides was first purchased for cash on April 18, 1820,by William Lott and John Lott. This land is Township 3 East, Range 18 West, Section 5 (640 acres),which is the center of the City of Columbia today. Other early patent holders of Columbia include James Phillips, Jr., and John Cooper (1825),in Section 4 next to John and William Lott.

Columbia was officially incorporated on June 25, 1819, becoming the fourth municipality in the state of Mississippi. It served as the temporary capital of Mississippi from November, 1821, when the 5th session of the Mississippi Legislature first met there, until 1822. In that year, a special session of the legislature met in Columbia, inaugurating Governor Walter Leake, and selecting LeFleur's Bluff (now Jackson) as the permanent capital.[1].

Columbia, "The City of Charm on the River Pearl", has always been in danger of flooding, due to its bordering the Pearl River. The county courthouse, and records dating back to pre-statehood, has managed to survive war, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes. In its first 100 years, Columbia relied on the Pearl River for transportation of goods. The river was much deeper and wider than it is now. Steamboat captains, such as John Black, lived in Columbia.

During the Civil War, United States troops under the command of General Davidson camped outside Columbia, taking provisions from the citizens of the Conferdate States of America. The courthouse was spared. The Southern Claims Commission Files detail these events.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Columbia, and Marion County were the site of the most peaceful demonstrations, due to the diligent insistence of non-violence by Sheriff John Homer Willoughby. The town is known for its citizens ability to work together.

In 2004, Columbia suffered extensive damage from super storm Katrina. Once again, the courthouse survived. There was no looting, and citizens worked together with local churches, civic officials, and law enforcement to provide for citizens during the extensive power loss. Individuals immediately began helping their neighbors clear roads and escape being trapped in debris.

Former Mississippi governor and Columbia native Hugh L. White introduced white squirrels to the area, and they are still common in Columbia City Park. His home still stands today, a stately reminder of architecture of the past.

Pictures of Old Columbia

[2] On December 23, 2014, an EF3 tornado ripped through areas around Columbia, killing four people and causing widespread damage.


Columbia is located on the east bank of the Pearl River and is 81 miles south of Jackson, Mississippi and 103 miles north of New Orleans, Louisiana. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.4 square miles (17 km2), all land.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 66
1900 507
1910 2,029 300.2%
1920 2,826 39.3%
1930 4,833 71.0%
1940 6,064 25.5%
1950 6,124 1.0%
1960 7,117 16.2%
1970 7,587 6.6%
1980 7,733 1.9%
1990 6,815 −11.9%
2000 6,603 −3.1%
2010 6,582 −0.3%
2019 (est.) 5,837 −11.3%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Columbia racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 3,042 51.88%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 2,483 42.34%
Native American 15 0.26%
Asian 26 0.44%
Other/Mixed 154 2.63%
Hispanic or Latino 144 2.46%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 5,864 people, 2,080 households, and 1,155 families residing in the city.


Columbia High School MS
Columbia High School

The city of Columbia is served by the Columbia School District, with Columbia High School as the public high school. Prior to January 1970, black students were educated in a separate system with sub-par facilities, including John J. Jefferson High school, which became the middle school in January of 1970 when the schools were integrated. White politicians called for a public boycott of the school system. At that time, around 100 white students left the public school system to attend the newly founded whites-only Columbia Academy, which was created in September 1969 as a segregation academy to avoid racial integration. A few students also left to attend Improve Academy, another segregation academy founded by the Improve Baptist Church.

Notable people

  • Johnathan Abram - NFL safety for the Las Vegas Raiders
  • Texas Rose Bascom (1922-1993) - rodeo performer, trick roper, Hollywood actress, Mississippi Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee
  • Terrell Buckley - American football coach and former player
  • Logan Cooke - NFL punter for the Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Peggy Dow (Peggy Varnadow Helmerich) - film actress and philanthropist
  • Jim Dunaway - former NFL defensive tackle
  • Reverend John Ford - pioneering Methodist minister and early political leader
  • Bobby Hamilton - former NFL defensive end, two-time Super Bowl winner with New England Patriots
  • Claudis James - former NFL player
  • General Benjamin Lee - military leader and early political figure
  • Sylvester Magee - last living American slave, died in Columbia in 1971
  • Joseph T. "Joe" Owens (1945-2013) - former NFL defensive end
  • Eddie Payton - former NFL running back
  • Walter Payton - former NFL player in Pro Football Hall of Fame, born in Columbia
  • Hugh L. White - former Columbia mayor and two-term Governor of Mississippi

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Columbia (Misisipi) para niños

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