kids encyclopedia robot

Itta Bena, Mississippi facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Itta Bena, Mississippi
Home in the Woods
Home in the Woods
Location of Itta Bena, Mississippi
Location of Itta Bena, Mississippi
Itta Bena, Mississippi is located in the United States
Itta Bena, Mississippi
Itta Bena, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Mississippi
County Leflore
 • Total 1.46 sq mi (3.77 km2)
 • Land 1.41 sq mi (3.65 km2)
 • Water 0.04 sq mi (0.12 km2)
131 ft (40 m)
 • Total 2,049
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,282.07/sq mi (495.06/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-35260
GNIS feature ID 0671749

Itta Bena is a city in Leflore County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 2,049 at the 2010 census. The town's name is derived from the Choctaw phrase iti bina, meaning "forest camp". Itta Bena is part of the Greenwood, Mississippi micropolitan area. It developed as a trading center of an area of cotton plantations.


Early history of Itta Bena

Roebuck Lake
Roebuck Lake in Itta Bena
Itta Bena MS WWI parade Love and Service for Our Boys float
WW I parade float

Choctaw Indians occupied the Delta region prior to the arrival of European settlers. The first removal treaty carried out under the Indian Removal Act was the 1830 Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, which ceded about 11 million acres of the Choctaw Nation (now Mississippi) in exchange for about 15 million acres in Oklahoma.

Benjamin Grubb Humphreys, a state senator from Claiborne County, Mississippi, is credited with the founding of Itta Bena. Following several crop failures in the 1850s at his ancestral home in Claiborne County, Humphreys took a trip by river steamer up into the Yazoo wilderness to look for a new farming opportunity in the former Choctaw area.

He found such an opportunity on Roebuck Lake, a stretch of old channel the river had discarded a few miles west of Greenwood, in what was then Sunflower County. Bringing a group of slaves up from his plantations during the winter, when boats could pass from the Yazoo into Roebuck, he directed them to begin the long task of clearing farmland from the overgrown bottomland. Longtime Claiborne County friends became interested in his project, and the first of them began to acquire land in the area two years later.

Humphreys had established a permanent winter residence, "Lucknow," in Claiborne County. He did not bring his family to his plantation until he completed the building of a substantial home in 1857, christened "Itta Bena," the Choctaw words for "Home in the Woods." The walls of Itta Bena were made from logs felled in clearing the plantation, plastered and painted. It was the earliest substantial residence built in the wild Yazoo country and was the center of activity for the plantation’s many hundred acres. The main portion of the original Humphreys home was still in use as a residence in 1954 (thought to be the home of Dr. B. B. Harper on Lakefront Street). Following the Civil War, Humphreys was elected as governor of Mississippi.

As other settlers moved into the area, the village that grew up around the plantation was also called Itta Bena. The rate of growth increased after the Columbus and Greenville Railway was begun in 1888. Among the first to build stores were J. B. Humphreys, P. Cohen, and Uriah Ray. The first store was operated by H. M. Weber and a man named Long. The town’s first school, a one-room building, was built in 1888 and Miss Emma Cross served as the first teacher. The first high school was erected in 1905 across from the present-day First Baptist Church. The post office in Itta Bena was opened in 1918.

Recent history

On a march between Itta Bena and nearby Greenwood, coordinated by the SNCC but led by Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael coined the rallying phrase "Black power!". Byron de la Beckwith, widely known at that time as the un-convicted murderer of Medgar Evers, drove his truck by the marchers three times while the local police looked on.


Itta Bena is located at 33°29′45″N 90°19′20″W / 33.49583°N 90.32222°W / 33.49583; -90.32222 (33.495968, -90.322321). According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.5 square miles (3.9 km2), of which 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (2.72%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 416
1910 1,427 243.0%
1920 1,620 13.5%
1930 1,370 −15.4%
1940 1,795 31.0%
1950 1,725 −3.9%
1960 1,914 11.0%
1970 2,489 30.0%
1980 2,904 16.7%
1990 2,377 −18.1%
2000 2,208 −7.1%
2010 2,049 −7.2%
2019 (est.) 1,809 −11.7%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Itta Bena racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 80 4.76%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 1,550 92.32%
Other/Mixed 24 1.43%
Hispanic or Latino 25 1.49%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,679 people, 605 households, and 392 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,049 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 89.2% Black, 10.1% White, <0.1% Native American and 0.1% from two or more races. 0.5% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In popular culture

The city was mentioned in the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? when the character playing Baby Face Nelson asked the escaped convicts walking down a dusty dirt road if this was "the road to Itta Bena"?


Mississippi Valley State University is located 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Itta Bena in unincorporated Leflore County. It was the state of Mississippi's black vocational college before educational segregation ended. Jerry Rice, widely considered one of the greatest American football receivers of all time, spent his college days playing for the university's team. The Delta Devils play at Itta Bena's 10,000-seat Rice–Totten Stadium.

The City of Itta Bena is served by the Greenwood-Leflore Consolidated School District. Public schools in Itta Bena include Leflore County Elementary School and Leflore County High School. It was previously in the Leflore County School District. Effective July 1, 2019 this district consolidated into the Greenwood-Leflore School District.

Notable people

  • Smoky Babe, blues musician.
  • Marion Barry, civil rights activist, city councilman and former mayor of Washington, D.C.
  • James Bevel, civil rights activist.
  • Robert "Big Mojo" Elem, Chicago blues bass guitarist and singer.
  • Katie Hall, U.S. Representative from Indiana; attended Mississippi Valley State University in Itta Bena.
  • Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson, blues musician.
  • B.B. King, blues musician was born near Itta Bena in 1925.
  • Lewis Nordan, author grew up in Itta Bena.
  • Robert Petway, delta blues musician was possibly born here in 1903
  • Pervis Spann, broadcaster and music promoter.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Itta Bena para niños

kids search engine
Itta Bena, Mississippi Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.