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Leflore County, Mississippi facts for kids

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Leflore County
Leflore County Courthouse
Leflore County Courthouse
Map of Mississippi highlighting Leflore County
Location within the U.S. state of Mississippi
Map of the United States highlighting Mississippi
Mississippi's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Mississippi
Founded 1871
Named for Greenwood LeFlore
Seat Greenwood
Largest city Greenwood
 • Total 606 sq mi (1,570 km2)
 • Land 593 sq mi (1,540 km2)
 • Water 14 sq mi (40 km2)  2.3%
 • Total 32,317
 • Estimate 
 • Density 53.33/sq mi (20.590/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Leflore County is a county located in the U.S. state of Mississippi. As of the 2010 census, the population was 32,317. The county seat is Greenwood. The county is named for Choctaw leader Greenwood LeFlore, who signed a treaty to cede his people's land to the United States in exchange for land in Indian Territory. LeFlore stayed in Mississippi, settling on land reserved for him in Tallahatchie County.

Leflore County is part of the Greenwood, MS Micropolitan Statistical Area. It is located in the Mississippi Delta region, with its southern border formed by the Yazoo River. Its riverfront lands were developed before the Civil War as cotton plantations. More inland areas were developed in the later 19th century.

Leflore County, which is still largely rural, is noted for having the highest level of child poverty of any county in the United States. Mechanization of agriculture reduced jobs available for many workers in the 20th century, and there are few opportunities. The population has declined dramatically since its peak in 1930 as people continue to leave for opportunities elsewhere.


Leflore County was formed in 1871 during the Reconstruction era from portions of Carroll, Sunflower and Tallahatchie counties. It was named for Greenwood Leflore, a Choctaw chief. During the period of Indian Removal in the 1830s, he was one of the chiefs who signed the Treaty of 1830, by the terms of which the Choctaw sold to the US their remaining lands east of the Mississippi River. Most Choctaw migrated to the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma), but Leflore and some others remained in Mississippi. He became a state and US citizen, a planter owning African-American slaves, and at times served as a politician.

Following the American Civil War, during Reconstruction the majority-black population of freedmen in the county gained emancipation and suffrage, participating for the first time in formal politics. They supported the Republican Party, as President Abraham Lincoln had gained their freedom. In the mid-1870s, the paramilitary Red Shirts developed chapters in Mississippi. They worked to disrupt Republican meetings, suppress the black vote, and turn Republicans out of office so that white Democrats could regain control of the state legislature.

In 1890 the state legislature passed a new constitution that had a variety of devices to disenfranchise blacks; they developed ways around court cases that tried to dismantle these, and kept blacks excluded from the political system and racially segregated into the 1960s. In the first half of the 20th century, many blacks left rural counties such as Leflore, in the Great Migration to northern and midwestern industrial cities in search of jobs and education: many people went north by train to Chicago, taking their music with them and changing the big city forever.

As with other parts of the majority-black Delta, Leflore County was a major site of activism and violence during the Civil Rights Movement.

In 1963, the county had more than 13,000 blacks of legal voting age, and fewer than 270 were registered because of discrimination and suppression by whites. Blacks had been essentially disfranchised since implementation of Mississippi's new constitution in 1890, establishing poll taxes, literacy tests and other registration barriers. Meanwhile, 95% of eligible white voters were registered.

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee had moved its headquarters to Greenwood in early 1963, and by late March of that year, eight SNCC members were arrested while trying to register voters. The United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division filed suit against the city of Greenwood and Leflore county to obtain their release. The petition was denied by a local court, but the city of Greenwood entered into a voluntary agreement to release the students. In June 1963, 45 residents of Itta Bena were arrested in Leflore County while protesting an attack on churches where voter registration drives were being held. The Civil Rights Division filed suit against the county to obtain their release as well, but to no avail. Passage of civil rights legislation by Congress in 1964 and 1965 began to change the ground rules.

Organizers and marchers returned in 1966 to the county as part of the March Against Fear, initiated by James Meredith, who was shot and wounded by a white man two days into the march. Major civil rights leaders and marchers from a variety of organizations vowed to continue his march of more than 220 miles from Memphis, Tennessee to Jackson, Mississippi. By the time they reached Greenwood, several hundred persons were in the group. They worked to organize and register voters, as most blacks in the county still lived in fear and had not registered. After previous attempts, the white county board had cut off federal commodity subsidies to the black community, threatening the survival of numerous poor families. SNCC helped organize a national gathering of food for county residents to overcome the boycott.

In 1966, Stokley Carmichael, a new leader of SNCC, spoke in Greenwood for "Black Power", saying that blacks had to build their own bases of political and economic power, as had Irish, Italian and Jewish immigrants to the United States.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 606 square miles (1,570 km2), of which 593 square miles (1,540 km2) is land and 14 square miles (36 km2) (2.3%) is water.

Major highways

  • US 49.svg U.S. Route 49E
  • US 82.svg U.S. Route 82
  • Circle sign 7.svg Mississippi Highway 7
  • Circle sign 8.svg Mississippi Highway 8

Adjacent counties

National protected area


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 10,246
1890 16,869 64.6%
1900 23,834 41.3%
1910 36,290 52.3%
1920 37,256 2.7%
1930 53,506 43.6%
1940 53,406 −0.2%
1950 51,813 −3.0%
1960 47,142 −9.0%
1970 42,111 −10.7%
1980 41,525 −1.4%
1990 37,341 −10.1%
2000 37,947 1.6%
2010 32,317 −14.8%
2018 (est.) 28,919 −10.5%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Leflore County racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 5,963 21.04%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 20,809 73.43%
Native American 15 0.05%
Asian 205 0.72%
Other/Mixed 507 1.79%
Hispanic or Latino 840 2.96%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 28,339 people, 9,962 households, and 6,050 families residing in the county.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 32,317 people living in the county. 72.2% were Black or African American, 24.9% White, 0.6% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 1.5% of some other race and 0.6% of two or more races. 2.3% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).




Census-designated place

  • Mississippi Valley State University

Unincorporated communities

Ghost town


Colleges and Universities

Mississippi Valley State University is located 1 mile (1.6 km) northwest of Itta Bena in an unincorporated area.

Additionally the county is in the district for Mississippi Delta Community College. The main campus is in Moorhead in Sunflower County.

Primary and secondary schools

  • Public School District: Greenwood-Leflore Consolidated School District, formed on July 1, 2019, from the consolidation of the Greenwood Public School District and the Leflore County School District
    • Greenwood High School (formerly of the Greenwood District)
    • Amanda Elzy High School (formerly of the Leflore Co. District)
    • Leflore County High School (formerly of the Leflore Co. District)
  • Private Schools
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