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Leland, Mississippi
City of Leland
LelandMSWelcomeSign.jpg
Leland, Mississippi is located in Mississippi
Leland, Mississippi
Leland, Mississippi
Location in Mississippi
Leland, Mississippi is located in the United States
Leland, Mississippi
Leland, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country  United States
State  Mississippi
County Washington
Settled 1834
Incorporated February 20, 1886
Founded by Captain James Alexander Ventress Feltus (1840-1908)
Government
 • Type Mayor–Council
Area
 • Total 3.63 sq mi (9.41 km2)
 • Land 3.58 sq mi (9.28 km2)
 • Water 0.05 sq mi (0.13 km2)
Elevation
125 ft (38 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 4,481
 • Estimate 
(2019)
3,766
 • Density 1,051.07/sq mi (405.78/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
38756
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-40280
GNIS feature ID 0672400

Leland is a city in Washington County, Mississippi, United States. It is located within the Mississippi Delta, on the banks of Deer Creek. The population was 4,481 at the 2010 census. It was once a railway town and had long been a center of cotton culture, which is still an important commodity crop in the rural area. It was once considered the second-largest city in Washington County in 1920 due to its rapid growth of residents, businesses, and schools.

Since before the Civil War, farming has been the basis of the local economy. There are several privately-owned farms within and around the boundaries of the town. Mississippi State University and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintain an agriculture research station at Stoneville on Leland's outskirts. Other agricultural companies in the area are Lauren Farms BASF Stoneville Cotton, Bayer Crops Science, GreenPoint Ag, Azlin Seed Service, Corteva Agriscience™, Pettiet Agricultural Services, Inc., Nutrien Ag SolutionsTM, K-I Chemical U.S.A., Greenland Planting Company, Ayers-Delta Implement, Edward's Flying Service, Essie Patterson Farm Trucking, and Southern Seed Association. Cotton, soybeans, rice and corn are the leading commodity crops along with catfish.

A number of national and regionally noted blues musicians are from Leland. There are five Mississippi Blues Trail markers in Leland commemorating the small town's significant contribution to blues history. Highway 61, mentioned in numerous blues recordings, runs through the town and gives its name to the community's blues museum. Leland is the burial place of the folk artist and blues musician James "Son" Thomas, who lived for many years near the railroad tracks. Thomas is buried beneath a gravestone donated by Mt. Zion Memorial Fund, to which musician John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival was a yearly contributor.

Blues musician Johnny Winter spent part of his childhood in Leland. Winter's grandfather and father, a former mayor of Leland, operated J.D. Winter & Sons, a cotton business. One of the Blues Trail markers in Leland is dedicated to Winter.

The community is the childhood home of puppeteer Jim Henson, who was born in nearby Greenville, but raised in Leland. Here he created the character of Kermit the Frog, a Muppet. The city has a museum along the banks of Deer Creek celebrating Henson's accomplishments called the Jim Henson Exhibit.

Leland was selected as the site for the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum, opened in 2016.

Background

The town is located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta on the banks of Deer Creek, which is decorated each Christmas season with floats that attract visitors from afar to view the colorful displays. Farming is the basis of the local economy, as it was since before the Civil War. Mississippi State University and the federal government maintain an agriculture research station at Stoneville on Leland's outskirts. Cotton, soybeans, rice and corn are the leading commodity crops.

Leland is in the heart of blues country and has produced a number of national and regionally famous blues musicians. There are five Mississippi Blues Trail markers in Leland commemorating the small town's significant contribution to blues history. Highway 61, mentioned in numerous blues recordings, runs through the town and gives its name to the community's blues museum. Leland is the burial place of the folk artist and blues musician James "Son" Thomas, who lived for many years near the railroad tracks. Thomas is buried beneath a gravestone donated by musician John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Blues musician Johnny Winter spent part of his childhood in Leland. Winter’s grandfather and father, a former mayor of Leland, operated J.D. Winter & Sons, a cotton business. One of the Blues Trail markers in Leland is dedicated to Winter.

The community is the childhood home of puppeteer Jim Henson, who was born in nearby Greenville, but raised in Leland. Here he created the character of Kermit the Frog, a Muppet. The city has a museum along the banks of Deer Creek celebrating Henson's accomplishments.

U.S. Post Office
U.S. Post Office, 204 N. Broad St. Leland
Rex theatre
Rex Theatre for Colored People in Leland, 1937, by Dorothea Lange

Leland was selected as the site for the Mississippi Wildlife Heritage Museum, scheduled to open in 2016.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2), of which 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (1.44%) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1890 485
1900 762 57.1%
1910 1,547 103.0%
1920 2,003 29.5%
1930 2,426 21.1%
1940 3,700 52.5%
1950 4,736 28.0%
1960 6,295 32.9%
1970 6,000 −4.7%
1980 6,667 11.1%
1990 6,366 −4.5%
2000 5,502 −13.6%
2010 4,481 −18.6%
2019 (est.) 3,766 −16.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Leland Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 990 24.82%
Black or African American 2,847 71.39%
Native American 1 0.03%
Asian 17 0.43%
Other/Mixed 97 2.43%
Hispanic or Latino 36 0.9%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 3,988 people, 1,642 households, and 1,032 families residing in the city.

2013 ACS

As of the 2013 American Community Survey, there were 4,427 people living in the city. 74.3% were African American, 24.8% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.1% from some other race and 0.2% from two or more races. 0.4% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Education

The City of Leland is served by the Leland School District. Leland High School is the sole high school. Leland School Park is the sole middle school. Edna M. Scott Elementary is the sole elementary school.

Infrastructure

Notable people

  • James "Son" Thomas, blues musician, gravedigger, and sculptor.
  • Douglas A. Blackmon, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Slavery by Another Name, grew up in Leland.
  • Johnie Cooks, former college and professional football player at Mississippi State University and the NFL, is from Leland.
  • Jim Henson, puppeteer and creator of The Muppets, grew up in Leland.
  • Thelma Houston, singer/actress, was born in Leland.
  • Antonio Johnson, professional football player.
  • Wadada Leo Smith, a jazz trumpeter and composer, is from Leland.
  • Bob Taylor, baseball player.
  • Johnny Winter, blues musician, spent part of his childhood in Leland.
  • Matt Miller graduated at Leland High School in 1990; He was a former Major League Pitcher who has since retired.
  • Eddie Cusic, blues musician, was born in Wilmot, near Leland, where he spent most of his life.

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