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McComb, Mississippi
City
Location of McComb, Mississippi
Location of McComb, Mississippi
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Pike
Area
 • Total 11.6 sq mi (30.1 km2)
 • Land 11.6 sq mi (30.0 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.2 km2)
Elevation 423 ft (129 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 13,644
 • Density 1,184/sq mi (424.4/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
ZIP codes 39648-39649
Area code(s) 601/ 769
FIPS code 28-43280
GNIS feature ID 0673307
Website McComb Mississippi

McComb is a city in Pike County, Mississippi, United States, approximately 80 miles (130 km) south of Jackson. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 13,644. It is the principal city of the McComb, Mississippi Micropolitan Statistical Area.

History

2542 Steam Locomotive - McComb MS
A steam locomotive on display in McComb

McComb was founded in 1872 after Henry Simpson McComb of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad, a predecessor of the Illinois Central Railroad (now part of the Canadian National Railway), decided to move the railroad's maintenance shops away from New Orleans, Louisiana, outside of the attractions of that city's saloons. Main Street has the downtown's shops, attractions, and business. The railroad purchased land in Pike County, and three nearby communities, Elizabethtown, Burglund, and Harveytown, agreed to consolidate to form this town.

The rail center in McComb was one of flashpoints in the violent Illinois Central shopmen's strike of 1911. The city saw riots, many injuries, at least three black strikebreakers killed, and the emergency insertion of state militia soon after the strike started on September 30.

During the 1960s, McComb and nearby areas were the site of extreme violence by KKK and other opponents to the Civil Rights Movement. In 1961, it was the location of SNCC's first voter registration project in the state, which was quickly met with violence and intimidation by authorities and local KKK. Fifteen-year-old Brenda Travis was expelled from high school for being in a sit-in at an all-white luncheonette and ordering a hamburger; she was sentenced to a year in a juvenile facility. In addition to physical attacks on activists, Herbert Lee, a member of the NAACP, was murdered in front of witnesses in nearby Liberty, Mississippi, by state representative E.H. Hurst, who was exonerated by an all-white coroner's jury. More than 100 black high school students in McComb were arrested in 1961 for protesting his murder. After severe beatings of staff, SNCC pulled out of the region in early 1962, moving north in Mississippi to work in slightly less dangerous conditions. In January 1964, Louis Allen was murdered in Liberty, Mississippi; a witness to Lee's murder, he had been suspected of talking to Department of Justice officials about it.

The song, "We Shall Never Turn Back," was related to the 1961 events in Amite and Pike counties. One verse said: "We have hung our heads and cried, Cried for those like Lee who died, Died for you and he died for me, Died for the cause of equality, But we'll never turn back..."

In 1964, civil rights activists began the Mississippi Project and what would be called Freedom Summer, returning to southwest Mississippi. They sang, "We Shall Never Turn Back." SNCC members of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) returned to McComb in mid-July, 1964 to work on voter registration. From late August 1964 through September, after passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, McComb was the setting for eleven bombings directed against African Americans. Malcolm Boyd took part of COFO's Freedom House as a member of a clerical delegation to assist African-American voter registration. The following summer, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and African Americans began to be able to register and vote again in the South. In Mississippi, most had been disenfranchised since 1890.

On October 20, 1977, a chartered plane carrying members and crew of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in a swamp near McComb, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, Steve's sister Cassie (a backup singer), and road manager Dean Kilpatrick.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.6 square miles (30 km2), of which 11.6 square miles (30 km2) is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) (0.54%) is water.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 1,982
1890 2,383 20.2%
1900 4,477 87.9%
1910 6,237 39.3%
1920 7,775 24.7%
1930 10,057 29.4%
1940 9,898 −1.6%
1950 10,401 5.1%
1960 12,020 15.6%
1970 11,969 −0.4%
1980 12,331 3.0%
1990 11,591 −6.0%
2000 13,337 15.1%
2010 12,790 −4.1%
Est. 2015 12,661 −1.0%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2010, there were 13,644 people and 5,073 households in the city. The population density was 1,184 people per square mile (424/km²). There were 5,825 housing units at an average density of 500.6 per square mile (193.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.29% African American, 31.22% White, 0.91% Asian, 0.17% Native American, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.53% from other races, and 0.82% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.41% of the population.

As of the 2000 census, there were 5,265 households out of which 33.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.5% were married couples living together, 25.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 32.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city, the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 9.5% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 16.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 78.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 71.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,507, and the median income for a family was $31,758. Males had a median income of $27,899 versus $17,402 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,790. About 27.4% of families and 31.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 43.7% of those under the age of 18 and 21.3% of those 65 and older.

Climate

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, McComb has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.


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