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Philadelphia, Mississippi
Neshoba County courthouse in Philadelphia
Neshoba County courthouse in Philadelphia
Location of Philadelphia, Mississippi
Location of Philadelphia, Mississippi
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Neshoba
Named for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Area
 • Total 12.22 sq mi (31.66 km2)
 • Land 12.21 sq mi (31.63 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.04 km2)
Elevation
423 ft (129 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 7,477
 • Estimate 
(2019)
7,078
 • Density 579.64/sq mi (223.81/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
39350
Area code(s) 601
FIPS code 28-56960
GNIS feature ID 0675674
Website City of Philadelphia

Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,477 at the 2010 census.

History

Williams Brothers store
Williams Brothers Store
Beacon Street, Courthouse Square, Philadelphia, Mississippi
Courthouse Square

The region of Neshoba County and the surrounding counties was the heart of the Choctaw Nation from the 17th century until the removal of most of the people in the 1830s. European-American settlers began to arrive in numbers in the early decades of the nineteenth century, after French, British and Spanish traders developed business relationships with the Choctaw.

Philadelphia is incorporated as a municipality; it was given its current name in 1903, two years before the railroad brought new opportunities and prosperity to the town. The history of the town and its influences- social, political and economic- can be seen in the many points of interest within and beyond the city limits. These range from the large ceremonial Indian mound and cave at Nanih Waiya, built approximately 1700 years ago and sacred to the Choctaw; to the still thriving Williams Brothers Store, a true old-fashioned general store founded in 1907 and featured in National Geographic in 1939 as a source of anything from “needles to horse collars”, and still offering everything from bridles, butter and boots to flour, feed and fashion.

Native American

Many thousands of years ago, Paleo-Indians lived in what today is referred to as the American South. The Native American Choctaw people are descended from the Mississippian and other societies in the Mississippi river valley encountered by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. The Choctaw arose as a distinct people in the early 17th century and had trade relations with the French, British and Spanish during the colonial period.

After the United States victory in the American Revolutionary War, Choctaw lands Alabama and Mississippi were encroached on by European-American settlers. Trying to create a boundary, they ceded land in several treaties with the United States, but settlers kept arriving in their territory. By 1830, after passage of the Indian Removal Act, the Choctaw were forced to choose between removal to west of the Mississippi River, or becoming U.S. citizens and submitting to federal and state laws in Mississippi. Choctaw chiefs realized that removal was inevitable and had decided that military resistance was futile.

Greenwood LeFlore, elected the Principal Chief of all three divisions that year, negotiated and signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in an effort to get the best arrangements for the Choctaw that he could. They were granted the largest amount of land in Indian Territory, in the fertile southeast, in exchange for ceding the remainder of their traditional homeland in Mississippi and Alabama.

They also were granted the option of remaining on reserved land in Mississippi as United States citizens, but the government did not give them all the land that they believed they deserved. The treaty represented one of the largest transfers of land that was signed between the US government and Native Americans without being instigated by warfare. The migration became known as the Choctaw Trail of Tears.

Reagan's visit

On August 3, 1980, Ronald Reagan gave his first post-convention speech at the Neshoba County Fair after being officially chosen as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. He said, "I believe in states' rights ... I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them".

Dupree's record breaker

Marcus Dupree played high school football for the Philadelphia High School Tornadoes from 1978 to 1981. He was an outstanding athlete who was widely recognized for his achievements. Dupree scored 87 touchdowns total during his playing time in high school, breaking the record set by Herschel Walker by one. In 1981, Marcus's final High School football game was played at Warriors Stadium of the tribal high school at the Choctaw Indian Reservation. The author Willie Morris described the audience at Dupree's final high school game as "the most distinctive crowd I had ever seen ... four thousand or so people seemed almost an equal of mix of whites, blacks, and Indians ... "

First black mayor

In May 2009, Philadelphia elected its first black mayor, James A. Young, a 53-year-old Pentecostal preacher and a former county supervisor. He defeated Rayburn Waddell, a white, three-term incumbent, by 46 votes in the Democratic primary (there was no Republican challenger). Jim Prince, publisher of the local The Neshoba Democrat newspaper said, "Philadelphia will always be connected to what happened here in 1964, but the fact that Philadelphia, Mississippi, with its notorious past, could elect a black man as mayor, it might be time to quit picking on Philadelphia, Mississippi." Young's campaign staff credited Barack Obama's presidential campaign for increasing registration of black and young voters in Philadelphia, many of whom voted for Young. Young's term began July 3, 2009.

Philadelphia Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi seen from the east end of town.
Philadelphia Neshoba County Library
Philadelphia - Neshoba County Library

Geography

Philadelphia is located at 32°46′27″N 89°6′46″W / 32.77417°N 89.11278°W / 32.77417; -89.11278 (32.774070, -89.112891).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.6 square miles (27 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) are land and 0.04-square-mile (0.10 km2) (0.19%) is water.

Demographics

As of the census of 2000, there were 7,303 people, 2,950 households, and 1,899 families residing in the city. The population density was 688.1 people per square mile (265.8/km2). There were 3,302 housing units at an average density of 311.1 per square mile (120.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 55.54% White, 40.12% African American, 2.01% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 1.51% of the population.

Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 101
1910 1,209
1920 1,669 38.0%
1930 2,560 53.4%
1940 3,711 45.0%
1950 4,472 20.5%
1960 5,017 12.2%
1970 6,274 25.1%
1980 6,434 2.6%
1990 6,758 5.0%
2000 7,303 8.1%
2010 7,477 2.4%
2019 (est.) 7,078 −5.3%
Source: 1910–2010

There were 2,950 households, out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 20.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 26.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,438, and the median income for a family was $30,756. Males had a median income of $30,731 versus $20,735 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,787. About 25.1% of families and 28.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.1% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Museums and other points of interest

Education

PhiladelphiaHSMS
Philadelphia High School

The City of Philadelphia is served by the Philadelphia Public School District.

Infrastructure

Public utilities

Cable television services for the city of Philadelphia are contracted to MetroCast Communications. Electrical utilities, as well as water and sewer service, are provided by the City of Philadelphia as Philadelphia Utilities. The natural gas utility is CenterPoint Energy. AT&T is the local telephone service provider.

Notable people

  • Adam Monroe Byrd, U.S. Congressman and practicing lawyer in Philadelphia, Mississippi
  • Billy Cannon, college and pro football player, 1959 Heisman Trophy winner
  • Turner Catledge, former editor-in-chief for the Chicago Sun
  • Marcus Dupree, football player in NFL and USFL, also known for building the Mount Nebo Baptist Church in Philadelphia; subject of "The Best That Never Was", an episode in ESPN's 30 for 30 series
  • Bob Ferguson, RCA Victor record producer and songwriter, known for his song "On the Wings of a Dove" that was recorded first by Ferlin Husky in the early 1960s
  • Michael Wilson Hardy, country music singer-songwriter and goes by the name Hardy
  • Iris Kelso, journalist
  • Phillip Martin, Chief of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians
  • Fred McAfee, player for New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers, Director of Player Development for Saints
  • Joe H. Mulholland, lawyer and Mississippi state senator
  • Lallah Miles Perry, painter and artist
  • Earl S. Richardson, longtime Mississippi state legislator
  • Otis Rush, musician in Blues Hall of Fame
  • Marty Stuart, country music entertainer and Grand Ole Opry star

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