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Raleigh, Mississippi
Smith County Courthouse in Raleigh
Smith County Courthouse in Raleigh
Location of Raleigh, Mississippi
Location of Raleigh, Mississippi
Raleigh, Mississippi is located in the United States
Raleigh, Mississippi
Raleigh, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Smith
 • Total 5.11 sq mi (13.23 km2)
 • Land 5.10 sq mi (13.20 km2)
 • Water 0.01 sq mi (0.03 km2)
545 ft (166 m)
 • Total 1,462
 • Estimate 
 • Density 276.88/sq mi (106.91/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 601
FIPS code 28-60840
GNIS feature ID 0694503

Raleigh is a town in, and the county seat of, Smith County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 1,462 at the 2010 census, making it the largest town in Smith County. Named for English explorer Sir Walter Raleigh, Raleigh has been home to such Mississippians as Governor Robert Lowry, Governor/U.S. Senator Anselm McLaurin and pioneer William H. Hardy.


Raleigh was first established as the community of Indian Springs and was renamed when the county seat was moved from Fairfield to Raleigh in 1834. The town of Raleigh and its citizens were very active in the Civil War; it was home to numerous companies of the Army of Mississippi and a training camp. In 1863, Raleigh was part of Grierson's Raid which played a major role in the defeat of the Confederate Army at Vicksburg.

Harrison Hotel

The Harrison Hotel, now closed, is a famous hotel. Many Mississippi politicians, governors and U.S. Senators have stayed there, including Theodore G. Bilbo and Jefferson Davis.

Smith County Courthouse

The Smith County Courthouse is the major focal point of the town. Two earlier courthouses were destroyed in fires in the 1800s. The current court house was completed in 1912; but a leak in the roof caused the eventual loss of its signature dome. In 2005, a dedication service was held in honor of a new dome built as a replacement.

A new Chancery Court building was completed in 2009 to make room for county offices and added court room space. The new Chancery Court building is designed in a similar Greek revival design which resembles the County Courthouse.


Raleigh's tornado activity is slightly above the state's average and 187% above the national average.


Raleigh is located at 32°1′59″N 89°31′22″W / 32.03306°N 89.52278°W / 32.03306; -89.52278 (32.033008, -89.522893).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 5.1 square miles (13 km2), of which 5.0 square miles (13 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) (0.40%) is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1940 644
1950 580 −9.9%
1960 614 5.9%
1970 1,018 65.8%
1980 998 −2.0%
1990 1,291 29.4%
2000 1,255 −2.8%
2010 1,462 16.5%
2019 (est.) 1,411 −3.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

2020 census

Raleigh racial composition
Race Num. Perc.
White (non-Hispanic) 662 60.51%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 394 36.01%
Native American 4 0.37%
Asian 3 0.27%
Other/Mixed 18 1.65%
Hispanic or Latino 13 1.19%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 1,094 people, 435 households, and 255 families residing in the town.


Raleigh is the site of the annual Raleigh heritage festival and is the former home of The National Tobacco Spitting Contest.


Raleigh is served by the Smith County School District.

Raleigh High School is the educational center for the towns of Raleigh, Polkville and Sylvarena. Its school colors are maroon and white. Its mascot is Rah-Lee the Lion.

Notable people

  • Christopher "Big Black" Boykin, American entertainer and musician
  • Bobby Keyes, Professional American, Canadian defensive back Edmonton Eskimos CFL
  • Donte Moncrief, (American Football) Wide Receiver Houston Texans
  • Mark Tullos, lawyer and current state representative
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