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Yazoo City, Mississippi
City of Yazoo City
Gateway to the Delta
Location of Yazoo City, Mississippi
Location of Yazoo City, Mississippi
Yazoo City, Mississippi is located in Mississippi
Yazoo City, Mississippi
Yazoo City, Mississippi
Location in Mississippi
Yazoo City, Mississippi is located in the United States
Yazoo City, Mississippi
Yazoo City, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country United States of America
State Mississippi
County Yazoo
 • Total 9.96 sq mi (25.80 km2)
 • Land 9.84 sq mi (25.48 km2)
 • Water 0.12 sq mi (0.32 km2)
112 ft (34 m)
 • Total 11,403
 • Estimate 
 • Density 1,104.80/sq mi (426.58/km2)
Time zone UTC−6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC−5 (CDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-81520
GNIS feature ID 0679921
Website City of Yazoo City

Yazoo City is a U.S. city in Yazoo County, Mississippi. It was named after the Yazoo River, which, in turn was named by the French explorer Robert La Salle in 1682 as "Rivière des Yazous" in reference to the Yazoo tribe living near the river's mouth. It is the county seat of Yazoo County and the principal city of the Yazoo City Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Jackson–Yazoo City Combined Statistical Area. According to the 2010 census, the population was 11,403. The most important industry in 2021 is a group of federal prisons.


Yazoo City is located at 32°51′23″N 90°24′27″W / 32.85639°N 90.40750°W / 32.85639; -90.40750 (32.856458, -90.407379), 40 miles northwest of Jackson at the junctions of U.S. Routes 49, 49E, and 49W, and MS Highways 3, 16, and 149, on the banks of the Yazoo River, near the Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

U.S. Route 49W provides a fairly direct link between Yazoo City and Belzoni. The old highway segment, renamed Mississippi Highway 149, passes through Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and the communities of Louise and Midnight before reconnecting with the new US 49W at Silver City, 7 mi south of Belzoni. The new highway makes the town of Carter so near, it might be considered for annexation by Yazoo City. Two bridges now cross the Yazoo River at Yazoo City.

The section of MS 3 in Yazoo City is called Haley Barbour Parkway. Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi, grew up in Yazoo City and has a home on Wolf Lake, a lake north of Yazoo City. U.S. Route 49 (part of which was formerly U.S. 49E) through Yazoo City is named Jerry Clower Boulevard, after the famous comedian, a former resident of Yazoo City.

Yazoo City is also known as the "Gateway to the Delta" due to its location on the transition between the two great landforms that characterize the geography of Mississippi (the western part of the city lies in the Mississippi Delta and the eastern part lies in the loess bluffs that characterize most of eastern Mississippi).

Ricks Memorial Library Yazoo
Ricks Memorial Library, Yazoo City

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.9 sq mi (28 km2), of which 10.8 sq mi (28 km2) is land and 0.1 sq mi (0.26 km2) (1.19%) is covered by water.


Young band boy, and overseer. Yazoo City, Miss. - NARA - 523426
Child Labor in Yazoo City, 1911, photo by Lewis Hine

The community now known as Yazoo City was founded in 1824 with the name Hannan's Bluff. It was later renamed Manchester, then changed to Yazoo City in 1841. Yazoo City became the county seat in 1849.

A yellow fever epidemic struck Yazoo City in 1853. During the American Civil War, a makeshift shipyard was established on the Yazoo River at Yazoo City after the Confederate loss of New Orleans. The shipyard was destroyed by Union forces in 1863, but the Confederates soon recovered Yazoo City. Union forces returned the following year and this time burned down almost the entire town.

Yazoo City was rebuilt, but yellow fever struck and took more victims in 1878. On May 25, 1904, a fire destroyed much of central Yazoo City. According to a local legend, the fire was caused by a witch avenging her death. In reality, a boy playing with matches accidentally set a house ablaze. The fire quickly spread, and three-fourths of the town was destroyed, including most of the homes. It was stopped by a canal, which saved the new courthouse (built in 1872 to replace the one burned by the Union forces) and 10 antebellum homes nearby. The town took almost two years to recover.

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 did much damage to the entire Delta, but Yazoo City was restored and is now protected by an effective flood-prevention system.

April 24, 2010, tornado

Yazoo City tornado damage
Yazoo City sign after April 24, 2010 tornado
FEMA - 44232 - AmeriCorps at Work in Yazoo City, MS
AmeriCorps volunteers cleaning up tornado damage, May 2010

A strong tornado, rated EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita scale and with a path width of 1.75 mi, hit Yazoo County on April 24, 2010. Four people were killed in the Yazoo City area, and a number were seriously injured; four of the victims were airlifted to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in the capital city of Jackson, 40 mi away. The Governor of Mississippi, Haley Barbour, toured the area in a National Guard helicopter and held a news conference on the disaster at 3:30 pm. The tornado and the aftermath were shown in an episode of the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers, and several videos YouTube show considerable detail and descriptions.

November 29, 2010, tornado

Around 8:05 pm local time, Yazoo City was struck by two tornadoes: first, an EF-2 tornado 3 mi southwest of town, then a second EF-2 within the city limits, causing significant damage to several downtown buildings.



Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, provides service to Yazoo City using the Yazoo City Station. The Amtrak station is located at 222 West Broadway.

Yazoo County Airport is in unincorporated Yazoo County, 2 miles (3.2 km) west of central Yazoo City. Lynne W. Jeter of the Mississippi Business Journal said in 2001 that the county airport "may have played an important role in landing the multiphase federal prison project that is currently under expansion."


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 2,542
1890 3,286 29.3%
1900 4,944 50.5%
1910 6,796 37.5%
1920 5,244 −22.8%
1930 5,579 6.4%
1940 7,258 30.1%
1950 9,746 34.3%
1960 11,236 15.3%
1970 11,688 4.0%
1980 12,426 6.3%
1990 12,427 0.0%
2000 14,550 17.1%
2010 11,403 −21.6%
2019 (est.) 10,869 −4.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
Yazoo City tornado damage
Yazoo City sign after April 24, 2010, tornado
FEMA - 44232 - AmeriCorps at Work in Yazoo City, MS
AmeriCorps volunteers cleaning up tornado damage, May 2010
Ricks Memorial Library Yazoo
Ricks Memorial Library, Yazoo City

2020 census

Yazoo City Racial Composition
Race Num. Perc.
White 1,138 11.03%
Black or African American 8,830 85.6%
Native American 6 0.06%
Asian 61 0.59%
Pacific Islander 4 0.04%
Other/Mixed 201 1.95%
Hispanic or Latino 76 0.74%

As of the 2020 United States Census, there were 10,316 people, 3,670 households, and 2,050 families residing in the city.

2010 census

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 11,403 people living in the city. The racial makeup of the city was 82.0% Black, 16.1% White, 0.1% Native American, 0.5% Asian and 0.5% from two or more races. 0.7% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.


The Institute of Southern Jewish Life stated that the Jewish community has been characterized by assimilation and was "small, but influential". 44 Jews lived in the community in 1878, but a flood of the Mississippi River in 1882 meant that additional Jews displaced by the flood came. There were 61 Jews in the city by 1937. The Jews in the community did not create a congregation, and the nearest houses of worship were, in the mid-20th century, in Jackson and Greenwood.


The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates the Federal Correctional Complex, Yazoo City, which consists of FCI Yazoo City Low, FCI Yazoo City Medium, FCI Camp, and FCI USP Yazoo City.


Yazoo City is served by the Yazoo City Municipal School District; Yazoo City High School is the public school of this district.

Yazoo County High School, outside of the city limits and a part of the Yazoo County School District, does not serve areas in the Yazoo City city limits.

The three private schools are Thomas Christian Academy (Pre-K–12), Manchester Academy (Pre-K–12), and Covenant Christian School (K–6th grade).

Notable people

  • Alexander Boarman, Yazoo City native served as mayor of Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S. representative from Louisiana's 4th congressional district, and as a federal judge for 35 years until his death in 1916.
  • Willie Brown (American football), Oakland Raiders, NFL Hall of Fame
  • James Paul Clarke, United States Senator and the 18th Governor of Arkansas
  • Haley Barbour, former Governor of Mississippi
  • Jerry Clower, famous country comedian who spent more than 30 years as a resident of the town before moving back to the area he was born, Liberty, Mississippi, in 1988. Many of Clower's comical stories mention Yazoo City.
  • Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles All-Pro defensive lineman
  • Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture (1993–94); U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd district of Mississippi (1987–93)
  • Kaleb Eulls, NFL Player
  • W. C. Friley, 19th-century Baptist clergyman in Yazoo City; later president of two Baptist colleges
  • Kenneth Gainwell, Running Back Philadelphia Eagles 2021 5th Round draft pick 150th overall. Cousin to Fletcher Cox
  • Lawrence Gordon, film producer (Die Hard)
  • Lynn Hamilton, actress
  • Michael Henderson, R&B singer
  • T. J. Huddleston, Sr., entrepreneur
  • Wardell Jackson, professional basketball player
  • Mary Johnson, blues singer and one-time wife of Lonnie Johnson
  • Tommy McClennan, blues musician
  • Mike Miley, MLB player and Louisiana State University quarterback
  • L.T. Miller, first medical director of the Afro-American Hospital and co-founder of the Mississippi Medical and Surgical Association
  • William Joseph Mills, Governor of the New Mexico Territory
  • Willie Morris, writer who grew up in Yazoo City
  • Jerry Moses, MLB player
  • Norman Albert Mott, member of the Mississippi Legislature (1911)
  • Michael Passons, "Contemporary Christian Musician", founding former member of the Christian music group Avalon
  • Robert Petway, blues musician
  • Joseph A. Redding, US Army major general who commanded the 39th Infantry Division in the 1950s
  • Stella Stevens, actress
  • Pecolia Warner, 20th-century quiltmaker
  • Zig Ziglar, personal development speaker and trainer

See also

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