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Yazoo City, Mississippi
—  City  —
Location of Yazoo City, Mississippi
Coordinates: 32°51′23″N 90°24′27″W / 32.85639, -90.4075Coordinates: 32°51′23″N 90°24′27″W / 32.85639, -90.4075
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Yazoo
 • Total 10.9 sq mi (28.3 km2)
 • Land 10.8 sq mi (27.9 km2)
 • Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 112 ft (34 m)
Population (2012)
 • Total 11,517
 • Density 1,349.2/sq mi (520.9/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 39194
Area code(s) 662
FIPS code 28-81520
GNIS feature ID 0679921

Yazoo City is a 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.


Yazoo City is located at 32°51′23″N 90°24′27″W / 32.85639, -90.4075 (32.856458, -90.407379)[1], 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 has been renamed Mississippi Highway 149. MS 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, seven miles south of Belzoni. The new highway makes the town of Carter so near that it might be considered for annexation by Yazoo City in a few years. There are now two bridges across 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 City

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


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. In 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 Yankees) and ten 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 sign after April 24, 2010 tornado

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 miles, hit Yazoo County on April 24, 2010.[2] 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 miles 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 US Central Time.[3][3] The tornado and the aftermath were shown in an episode of the Discovery Channel series Storm Chasers, and there are several videos on YouTube, which show considerable detail and descriptions.

November 29, 2010 tornado[]

At approximately 8:05 pm local time (Central), Yazoo City was struck by two tornadoes: first, an EF-2 tornado three miles southwest of town, then a second EF-2 within the city limits, causing significant damage to several downtown buildings.

Government and infrastructure[]

The mayor of Yazoo City is McArthur Straughter. The United States Postal Service operates the Yazoo City Post Office.[4]

The Federal Bureau of Prisons operates the Federal Correctional Complex, Yazoo City, which consists of FCI Yazoo City Low and FCI Yazoo City Medium.[5]


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,[6] 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 multi-phase federal prison project that is currently under expansion."[7]


Historical populations
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%
2000 14,550 17.1%
2010 11,403 −21.6%
Est. 2012 11,517 −20.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[8]
2012 Estimate[9]

As of the census of 2000, there were 14,550 people, 4,271 households, and 2,968 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,349.2 people per square mile (521.1/km²). There were 4,676 housing units at an average density of 433.6 per square mile (167.5/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 28.73% White, 69.68% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.58% Asian, 0.23% from other races, and 0.60% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 7.47% of the population.

There were 4,271 households out of which 37.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 31.5% were married couples living together, 32.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.5% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.49.

In the city the population was spread out with 29.0% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 11.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 112.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.9 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $19,893, and the median income for a family was $22,470. Males had a median income of $26,109 versus $18,650 for females. The per capita income for the city was $9,251. About 35.0% of families and 40.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 52.5% of those under age 18 and 23.5% of those age 65 or over.

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 thirty-five years until his death in 1916.
  • Fletcher Cox, Philadelphia Eagles Defensive Lineman
  • Haley Barbour, former Governor of Mississippi
  • Thea Bowman, Roman Catholic sister, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration
  • 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. A lot of Clower's comical stories make mention of Yazoo City.
  • Mike Espy, Secretary of Agriculture (1993–94); U.S. House of Representatives, 2nd district of Mississippi (1987–93)
  • Lawrence Gordon, film producer (Die Hard)
  • Lynn Hamilton, actress
  • Marc Emery, Prisoner at Yazoo, Canadian Marijuana Seed Distributor
  • Michael Henderson, R&B singer
  • T. J. Huddleston, Sr., entrepreneur
  • 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
  • Willie Morris, writer who was born in Jackson, MS but grew up in Yazoo City
  • Stella Stevens, actress
  • Michael Passons, "Contemporary Christian Musician", founding former member of the Christian music group, Avalon
  • Zig Ziglar, Personal development speaker and trainer
  • Robert Petway, blues musician
  • Norman Albert Mott, member of the Mississippi Legislature (1911)
  • Willie Brown (American football), Oakland Raiders, NFL Hall of Fame
  • James Paul Clarke, United States Senator and the 18th Governor of Arkansas[10]
  • Joseph A. Redding, United States Army Major General who commanded the 39th Infantry Division in the 1950s
  • W. C. Friley, 19th century Baptist clergyman in Yazoo City; later president of two Baptist colleges


Yazoo City is served by the Yazoo City Municipal School District. Yazoo County High School and Yazoo City High School serve as the main public schools. There are four private schools: Thomas Christian Academy (Pre-K–12), Manchester Academy (Pre-K–12) Covenant Christian School (K–6th grade), and Benton Academy (Pre-K–12).


WBYP, WYAD (expected to be on the air in 2011), and WYAZ, all FM, are three local radio stations. The Yazoo Herald, is Yazoo County's only daily newspaper.


Yazoo City is referenced in the 1986 movie Crossroads. Yazoo is also referenced as the lone non-New Jersey site that makes toxic waste in the United States in the 1989 movie Fletch Lives. Chevy Chase's character, Irwin M. Fletcher, flew to Yazoo to visit Bly Bio Chem, where he was greeted by Hedley Dan Duke, played by Phil Hartman.

In the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? character "Delmar O'Donnell" (Tim Blake Nelson), refers to Yazoo as the place where he robbed a Piggly Wiggly. Also, the movie's Woolworth's scene was filmed in what used to be a hardware store in Yazoo City. Finally, in the movie, "George 'Baby Face' Nelson" robbed a bank, which he said is located in Itta Bena, Mississippi, but actually that was filmed in the old Bank of Yazoo City building in downtown Yazoo City.

Miss Firecracker was filmed on location in Yazoo City in the 1980s. The movie featured Holly Hunter, Tim Robbins, Mary Steenbergen, Scott Glenn and Alfre Woodard.

Yazoo City was the main location for the book and the movie, My Dog Skip. However, the movie was not filmed in Yazoo City, but in Canton, Mississippi, which is located in Madison County, Mississippi, and is about 30 miles southeast of Yazoo City.

Originally from Springfield, Kentucky, Confederate raider Lt. Dick Mitchell who rode with General John Hunt Morgan, was killed in Yazoo City while a deputy Sheriff in 1875.


External links[]

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Yazoo City, Mississippi. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.