Belzoni, Mississippi

Belzoni, Mississippi

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Belzoni is a city in Humphreys County
Humphreys County, Mississippi
-Demographics:At the 2000 census, there were 11,206 people, 3,765 households and 2,695 families residing in the county. The population density was 27 per square mile . There were 4,138 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile...

, Mississippi
Mississippi
Mississippi is a U.S. state located in the Southern United States. Jackson is the state capital and largest city. The name of the state derives from the Mississippi River, which flows along its western boundary, whose name comes from the Ojibwe word misi-ziibi...

, in the Mississippi Delta
Mississippi Delta
The Mississippi Delta is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. The region has been called "The Most Southern Place on Earth" because of its unique racial, cultural, and economic history...

 region, on the Yazoo River
Yazoo River
The Yazoo River is a river in the U.S. state of Mississippi.The Yazoo River was named by French explorer La Salle in 1682 as "Rivière des Yazous" in reference to the Yazoo tribe living near the river's mouth. The exact meaning of the term is unclear...

. The population was 2,663 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat
County seat
A county seat is an administrative center, or seat of government, for a county or civil parish. The term is primarily used in the United States....

 of Humphreys County. It was named for the 19th century Italian archaeologist/explorer Giovanni Battista Belzoni
Giovanni Battista Belzoni
Giovanni Battista Belzoni , sometimes known as The Great Belzoni, was a prolific Venetian explorer of Egyptian antiquities.-Early life:...

.

The area was named Farm-Raised Catfish Capital of the World in 1976 by then Governor Cliff Finch
Cliff Finch
Charles Clifton "Cliff" Finch was an American politician who was 56th Governor of the U.S. state of Mississippi from 1976 to 1980.-Life and career:...

, since it produces more farm-raised catfish
Catfish
Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores...

 than any other U.S. county. 40000 acres (161.9 km²) of the county are underwater, used to grow catfish
Catfish
Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores...

. About 60% of U.S. farm-raised catfish
Catfish
Catfishes are a diverse group of ray-finned fish. Named for their prominent barbels, which resemble a cat's whiskers, catfish range in size and behavior from the heaviest and longest, the Mekong giant catfish from Southeast Asia and the second longest, the wels catfish of Eurasia, to detritivores...

 are grown within a 65-mile (100-km) radius of Belzoni. The title "Catfish Capital" is also claimed by Savannah
Savannah, Tennessee
Savannah is a city in Hardin County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 6,917 at the 2000 census and the 2007 population estimate was 7,262. It is the county seat of Hardin County. Savannah hosted the NAIA college football national championship game from 1996-2007. Savannah is home to...

, Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 and Des Allemands, Louisiana
Des Allemands, Louisiana
Des Allemands is a census-designated place in Lafourche and St. Charles parishes in the southeastern part of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The population was 2,500 at the 2000 census. The town, known as the "Catfish Capital of the Universe," is along the Bayou Des Allemands, which is the boundary...

. Belzoni is known for the World Catfish Festival held every April.

History


The area that eventually became Belzoni was originally known as "Greasy Row" because of saloons along the bank of the Yazoo River. In 1895, a charter was granted for the village of Belzoni, although the area had been settled for several decades previously. Steve Castleman, who secured the charter, became the first mayor of Belzoni. When Humphreys County was formed in 1918, Belzoni was selected county seat.

Civil Rights movement


Belzoni was the site of the murder of an early civil rights pioneer. The Rev. George W. Lee
George W. Lee
George W. Lee was an African American civil rights leader, minister, and entrepreneur. He was a vice president of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership and head of the Belzoni, Mississippi branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People...

, an African-American minister who was seeking voting rights for the disfranchised blacks of the Mississippi Delta
Mississippi Delta
The Mississippi Delta is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state of Mississippi that lies between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. The region has been called "The Most Southern Place on Earth" because of its unique racial, cultural, and economic history...

, was murdered in 1955 in "Bloody Belzoni" by racists committed to upholding segregation. His killers were never found, as the governor of Mississippi, Hugh L. White
Hugh L. White
Hugh Lawson White was an American politician from Mississippi and a member of the Democratic Party. He served two non-consecutive terms as Governor of Mississippi .-Biography:...

, refused to investigate the case. Many consider him the first martyr of the modern Civil Rights movement.

National Public Radio correspondent Margot Adler
Margot Adler
Margot Adler is an author, journalist, lecturer, Wiccan priestess and radio journalist and correspondent for National Public Radio .- Early life :Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, Adler grew up mostly in New York City...

, while an undergraduate at the University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Berkeley
The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

, was active in the voter registration drive in Humphreys County (Belzoni) in the summer of 1965. In 2000, she recalled: "I remember how difficult it was to register people: the fear was palpable. I remember that after one month of daily work there were only seven people registered, and a bunch of us almost got ourselves killed after being chased onto private property by a group of men who belonged to the White Citizens Council". She said that the civil rights movement changed Humphreys County, and bettered the lot of African Americans. "There was real change in Belzoni. Streets were paved in hog town, sewers no longer overflowed into the dirt streets. Several black families I knew from then have held political office during the last decade".

In 2006, Belzoni elected its first African-American mayor, Wardell Walton.

Geography


Belzoni is located at 33.181324°N 90.485663°W (33.181324, -90.485663).

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the city has a total area of 1 mi2, all land.

Demographics


As of the census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

of 2000, there were 2,663 people, 934 households, and 640 families residing in the city. The population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 was 2777.8 PD/sqmi. There were 1,018 housing units at an average density of 1061.9 /sqmi. The racial makeup of the city was 30.49% White, 68.08% African American, 0.04% Native American, 0.64% Asian, 0.60% from other races
Race (United States Census)
Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the Federal Office of Management and Budget and the United States Census Bureau, are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not they are...

, and 0.15% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.35% of the population.

There were 934 households out of which 33.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

 living together, 28.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 28.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.83 and the average family size was 3.49.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.2% under the age of 18, 11.4% from 18 to 24, 27.3% from 25 to 44, 17.8% from 45 to 64, and 11.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 85.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 77.5 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $20,690, and the median income for a family was $25,521. Males had a median income of $26,466 versus $15,833 for females. The per capita income
Per capita income
Per capita income or income per person is a measure of mean income within an economic aggregate, such as a country or city. It is calculated by taking a measure of all sources of income in the aggregate and dividing it by the total population...

 for the city was $13,022. About 29.3% of families and 35.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.4% of those under age 18 and 27.3% of those age 65 or over.

Public Schools


The City of Belzoni is served by the Humphreys County School District
Humphreys County School District
The Humphreys County School District is a public school district based in Belzoni, Mississippi . The district's boundaries parallel that of Humphreys County.-Schools:*Humphreys County High School*Humphreys County Vocational Tech....

:
  • Humphreys County High School
  • Thomas C. Randle Career and Technical Center
  • Humphreys Junior High School
  • O.M. McNair Upper Elementary School
  • Ida Greene Lower Elementary School

Media

  • Radio stations
    • WELZ 1460AM (Country
      Country music
      Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

      )
    • WBYP
      WBYP
      WBYP is a radio station broadcasting a Country music format. Licensed to Belzoni, Mississippi, USA. The station is currently owned by Zoo-Bel Broadcasting, LLC....

       107.1FM (Country
      Country music
      Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

      )

  • Newspaper
    • Belzoni Banner

Notable residents

  • Lawrence Gordon, film producer & former president of 20th Century Fox
    20th Century Fox
    Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation — also known as 20th Century Fox, or simply 20th or Fox — is one of the six major American film studios...

     and American International Pictures
    American International Pictures
    American International Pictures was a film production company formed in April 1956 from American Releasing Corporation by James H. Nicholson, former Sales Manager of Realart Pictures, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer...

  • Don Gorton
    Don Gorton
    Don Gorton is a Massachusetts attorney who served as a state tax judge from 1997 to 2008.-Biography:Gorton has been an advocate for LGBT equality in Boston for over 25 years. He is perhaps best known as the longtime Co-Chair of the Governor's Task Force on Hate Crime, to which he was appointed by...

    , Commissioner, Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board
  • Madolyn Hardy, first Miss Mississippi
    Miss Mississippi
    :For the state pageant affiliated with Miss USA, see Miss Mississippi USAMiss Mississippi is a scholarship pageant and a preliminary of Miss America. The contest began in 1934, has been held in Vicksburg since 1958, and provides more money than any other scholarship pageant in the Miss America...

     in 1934
  • Elmore James
    Elmore James
    Elmore James was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and band leader. He was known as "the King of the Slide Guitar" and had a unique guitar style, noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice.-Biography:James was born Elmore Brooks in the old Richland community in...

    , Blues
    Blues
    Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

     guitarist
  • Denise LaSalle
    Denise LaSalle
    Denise LaSalle is an American R&B/soul and blues singer, songwriter, and record producer.-Career:...

    , Blues
    Blues
    Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

     singer
  • Ethel Wright Mohamed, 'Grandma Moses of Stitchery'
  • Pinetop Perkins
    Pinetop Perkins
    Joseph William Perkins , known by the stage name Pinetop Perkins, was an American blues musician, specializing in piano music...

    , Blues
    Blues
    Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

     musician.
  • Monroe Swan
    Monroe Swan
    Monroe Swan is a Wisconsin politician.Born in Belzoni, Mississippi, Monroe was an employment counselor. In 1972, Monroe was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate from Milwaukee, Wisconsin...

    , Wisconsin State Senate
    Wisconsin State Senate
    The Wisconsin Senate, the powers of which are modeled after those of the U.S. Senate, is the upper house of the Wisconsin State Legislature, smaller than the Wisconsin State Assembly...

  • Jean Terrell
    Jean Terrell
    Jean Terrell is an American R&B and jazz singer. She replaced Diana Ross as the lead singer of The Supremes in January 1970.-Early life and career:...

    , R&B and jazz
    Jazz
    Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

     singer, replaced Diana Ross
    Diana Ross
    Diana Ernestine Earle Ross is an American singer, record producer, and actress. Ross was lead singer of the Motown group The Supremes during the 1960s. After leaving the group in 1970, Ross began a solo career that included successful ventures into film and Broadway...

     in The Supremes
    The Supremes
    The Supremes, an American female singing group, were the premier act of Motown Records during the 1960s.Originally founded as The Primettes in Detroit, Michigan, in 1959, The Supremes' repertoire included doo-wop, pop, soul, Broadway show tunes, psychedelic soul, and disco...

     in 1970.
  • Herb Washington
    Herb Washington
    Herbert Lee Washington is a former world-class sprinter in the early 1970s who parlayed his speed into a brief Major League Baseball stint, and later became the owner/operator of numerous McDonald's restaurants and a minor-league professional hockey franchise and held a number of high-ranking...

    , track and field
    Track and field
    Track and field is a sport comprising various competitive athletic contests based around the activities of running, jumping and throwing. The name of the sport derives from the venue for the competitions: a stadium which features an oval running track surrounding a grassy area...

     athlete and Major League Baseball
    Major League Baseball
    Major League Baseball is the highest level of professional baseball in the United States and Canada, consisting of teams that play in the National League and the American League...

     player.
  • Annette Polly Williams
    Annette Polly Williams
    Annette Polly Williams is an American counselor, clerical worker and politician from Milwaukee who served 10 terms as a Democratic Party member of the Wisconsin State Assembly, representing her assembly district from her election in 1980 until January 3, 2011.- Background :Williams was born in...

    , Wisconsin State Assembly
    Wisconsin State Assembly
    The Wisconsin State Assembly is the lower house of the Wisconsin Legislature. Together with the smaller Wisconsin Senate, the two constitute the legislative branch of the U.S. state of Wisconsin....

  • Sonny Boy Williamson II
    Sonny Boy Williamson II
    Willie "Sonny Boy" Williamson was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter, from Mississippi. He is acknowledged as one of the most charismatic and influential blues musicians, with considerable prowess on the harmonica and highly creative songwriting skills...

     aka Rice Miller, Blues Harmonica
    Harmonica
    The harmonica, also called harp, French harp, blues harp, and mouth organ, is a free reed wind instrument used primarily in blues and American folk music, jazz, country, and rock and roll. It is played by blowing air into it or drawing air out by placing lips over individual holes or multiple holes...

     player

External links