is a city in and one of the 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....
s of Chickasaw County
-National protected areas:* Natchez Trace Parkway * Tombigbee National Forest -Demographics:As of the census of 2000, there were 19,440 people, 7,253 households, and 5,287 families residing in the county. The population density was 39 people per square mile . There were 7,981 housing units at an...
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...
, United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
. The population was 3,056 at the 2000 census.
Okolona is located at 34°0′21"N 88°45′2"W (34.0057, -88.7506).
According to the 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 6.4 square miles (16.6 km²), of which, 6.3 square miles (16.3 km²) of it is land and 0.04 square mile (0.1035995244 km²) of it (0.31%) is water.
The community is at the junction of U.S. Route 45
U.S. Route 45 is a north–south United States highway. US 45 is a border-to-border route, from Lake Superior to the Gulf of Mexico. A sign at the highway's northern terminus notes the total distance as ....
(Church Street) and State Highway 32 (Monroe Avenue).
Okolona began its development as the settlement of Rose Hill in 1845, but it was later discovered that another location had this name. When a post office was located there in 1850, it is reported by the Okolona Area Chamber of Commerce that the postmaster of nearby Aberdeen Colonel Josiah N. Walton remembered an encounter with a Chickasaw brave while traveling in the area years earlier. The brave’s name had been Oka-laua meaning peaceful, yellow, or blue water. Walton renamed the town in the brave’s honor as Okolona.
Due to the destruction brought to the area by the Civil War, few structures from this early period remain. However, the Elliot Donaldson House, constructed in 1850 and added to the National Register in 1980, as well as a handful of other homes, has survived.
In the mid nineteenth century, Okolona and the surrounding Black Prairie sometimes called the Black Belt or Prairie Belt, became what has been called the "Bread Basket of the Confederacy." The area was part of the original Cotton Belt of Mississippi well before the more famous Delta region gained fame and notoriety for major cotton production.
The Mobile and Ohio Railroad completed its tracks though Okolona in 1859 making the town a center for the ginning of cotton and its shipment to markets. The town grew along Main Street as a result of the railroad; however, virtually all commercial buildings from this period, including the depot were burned during the Civil War.
Five skirmishes or battles between Union and Confederate forces occurred in and around Okolona, the most famous of which occurred in February, 1864. In a running cavalry clash between Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. He is remembered both as a self-educated, innovative cavalry leader during the war and as a leading southern advocate in the postwar years...
and Union General Sooy Smith, the Federals were defeated just north and west of town. General Forrest's brother, Jeffery, was killed in the engagement. The Battle of Okolona
The Battle of Okolona took place on February 22, 1864, in Chickasaw County, Mississippi, between Confederate and Union forces during the American Civil War. Confederate cavalry, commanded by Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, faced over 7,000 cavalry under the command of Brig. Gen...
was fought nearby in 1864.
As of the 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 are 3,056 people, 1,177 households, and 786 families residing in the city. The 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...
is 481.8 people per square mile (186.1/km²). There are 1,315 housing units at an average density of 207.3 per square mile (80.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city is 39.40% White, 59.62% African American, 0.03% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 0.13% from other races, and 0.69% from two or more races. 1.05% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 1,177 households out of which 33.8% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.6% are married couples living together, 28.1% have a female householder with no husband present, and 33.2% are non-families. 30.2% of all households are made up of individuals and 14.8% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.54 and the average family size is 3.16.
In the city the population is spread out with 30.0% under the age of 18, 8.9% from 18 to 24, 24.7% from 25 to 44, 22.0% from 45 to 64, and 14.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 34 years. For every 100 females there are 77.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 71.6 males.
The median income for a household in the city is $20,000, and the median income for a family is $32,147. Males have a median income of $26,217 versus $17,276 for females. The per capita income for the city is $11,486. 35.4% of the population and 29.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 55.4% are under the age of 18 and 20.9% are 65 or older.
The City of Okolona is served by the Okolona Municipal Separate School District
The Okolona Municipal Separate School District is a public school district based in Okolona, Mississippi .In addition to Okolona, the district serves rural areas in eastern Chickasaw County and extends into a small portion of neighboring Monroe County....
. On February 19, 2010 the Mississippi State Board of Education voted unanimously to abolish the school district. State Superintendent of Education Tom Burnham said the conservator of the district will be Mike Vinson. http://www.clarionledger.com/article/20100219/NEWS/100219004/Okolona+school+district+abolished
- William Raspberry
William Raspberry is a former Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated American public affairs columnist. He was also the Knight Professor of the Practice of Communications and Journalism at the Sanford Institute of Public Policy at Duke University...
- Jack Gregory, NFL Great and Member, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame
- Tim Bowens
Tim Bowens is a former American Football defensive tackle, was chosen with the 20th pick of the NFL draft by the Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins received some initial criticism for the pick, because he was overweight and had only played 9 gamed in his college career at Mississippi...
, NFL Player for the Miami Dolphins 10 seasons
- Milan Williams
Milan B. Williams was an American keyboardist and a founding member of the Commodores band.Williams was born in Okolona, Mississippi and began playing the piano after being inspired by his older brother Earl, who was a multi-instrumentalist...
, keyboardist and composer for the Commodores