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Philadelphia, Mississippi

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Title: Philadelphia, Mississippi  
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Subject: Neshoba County, Mississippi, Donna Ladd, Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney
Collection: Cities in Mississippi, Cities in Neshoba County, Mississippi, County Seats in Mississippi
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Philadelphia, Mississippi

Philadelphia, Mississippi
Neshoba County courthouse in Philadelphia
Neshoba County courthouse in Philadelphia
Location of Philadelphia, Mississippi
Location of Philadelphia, Mississippi
Philadelphia, Mississippi is located in USA
Philadelphia, Mississippi
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Mississippi
County Neshoba
 • Mayor James Young
 • Total 10.6 sq mi (27.5 km2)
 • Land 10.6 sq mi (27.5 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 423 ft (129 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 7,477
 • Density 688.1/sq mi (265.7/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP code 39350
Area code(s) 601
FIPS code 28-56960
GNIS feature ID 0675674

Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat of Neshoba County,[1][2] Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,477 at the 2010 census.


  • History 1
    • Native American 1.1
    • Murders of three civil rights workers 1.2
    • Reagan's visit 1.3
    • Dupree's record breaker 1.4
    • Trial of Edgar Ray Killen 1.5
    • First black mayor 1.6
  • Geography 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Arts and culture 4
    • Museums and other points of interest 4.1
  • Education 5
  • Media 6
  • Infrastructure 7
    • Public utilities 7.1
  • Notable people 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


Williams Brothers Store
Courthouse Square

The region of Neshoba county and the surrounding counties was the heart of the Choctaw Nation from the 17th century until removal of most of the people in the 1830s. European-American settlers began to arrive in numbers in the early decades of the nineteenth century, after French, British and Spanish traders developed business relationships with the Choctaw.

Philadelphia is incorporated as a municipality; it was given its current name in 1903, two years before the railroad brought new opportunities and prosperity to the town. The history of the town and its influences- social, political and economic- can be seen in the many points of interest within and beyond the city limits. These range from the large ceremonial Indian mound and cave at Nanih Waiya, built about 1700 years ago and sacred to the Choctaw; to the still thriving Williams Brothers Store, a true old-fashioned general store founded in 1907 and featured in National Geographic in 1939 as a source of anything from “needles to horse collars”, and still offering everything from bridles, butter and boots to flour, feed and fashion.

Native American

Many thousands of years ago, Paleo-Indians lived in what today is referred to as the American South.[3] The Native American Choctaw people are descended from the Mississippian and other societies in the Mississippi river valley encountered by Spanish explorers in the early 16th century. The Choctaw arose as a distinct people in the early 17th century and had trade relations with the French, British and Spanish during the colonial period.

After the United States victory in the American Revolutionary War, Choctaw lands Alabama and Mississippi were encroached on by European-American settlers. Trying to create a boundary, they ceded land in several treaties with the United States, but settlers kept arriving in their territory. By 1830, after passage of the Indian Removal Act, the Choctaw were forced to choose between removal to west of the Mississippi River, or becoming U.S. citizens and submitting to federal and state laws in Mississippi.[4] Choctaw chiefs realized that removal was inevitable and had decided that military resistance was futile.

Greenwood LeFlore, elected the Principal Chief of all three divisions that year, negotiated and signed the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek in an effort to get the best arrangements for the Choctaw that he could. They were granted the largest amount of land in Indian Territory, in the fertile southeast, in exchange for ceding the remainder of their traditional homeland in Mississippi and Alabama.

They also were granted the option of remaining on reserved land in Mississippi as United States citizens, but the government did not give them all the land that they believed they deserved. The treaty represented one of the largest transfers of land that was signed between the US government and Native Americans without being instigated by warfare. The migration became known as the Choctaw Trail of Tears.

Murders of three civil rights workers

In the mid-twentieth century, Mississippi was a battleground of the social worker, also from New York. Their deaths demonstrated the risks that activists took to secure the constitutional rights of African Americans, but many more blacks than whites had been killed in the struggle.

Ku Klux Klan members (including Cecil Ray Price, the deputy sheriff of Neshoba County) released the three young men from jail, took them to an isolated spot, and killed them. They buried them in an earthen dam. It was some time after they disappeared before the bodies were discovered, as a result of an FBI investigation and national media attention.[5] The national outrage over their deaths helped procure support for Congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The murders and related conspiracy gave rise to the "Mississippi Burning" trial, United States v. Price.

Reagan's visit

On August 3, 1980, Ronald Reagan gave his first post-convention speech at the Neshoba County Fair after being officially chosen as the Republican nominee for President of the United States. He said, "I believe in states' rights ... I believe we have distorted the balance of our government today by giving powers that were never intended to be given in the Constitution to that federal establishment." He went on to promise to "restore to states and local governments the power that properly belongs to them".[6] Analysts believed that his use of the phrase was seen by many as a tacit appeal to Southern white voters and a continuation of Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy, while some argued it reflected Reagan's libertarian economic beliefs. The speech drew attention for his use of the phrase "states' rights" at a place just a few miles from a town associated with the 1964 murders of civil rights workers.

Dupree's record breaker

Marcus Dupree played high school football for the Philadelphia High School Tornadoes from 1978 to 1981. He was an outstanding athlete who was widely recognized for his achievements.[7][8] Dupree scored 87 touchdowns total during his playing time in high school, breaking the record set by Herschel Walker by one.[9] In 1981, Marcus's final High School football game was played at Warriors Stadium of the tribal high school at the Choctaw Indian Reservation.[10] The author Willie Morris described the audience at Dupree's final high school game as "the most distinctive crowd I had ever seen ... four thousand or so people seemed almost an equal of mix of whites, blacks, and Indians ... "[11]

Trial of Edgar Ray Killen

In 2004, the Hinds County sheriff, Malcolm MacMillan, called for re-opening of the case against Edgar Ray Killen, a suspect in the murder of three civil rights workers in 1964. Killen was arrested for three counts of murder on January 6, 2005. He was freed on bond.

The trial began on June 13, 2005, with Killen attending in a wheelchair. He was found guilty of manslaughter on June 21, 2005, 41 years to the day after the crime. The jury of nine whites and three blacks rejected the charges of murder, but found him guilty of recruiting the mob that carried out the killings. He was sentenced on June 23, 2005 by Circuit Judge Marcus Gordon to the maximum sentence of 60 years in prison,[12] 20 years for each count of manslaughter, to be served consecutively. He will be eligible for parole after serving at least 20 years, although it is unlikely he will live this long given his age and health. At the sentencing, Judge Gordon stated that each life lost was valuable; he strongly asserted that the law made no distinction of age for the crime and that the maximum sentence should be imposed. Killen entered the Mississippi Department of Corrections system on June 27, 2005.

First black mayor

In May 2009, Philadelphia elected its first black mayor, James A. Young, a 53-year-old Pentecostal preacher and a former county supervisor.[13] He defeated Rayburn Waddell, a white, three-term incumbent, by 46 votes in the Democratic primary (there was no Republican challenger).[14] Jim Prince, publisher of the local The Neshoba Democrat newspaper said, "Philadelphia will always be connected to what happened here in 1964, but the fact that Philadelphia, Mississippi, with its notorious past, could elect a black man as mayor, it might be time to quit picking on Philadelphia, Mississippi."[13] Young's campaign staff credited Barack Obama's presidential campaign for increasing registration of black and young voters in Philadelphia, many of whom voted for Young.[14] Young's term began July 3, 2009.

Philadelphia, Mississippi seen from the east end of town.
Philadelphia - Neshoba County Library


Philadelphia is located at (32.774070, -89.112891).[15]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.6 square miles (27 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) are land and 0.04-square-mile (0.10 km2) (0.19%) is water.


As of the census[16] of 2000, there were 7,303 people, 2,950 households, and 1,899 families residing in the city. The population density was 688.1 people per square mile (265.8/km²). There were 3,302 housing units at an average density of 311.1 per square mile (120.2/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 55.54% White, 40.12% African American, 2.01% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 0.55% from other races, and 1.20% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 1.51% of the population.

There were 2,950 households out of which 30.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.8% were married couples living together, 20.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.6% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the city the population was spread out with 26.1% under the age of 18, 9.1% from 18 to 24, 25.9% from 25 to 44, 21.0% from 45 to 64, and 17.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 81.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 73.8 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,438, and the median income for a family was $30,756. Males had a median income of $30,731 versus $20,735 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,787. About 25.1% of families and 28.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 41.1% of those under age 18 and 16.4% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

Museums and other points of interest


Philadelphia High School

The City of Philadelphia is served by the Philadelphia Public School District.[19][20]


The Neshoba Democrat is published in Philadelphia. It is a weekly newspaper that was established in 1881.[21]


Public utilities

Cable television services for the city of Philadelphia are contracted to MetroCast Communications.[22] Electrical utilities, as well as water and sewer service, are provided by the City of Philadelphia as Philadelphia Utilities. The natural gas utility is CentrePoint Energy. AT&T is the local telephone service provider.

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ "Profile for Philadelphia, Mississippi". ePodunk. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Prentice, Guy (2003). "Pushmataha, Choctaw Indian Chief". Southeast Chronicles. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  4. ^ Remini, Robert (1977, 1998). ""Brothers, Listen ... You Must Submit"". Andrew Jackson. History Book Club. p. 272. . 
  5. ^ Lynching of Chaney, Schwerner & Goodman ~ Civil Rights Movement Veterans
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Could Marcus Dupree make another run at pro football?".  
  8. ^ Young, R.J. (November 9, 2010). "The story of Marcus Dupree".  
  9. ^ Deitch, Richard (November 9, 2010). "Marcus Dupree's doc; Howard Stern's most wanted sports guests".  
  10. ^ Morris, Willie (1999). The Courting of Marcus Dupree. pp. 291–302. Retrieved 2010-11-04. 
  11. ^  
  12. ^ Pearson, Sophia. "Killen Sentenced to 60 Years in Prison in 1964 Deaths (Update4)." Bloomberg. June 23, 2005. Retrieved on August 14, 2010.
  13. ^ a b Lavandera, Ed (May 22, 2009). "'"Black mayor of Mississippi town brings 'atomic bomb of change.  
  14. ^ a b Brown, Robbie (May 22, 2009). "".  
  15. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990".  
  16. ^ "American FactFinder".  
  17. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ Resident Population Data. "Resident Population Data - 2010 Census". Retrieved 2012-02-18. 
  19. ^ "". Philadelphia Public School District. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Know your school choice options in Mississippi". Great Schools, Inc. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  21. ^ "The Neshoba Democrat". The Neshoba Democrat. Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  22. ^ Metrocast Communications Website

External links

  • Official webpage for the City of Philadelphia
  • Philadelphia Public School District
  • ePodunk: Profile for Philadelphia, Mississippi,

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