McComb, Mississippi

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McComb is a city in Pike County, Mississippi, United States, about 80 miles south of Jackson, just off the I-55. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 13,337, an increase of about a thousand people since the 1980 census of 12,331. It is the principal city of the McComb, Mississippi, Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Contents

History

McComb was founded in 1872 after Colonel Henry Simpson McComb, president of the New Orleans, Jackson and Great Northern Railroad, a predecessor of the Illinois Central Railroad (now part of the Canadian National Railway), decided to move the railroad's maintenance shops away from New Orleans, Louisiana, outside of the attractions of that city's saloons. Main street is one of the main streets in the downtown area with all the shops, attractions, and business. The railroad purchased land in Pike County, and three nearby communities, Elizabeth town, Burglund, and Harveytown, agreed to consolidate. President Jackson named the newly blooming town after his adopted child, Henry McComb.

During the 1960s, McComb played a critical role in the Civil Rights Movement. It was the location of SNCC's first voter registration project which was met with violence and intimidation on the part of authorities and the KKK. More than 100 McComb high school students were arrested in 1961 for protesting the murder of voter-registration activist Herbert Lee and the expulsion of Brenda Travis.[1] McComb was the setting for several bombings involving racial strife. Malcolm Boyd took part of COFO's Freedom House as a member of a clerical delegation to assist African-American voter registration.

On October 20, 1977, a chartered plane carrying members and crew of rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in a swamp near McComb, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, Steve's sister Cassie (a backup singer), and road manager Dean Kilpatrick.

Geography

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