Humphreys County Courthouse102 Castleman St., Belzoni, MS
Listed in National Register of Historic Places in 2014.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of the Nation’s historic places worthy of preservation. Authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect America’s historic and archeological resources.
In the early 1800s, European settlers arrived in the area, attracted by the fertile land along the Mississippi River. The county was officially established in 1918 and named after Benjamin G. Humphreys, a Confederate general and governor of Mississippi. Agriculture, particularly cotton farming, became the backbone of the county's economy, and many large plantations were established.
During the American Civil War, Humphreys County witnessed significant military activity due to its strategic location along the river. The county was heavily influenced by the antebellum plantation economy, and as a result, it experienced economic and social challenges after the war. Sharecropping became the primary means of agricultural labor, and poverty was widespread.
In the mid-20th century, Humphreys County played a significant role in the Civil Rights Movement. It was the birthplace of Fannie Lou Hamer, a prominent African American civil rights activist. She fought for voting rights and helped establish the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. Today, Humphreys County continues to grapple with economic and social challenges, but it also holds a strong sense of community and a desire for progress and equality.
- Prehistoric times: Indigenous peoples inhabit the area now known as Humphreys County for thousands of years.
- Early 1800s: European settlers begin to arrive and establish homesteads in the region.
- 1834: Humphreys County is officially formed and named after Mississippi Governor Benjamin G. Humphreys.
- Late 1800s: Agriculture, specifically cotton farming, becomes the primary industry in the county.
- 1884: The Yazoo-Mississippi Delta Levee District is established to manage flooding and protect farmland.
- Early 1900s: The Great Migration sees many African Americans leaving the county for urban areas in the North.
- 1930s: The Great Depression and the boll weevil infestation devastate the county's agricultural economy.
- 1950s-1960s: Civil Rights Movement brings significant social and political changes to Humphreys County.
- 1970s-1990s: Mechanization and industrialization lead to a decline in the county's agricultural workforce.