Jackson, located along the Pearl River, is named after President Andrew Jackson, and is the capital city and the cultural center of Mississippi. Affectionately called the “City with Soul”, it is known for its numerous musicians prominent in jazz, blues and gospel music. Jackson’s history goes back to the Choctaw Nation who inhabited the land before they were moved to Oklahoma. During the Civil War, the city was an important manufacturing center for the Confederate States, but was captured twice by the Union, and completely burnt down. Other important chapters in Jackson’s history involve the days of extended Prohibition from the 1920’s until the 1960’s, and more importantly, its role during the Civil Rights Movement and the Freedom Rides.
Visitors today can experience the history of Jackson through the many museums and historical sites, including the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center and the Mississippi Blues Trail. In 2013, Jackson was named one of the top 10 Friendliest Cities in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler, and has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the “Best Bang-for-the Buck Cities”. As a retirement town, the Milken Report named Jackson in the top ten Best Cities for Successful Aging for people aged 65-79. The popular movie The Help (2011) was filmed in Jackson. Photo of Lamar Life Building, downtown Jackson, courtesy of Wikipedia and Michlaovic (public domain).