|Town of Jonesboro|
Jonesboro City Hall
Location of Jonesboro in Jackson Parish, Louisiana
|o Mayor||Mayor-elect Leslie Cornell Thompson (D)
(unseated Democrat James E. Bradford, December 8, 2018)
|o Total||4.90 sq mi (12.70 km2)|
|o Land||4.85 sq mi (12.55 km2)|
|o Water||0.06 sq mi (0.15 km2)|
| o Estimate |
|o Density||922.84/sq mi (356.33/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-6 (CST)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC-5 (CDT)|
Jonesboro is a town in, and the parish seat of, Jackson Parish in the northern portion of the U.S. state of Louisiana. The population was 4,704 at the 2010 census, up from 3,914 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Ruston Micropolitan Statistical Area[dubious ].
Founded on January 10, 1860, by Joseph Jones and his wife, Sarah Pankey Jones, as a small family farm, Jonesboro is now a small industrial mill town. Originally founded as "Macedonia," the name of the small town changed to Jonesboro on January 16, 1901, after the United States Post Office Department approved the change and became the seat of government for Jackson Parish on March 15, 1911, following a parish-wide referendum. Jonesboro remains agricultural, industrial, economic, and governmental center of the parish.
During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, whites violently resisted African-American efforts to gain their constitutional rights as citizens, even after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Ku Klux Klan, which was active in the area, conducted what was called a "reign of terror" in 1964, including harassment of activists, "the burning of crosses on the lawns of African-American voters," murder, and destroying five black churches by fire, as well as their Masonic hall, and a Baptist center.
In November 1964, leaders Earnest "Chilly Willy" Thomas and Frederick Douglass Kirkpatrick (the latter ordained that year as a minister of the Church of God in Christ), founded the Deacons for Defense and Justice in Jonesboro. It was an armed self-defense group, made up of mostly mature men who were veterans of World War II and the Korean War. At night, they conducted regular patrols of the black community in the city, which occupied an area known as "the Quarters". They protected civil rights activists and their families during and outside demonstrations. At the request of activists in Bogalusa, Louisiana, another mill town where blacks were under pressure by violent whites, Thomas and Kirkpatrick helped found an affiliated chapter in that city. Ultimately there were 21 chapters in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, operating through 1968. In Jonesboro, the Deacons achieved some changes, such as integrating parks and a swimming pool. Activists achieved more after congressional passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and their entry into politics.
Jonesboro is located in southwestern Jackson Parish.U.S. Route 167 passes through the northern and eastern sides of town, leading north 22 miles (35 km) to Ruston and south 23 miles (37 km) to Winnfield. Louisiana Highway 4 passes through the center of Jonesboro, leading east 17 miles (27 km) to Chatham and west 19 miles (31 km) to Lucky.
According to the United States Census Bureau, Jonesboro has a total area of 4.9 square miles (12.7 km2), of which 4.8 square miles (12.5 km2) are land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.17%, are water. Jonesboro water bodies drain north to the Little Dugdemona River, which turns southwest and forms the south-flowing Dugdemona River.
The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Jonesboro has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated "Cfa" on climate maps.
As of the census of 2000, there were 3,914 people, 1,602 households, and 1,012 families residing in the town. The population density was 806.6 people per square mile (311.6/km2). There were 1,852 housing units at an average density of 381.7 per square mile (147.4/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 54.01% White, 45.02% African American, 0.15% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.03% from other races, and 0.46% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.43% of the population.
There were 1,602 households, out of which 29.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.3% were married couples living together, 21.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.8% were non-families. 34.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.98.
In the town, the population was spread out, with 24.8% under the age of 18, 10.5% from 18 to 24, 23.9% from 25 to 44, 20.2% from 45 to 64, and 20.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females, there were 81.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.2 males.
The median income for a household in the town was $19,734, and the median income for a family was $28,048. Males had a median income of $29,071 versus $18,143 for females. The per capita income for the town was $12,869. About 28.7% of families and 32.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 45.2% of those under age 18 and 16.1% of those age 65 or over.
The previous mayor, Leslie Cornell Thompson, was suspended from office in September 2013 after being convicted of malfeasance in office. As of 2013, Jonesboro had not had a budget since 2008. His wife, Yoshi Chambers Thompson, was initially appointed by the city council to succeed him as interim mayor. Her legitimacy was questioned by Kenneth David Folden, the fiscal administrator appointed by the state the day after Thompson's conviction to bring city finances back into order. Tammy Sheridan Lee, the Monroe city judge who administered the oath to Yoshi Thompson, has withdrawn the authorization. Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is reviewing the legality of the situation.
Meanwhile, Judge James Cecil "Jimmy" Teat of the Louisiana 2nd Judicial District Court in Jonesboro ruled that Thompson had violated the conditions of his bond through continued interference in municipal business. Judge Teat ordered Thompson to be incarcerated in the Jackson Parish Correctional Center until his sentencing on the malfeasance charges.
On October 17, 2013, based on the conviction of malfeasance, Judge Teat sentenced Mayor Thompson to six years of hard labor, large fines, $51,000 in restitution to the city of Jonesboro, five years' suspended sentence, and five years of supervised probation. Thompson will remain incarcerated pending appeal.
In the runoff election for mayor held on December 8, 2018, Thompson unseated Bradford.
Jonesboro also has a "Sunshine Festival" in the summer, featuring antique cars and tractors, food, and games.
Zoned schools include: