Columbus was an important manufacturing base for the Confederacy. Following the Civil War in the spring of 1866, the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus advocated for the establishment of a Confederate Memorial Day which today is observed in 12 southern states. Today, Columbus is the third largest city in the state. Its population of nearly 200,000 is slightly more black than white. Nearby Fort Benning, which supports more than 120,000 active-duty military, family members, reserve component soldiers, retirees, and civilian employees daily, is the city’s largest employer.
Twenty-five percent of the county's black families live in poverty, compared to 8 percent of its white families. The county has a higher income inequality rate than the state’s average. While the median income for a household in Columbus is $42,600, there is a significant racial income inequality. Black households make an average of $31,900 while white households make an average of $56,300. In Columbus, we hosted focus groups where we heard the opinions of college-educated African Americans and white residents, both with mixed age and gender among the respondents. Learn more by reading the full report.