The first settlement here by European Americans became known as the town of Gallatin; two lawyers and brothers-in-law named Walters and Saunders came from
Gallatin, Tennessee, in 1819 and named the village after their hometown. They built their homes on the banks of the Bayou Pierre, in the western part of Copiah County. Other settlers came with them, and in 1829 the state legislature incorporated the town. The first decades of agriculture The incorporation charter was repealed on January 18, 1862.
As Hazlehurst grew, Gallatin declined into a settlement at a crossroads. In April 1872, the legislature ordered the county board of supervisors to hold an election to decide whether the county seat should be moved from Gallatin to Hazlehurst. After a majority voted for the change, Gallatin's old brick courthouse was torn down and reassembled in Hazlehurst
This city had civil rights activity during the mid-1960s. Because of violence against blacks in this area, Mississippi, the armed
Deacons for Defense and Justice established centers here and in nearby Crystal Springs in 1966 and 1967. They provided physical protection for protesters working with the
NAACP on a commercial boycott of white merchants to force integration of facilities and employment, and to gain jobs for African Americans following passage of civil rights legislation in 1964.
January 23, 1969, an F4 tornado devastated the south side of Hazlehurst, killing 11 people in town and damaging or destroying 175 homes.
Hazlehurst is located slightly east of the center of Copiah County.U.S. Route 51 passes through the center of the city, leading north 9 miles (14 km) to
Crystal Springs and south 20 miles (32 km) to
Interstate 55 runs west of and generally parallel to US 51, with access to Hazlehurst from exits 59 and 61.
Mississippi Highway 28 crosses US 51 and I-55 in the northern part of town, leading east 14 miles (23 km) to
Georgetown and west 46 miles (74 km) to
According to the
United States Census Bureau, Hazlehurst has a total area of 4.4 square miles (11.5 km2), of which 4.4 square miles (11.3 km2) is land and 0.04 square miles (0.1 km2), or 1.02%, is water.
Robert Johnson, the
Delta blues musician, was born in Hazlehurst. A monument to him was installed between the Copiah County courthouse and the
Trustmark Bank. Johnson's birth home is located near the courthouse; the City of Hazlehurst is in litigation to determine its future.