Mississippi is a state located in the southeastern part of the United States. According to Sunherald, it is the 32nd largest and the 34th most populated state in the United States. It is neighbored by states such as Alabama, Louisiana, Tennessee, and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, The Bureau of Economic Analysis (TBEA) reported that Mississippi's net state output was about $98 billion. In this post, we will take a closer look at the 8 richest people in Mississippi:
8. Madam C.J. Walker Net Worth - $8 million
Sarah Breedlove, better known as Madam C.J. Walker, was an African-American philanthropist, entrepreneur, and social and political activist. She was then moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi at the age of 10, where she lived with Jesse Powell and Louvenia. Walkers achieved her wealth by creating and marketing a broad line of hair care and cosmetic products for black women through her business, Madam C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company. She also made several financial donations to different charity organizations, such as the NAACP.
Her name originated from Mrs. Charles Joseph Walker. During the late 1880s, she sang at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church as she watched the women at her church and how they valued education. In 1904, she became a commission agent selling merchandise for Annie Malone, the owner of Poro Company. As she worked for Malone, she was able to gain the needed knowledge and develop her hair product line. At the time of her demise, she was considered among the wealthiest African-American businesswomen and self-made black women in the United States.
7. Sheena Allen Net Worth - $700 million
Sheena Allen, born and raised in Terry, Mississippi, is one of the recent people to be included among the richest people in Mississippi. She began building apps in college and was employed in Silicon Valley and Austin. Allen was enrolled at the University of Southern Mississippi, where she built her first app due to her great passion for technology. Although her first app did not sell well, she continued to build apps, including the Dublin app, which is downloaded more than 10-20 thousand times daily.
She later founded her own company dubbed Capway in 2019, which provides financial education and banking services through a mobile app. According to Mortonelderlaw, Capway is a lifestyle company solely built around financial services. Apart from providing debit cards and reliable bank services, they are also keen on equipping people with financial literacy and eliminating the lack of trust that immigrants and lower-income people have over financial institutions.
6. David Rich Net Worth - $1.5 billion
David Rich is an American billionaire born in Jackson, Mississippi, and brought up in a prominent family in the packaged food business. Rich graduated from the Bradley University and Science Virginia Theological Seminary. His father, Robert Rich, Sr., was the founder and CEO of Rich Foods, which was opened after World War II. The company first began selling soy-based whipped topping and ice cream. It later expanded the business into selling non-dairy crème, frozen bread, pies, cakes, and many other delicious non-dairy desserts.
In 1978, his brother, Robert Rich, Jr., was appointed as the President of Rich Foods and eventually became the company's chairman. According to Celebritynetworth, Richard's father passed away in 2006, and his son David Rich inherited approximately 44% of the company's shares. Over the years, David and his brother Robert have expanded the family business by successfully invading the Asian market. Rich Food is one of the main industries in the state and usually makes an annual return of about $3 billion. With an estimated net worth of $1.5 billion, David Rich is listed among the Forbes 400 Richest American list and placed at 236th.
5. Richard Scruggs Net Worth - $1.7 billion
According to USAToday, Richard Scruggs was born on 17th May 1946 in Brookhaven, Mississippi. He is an American retired naval aviator and discharged trial lawyer. He represented the state of Mississippi in the tobacco case of the 1990s. Scruggs was also appointed to represent the hundreds of homeowners filing lawsuits against insurance companies following Hurricane Katrina in the early 2000s.
One of his best-known accomplishments as a lawyer was after he sued the asbestos industry on behalf of the affected shipyard laborers. Richard's legal law career was halted after his involvement in a judicial bribery scheme in 2007. In this case, he pleaded guilty to the conspiracy to bribe Circuit Judge Henry L. Lackey in 2008. He also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to bribe Circuit Judge Bobby DeLaughter. Scruggs is Trent Lott's brother-in-law, the former U.S. Senate Majority Leader.
He also has made financial contributions to the presidential campaigns of John McCain and Joe Biden, the senatorial campaigns of John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, and many other candidates from major political parties in the state. On 15th December 2007, Scruggs planned to host a fundraiser at his home for senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign- an event that was to be attended by retired U.S. President Bill Clinton. However, this fundraiser event was canceled after Richard's indictment.
Following a couple of months after Scruggs' indictment, both the Biden and McCain campaigns returned his donations. On 27th June 2008, Richard Scruggs was sentenced to five years in prison by U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers. On 10th February 2009, he was sentenced to seven years in prison by Judge Glen H. Davidson for the second bribery conspiracy. Both prison times ran concurrently, and he was released in 2014. The now 74-old man graduated from the University of Mississippi and the University of Mississippi Law School.
4. James Duff Net Worth - $2 billion
James Duff is an American billionaire businessman who was born in 1961. Duff and his brother Thomas Duff are the co-owners and founders of Duff Capital Investors, one of the major holding companies in the state with an annual net profit of $2.6 billion. The duo are the sons of Ernest Duff, the founder of Southern Tier Matt and a lawyer in Mississippi. The company was established in 1973 and mainly focuses on the production of truck tires. Southern Tire Matt is the largest truck dealer and retread tire manufacturer in Mississippi. The company sells an average of about 2 million trucks annually and retreads an additional 1.5 million tires for clients like RYDER, PENSKE, and UPS.
Southern Tire Mart employs approximately 1,000 employees and is listed among the top three private firms in Mississippi. James and Thomas Duff inherited the company after his father's death on 27th May 2016. The Duff Capital Investors has its headquarters in Columbia and has partnered with a long list of successful businesses such as; Southern Insurance Group, TLWallace Construction, DeepWell Equipment Rentals, KLLM Trucking, and five car dealership companies. Duff Capital Investors earns annual revenue of about $4.2 billion and employs more than 12,000 people. James Duff is married, has two children, and resides in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.
3. Thomas Duff Net Worth - $2 billion
Thomas Duff is an American billionaire businessman who was born in 1956. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. Together with his brother James Duff, he is the co-founder and CEO of Duff Capital Investors. Their father, Ernest Duff, founded Southern Tire Mart, a dealer in truck tires, in 1973 and sold it in 1998. Thomas and his brother James Duff bought the company back in 2003 and grew it to become one of the leading tire manufacturing companies in the state. When their father sold the business in 1998, the company's annual sales were about $140 million. The company's profits under the new management fell to $80 million yearly, but the Duff brothers increased the business profits after buying the company back. Now, Southern Tire Mart makes an annual sales return of more than $3.5 billion.
Over the years, Duff Capital Investors have bought energy firm DeepWell Energy Services, trucking firm KLLM, and construction firm T.L. Wallace Construction. In 2015, Thomas Duff was later appointed by former Governor Phil Bryant to the Mississippi Public Universities board of trustees. Like his brother James, Tom lives in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and has two children. Thomas and James Duff have refused to disclose their net worth but are estimated to be worth $2 billion each. This ranks them as No. 1513 on the 2022 Forbes list of billionaires in the world, and he is considered one of the richest people in Mississippi.
2. Leslie Lampton Net Worth - $2.4 billion
Leslie Lampton is an American businessman and billionaire born in 1925 in Jackson, Mississippi, USA. He is better known as the CEO and founder of Ergon Inc., one of the state's major oil refinery and distribution companies. Lampton was enrolled at the University of Mississippi, and after he graduated, he pursued a career in the oil industry business. In 1954, he founded Ergon with only two workers.
Thanks to the boom of the oil industry, he was able to grow the company significantly over the following few years. Lampton launched different oil refineries in several states, with some of his biggest refineries situated in Arkansas and West Virginia. He later expanded the company's portfolio to include; maintenance products, computer boards, communication electronics, and security equipment. The company has also formed multiple partnerships and subsidiaries to help expand its market and gain more profits. Lampton owns more than 500 oil wells, primarily in Louisiana and Texas.
He also founded his ethanol factory in the state of Mississippi. Ergon Inc. now has more than 2,500 workers who work under Leslie Lampton. As mentioned earlier, Ergon Inc has several partnerships and subsidiaries that include; Crafco (a company that manufacturers pavement maintenance items), Trico Refining (which was formed after the partnership between San Joaquin Refining and Ergon Inc), and Diversified Technologies (a company that deals with manufacturing embedded systems). The company recently partnered with Lion Oil, which owned an oil field located in Arkansas.
Another subsidiary that the company has is Lampton-Love, a firm that retails liquid petroleum gas. Since they distribute a wide array of petroleum products, Ergon Inc. is estimated to make an annual profit of about $4 billion. They also own the Vicksburg Refinery situated in Vicksburg, Mississippi. While Ergon Inc is considered the primary source of his wealth, all of Lampton's efforts have also played a major role in putting his net worth to where it is today.
1. Oprah Winfrey Net Worth - $2.5 billion
Oprah Gail Winfrey, better known as Oprah or 'Queen of All Media, is an American talk show host, T.V. producer, philanthropist, author, and actress. She rose to fame for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was aired on national television for 25 years, from 1986 to 2011. According to Mealoki, Oprah is the richest African-American woman of the 20th century. She was also considered the world's only black woman billionaire and the greatest black philanthropist woman in America's history. As of 2007, Oprah Winfrey was ranked as one of the most influential women across the globe.
Winfrey was born and raised by her single poor teenage mother living in rural Mississippi. Oprah claimed that she was molested during her early teenage years and was already a mother by the age of fourteen. Her firstborn son was born prematurely and sadly passed away in infancy. She was then sent to live with his father, Vernon Winfrey, who worked as a barber in Nashville, Tennessee. At nineteen, Oprah has already landed a job as a co-anchor for the local evening news.
Thanks to her often emotional and calm delivery and after boosting a third-rated local Chicago talk show to the first position, Winfrey fully transferred to the daytime talk show arena and later launched her own production company. By the late 1990s, Oprah has already reinvented her talk show to now focus on self-improvement, spirituality, mindfulness, and literature.
Additionally, Winfrey also emerged politically in the 2008 presidential race by endorsing the presidency of Barack Obama. In 2013, U.S. President Obama honored Oprah Winfrey with the Presidential Medal of Freedom and received honorary doctorate degrees from Harvard and Duke. Throughout her professional career, Winfrey has received many awards such as the Chairman's Award, Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards, a Tony Award, two Academy Award nominations, the Lifetime Achievement Award, 18 Daytime Emmy Awards, and many others.
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Written by Allen Lee
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