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Arkansas Delta

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Top: Map of Arkansas with traditional delta counties highlighted in red. Other counties sometimes referred to as delta counties are highlighted in pink.
Bottom: The Delta Cultural Center in Helena-West Helena is operated by the Department of Arkansas Heritage to preserve and interpret the culture of the region.

The Arkansas Delta is one of the six natural regions of the state of Arkansas. Willard B. Gatewood Jr., author of The Arkansas Delta: Land of Paradox, says that rich cotton lands of the Arkansas Delta make that area "The Deepest of the Deep South."[1]

The region runs along the Mississippi River from Eudora north to Blytheville and as far west as Little Rock. It is part of the Mississippi embayment, itself part of the Mississippi River Alluvial Plain.[2] The flat plain is bisected by Crowley's Ridge, a narrow band of rolling hills rising 250 to 500 feet (76 to 152 m) above the flat delta plains. Several towns and cities have been developed along Crowley's Ridge, including Jonesboro.[3] The region's lower western border follows the Arkansas River just outside Little Rock down through Pine Bluff. There the border shifts to Bayou Bartholomew, stretching south to the Arkansas-Louisiana state line.

While the Arkansas Delta shares many geographic similarities with the Mississippi Delta, it is distinguished by its five unique sub-regions: the St. Francis Basin, Crowley's Ridge, the White River Lowlands, the Grand Prairie and the Arkansas River Lowlands (also called "the Delta Lowlands"). Much of the region is within the Mississippi lowland forests ecoregion.

The Arkansas Delta includes the entire territories of 15 counties: Arkansas, Chicot, Clay, Craighead, Crittenden, Cross, Desha, Drew, Greene, Lee, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Poinsett, and St. Francis.[4] It also includes portions of another 10 counties: Jackson, Lawrence, Prairie, Randolph, White, Pulaski, Lincoln, Jefferson, Lonoke and Woodruff counties.[5]

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  • ✪ A Deeper Look: The American Dream in Arkansas
  • ✪ Delta Empire
  • ✪ Johnny Cash Boyhood Home - Arkansas Delta - Spring/Summer 2017
  • ✪ Visit Arkansas's Lower Delta
  • ✪ Give Helena, Arkansas the opportunity to surprise you!

Transcription

BLYTHEVILLE TODAY IS ON LIFE SUPPORT. I'M SCARED TO GO THE WEST END <c.magenta> SCARED TO LLE. I</c> GO TO THE SOUTH END. SCREEN MAC I'M SCARED TO GO TO WALMART AT <c.magenta> SCARED TO GO TO </c> KROGER AT NIGHT. I WANT THE WORLD TO SEE HOW OUR YOUTH AND OUR CHILDREN AND OUR FRIENDS AND STUFF AND HOW WE LIVE AROUND HERE. IT A HAPPY PLACE. WELL IN BLYTHEVILLE THE AMERICAN DREAM IS, YOU KNOW, IT SEEMS LIKE ITS WHIPPED. [MUSIC] BLYTHEVILLE, GROWING UP IN BLYT AND 1990980 WAS THE PLACETO BE. BACK IN THE THIS HE 90 WHOLE STREET USE TO BE LIT UP LIKE A CHRISTMAS TREE. NOW LOOK AT IT. IT LOOKS LIKE A GHOST TOWN. GROWING UP IN BLYTHEVILLE DURING THE 80,S AND 90 IT WAS A REAL FUN TIME. [CHEERING] BLYTHEVILLE WAS JUST A GOOD PLACE TO COME TO, IT WAS LIKE A CENTER. A PLACE THAT EVERYBODY WITHIN THE AREA JUST COME TO AND VISITED ESPECIALLY ON A SATURDAY. IT WAS A REAL GOOD TIME. WE WERE A FARMING COMMUNITY, WE CAME FROM OUTSIDE THE COUNTY AND THEN CAME INTO TOWN, AND EVERYBODY JUST HAD A GOOD TIME AND JUST MET THERE YOU KNOW? IT WAS A PRETTY GOOD TIME. IE BEEN A RESIDENT O BLYTHEVILLE ALL MY LIFE. DO YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW MANY YEARS? HAHA, 64. I THINK BLYTHEVILLE ISWAS A GREAT PLACE TO LIVE. IT WAS SAFE, YOU COULD KEEP YOUR DOORS UNLOCKED AT NIGHT. Y HAVE TO LOCK YOUR DOORS. YOU DIDN HAVE TO LOCK YOUR CAR DOORS. IT WAS JUST A SAFE LITTLE TOWN. MAIN STREET WAS MAIN STREET IT WAS A GREAT PLACE TO SHOP. I WAS STATIONED HERE IN THE MILITARY. THIS IS ACTUALLY WHERE MY FIRST BASE WAS; BLYTHEVILLE, BACK WHEN IT WAS BLYTHEVILLE AIR FORCE BASE BEFORE IT BECAME EAKER AIR FORCE BASE. AND I REMEMBER GOING DOWN MAIN STREET AND EVERY BUILDING BEING FULL AND STUFF LIKE THAT. IN FACT, WHEN I GOT OUT OF THE MILITARY WITH MY FAMILY I SAID WELL, YEAH I WANT TO GO TO BLYTHEVILLE. THIS IS WHAT I REMEMBER, THIS IS BLYTHEVILLE, AND LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT CHANGE WHEN I ACTUALLY GOT BACK. [BELLRINGING] [MUSIC] ♪ ♪ &gt;&gt; YOUR TALKING ABOUT A TOWN ♪ ♪ THATS A DELTA TOWN AND A ♪ ♪ DELTA COMMUNITY. USED♪ ♪ TO BE FARMING COMMUNITY AND ♪ ♪ ALL OF THE SUDDEN YOU GET ♪ ♪ THIS BIG SHOCK IN♪ ♪ THE ARM AFTER YOU LOSE THE ♪ ♪ AIR FORCE BASE BACK IN THE ♪ ♪ 90 AND♪ ♪ EVERYTHING JUST CHANGED. ♪ ♪ WITH DIFFERENT CULTURES AND ♪ ♪ ETHNIC CULTURES AND♪ ♪ PEOPLE WERE COMING IN ALL ♪ ♪ THE TIME THAT WERE DOING ♪ ♪ SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN BLYTHEVILLE AND THAT WAS A DIFFERENT ECONOMY AT THAT TIME WHERE YOU HAD THE NICE SHOPS AND STORES AND JUST A NICE TIME BACK THEN, AND THEN FOR TODAY ITS A TIMES HAVE JUST CHANGED. THE AIR BASE, I REMEMBER THE AIR BASE WAS A WHOLE TOWN WITHIN ITSELF. RIGHT HERE IN BLYTHEVILLE. YOU LOSE THE AIRBASE THE WAY IT HAPPENED WE HAD HOMES BEING MOVED OUT OF AND PEOP BUYING THOSE HOMES SO THEREFORE, WHAT HAPPENED WAS, THAT THOSE HOMES WERE LEFT ABANDONED. SO WE HAVE SO MANY ABANDONED HOMES IN BLYTHEVILLE. YOU KNOW WHEN THE AIRBASE WAS UP AND GOING IT WAS A POPPING TOWN. IT WAS A GOOD ECONOMY, LOW CRIME RATE AND PEOPLE SEEMED TO BE MORE INTERACTIVE BACK IN T OSE DAYS, BACK IN THE 70 AND BUT AFTER THE AIRBASE ACTUALLY SHUT DOWN AND DONE AWAY WITH IT, THE CRIME RATE ROSE AND THE ECONOMIES FELL AND VIRTUALLY I BELIEVE FOR THE N STEEL MILLS AND THE INDUSTRIAL PART OF IT AS FAR AS THE INDUSTRIAL PLANTS AND STUFF BLYTHEVILLE WOULD BE NO MORE I DON THINK IT WOULD HOLD. [MUSIC] UP UNTIL 1992 WHEN WE HAD A AIR FORCE BASE THAT WAS BETWEEN 4,000 AND 4,500 ON THE BASE, JUST IMAGINE THE IMPACT IT CAN HAVE WHEN BASICALLY THAT MANY PEOPLE PACK UP AND MOVE OVER NIGHT. E LL SURELY YOU HAD SOME HITS BUT THE HITS WOUE BEEN MUCH MUCH GRE BEEN F IT HADN FOR THE STEEL MILLS THAT HAD BEGAN TO COME IN AT THAT TIME. IN THE CHANGE THATS HAPPENED OVER THESE PAST FEW YEARS IN THE CLOSING OF THE BASE; STEEL TECHNOLOGY CAME ON THE FRONT. AND WHAT YOU HAD HERE IS YOU HAD YOUNG MEN WHO USE TO WORK ONLY WITH AGRICULTURE SEE A MECHANICAL WORLD PRESENT ITSELF IN FRONT OF THEM. WHEN WE STARTED STEEL RELATED BUSINESSESHERE THERE WAS A DESIRE TO LEARN HOW TO PRODUCE THE PRODUCT. &gt;&gt; HIM ARKANSAS NORTHEASTERN COLLEGE, ITS NOT A TYPICAL COLLEGE. THE COLLEGE THEN MET THE NEEDS OF THE PEOPLE BY PROVIDING COURSES TO ALLOW FOR THOSE PEOPLE WHO CAN JUST DO THE LONG SCHOOL SETTINGS, OR TO DEAL WITH THE LIBERAL ARTS DEGREES, BUT TO REACH THE NEEDS BY OFFERING THE SCIENCE DEGREES THAT ARE TEACHING HANDS ON PHYSICAL WORK ETHIC. &gt;&gt; YOU HEAR PEOPLE SAY, WELL COLLEGE IS JUST NOT FOR EVERYONE. WELL THIS COLLEGE IS FOR EVERYONE. REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOUR STARTING PLACE MIGHT BE.IF YOU HAVE A 6TH GRADE EDUCATION WE HAVE A STARTING PLACE FOR YOU. A COUPLE GREAT EXAMPLES OF VERY SHORT TERM PROGRAMS THAT HAVE AN IMMEDIATE BENEFIT. ONE IS OUR MATERIAL HANDLING PROGRAM. IT TAKES 4 WEEKS TO COMPLETE. THE PROGRAM IS FREE, THEY CAN COME IN AND IN 4 WEEKS LEARN HOW TO OPERATE A VARIETY OF EQUIPMENT. DIFFERENT HIM CRANES THINGS LIKE THAT AND GO OUT AND DEPENDING ON WHERE THEY GO TO WORK IF THEY GO TO WORK IN THE STEEL INDUSTRY THEY CAN MAKE 15, 16 DOLLARS RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE. IN TERMS OF SHORT TERM GOALS AND STACKABLE HIM CREDENTIALS, ALLIED HEALTH IS A GREAT EXAMPLE. A PERSON CAN START WITH THE CERTIFIED NURSING PROGRAM WHICH CAN BE COMPLETED IN 6 WEEKS, THEY CAN GO FROM CNA AND ADD PHLEBOTOMY AND NOW THEY CAN ADD THAT TO THEIR REPERTOIRE OF SKILLS AND JOB POSSIBILITIES. THEY CAN TAKE THE NEXT STEP THEN AND BECOME A LICENSED PRACTICAL NURSE BECOME AND LPN AND HAVE CAREER HIM THERE AND OF COURSE FROMTHAT POINT IS REGISTERED NURSE AND THOSE CAREERS PAY VERY, VERY WELL. &gt;&gt; I AM THE SUCCESS NAVIGATOR AT ARKANSAS NORTHEASTERN COLLEGE, IVE BEEN ON THE JOB 24 DAYS NOW. HIM I AM CURRENTLY GOING OUT TO DIFFERENT AREAS IN THE COMMUNITIES AND THE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE UNDER SERVED. SOME OF THOSE INDIVIDUALS HAVE NO IDEA WHAT COLLEGE OR EDUCATION OR WHAT CAREERS ARE AVAILABLE TO THEM WITH JUST A LITTLE TRAINING. [ DRAMA PLAYING ] &gt;&gt; WELL, SEVEN MONTHS PREGNANT. NO JOB. LIVING WITH MY BOYFRIEND AND HIS MOM, SO IT CAN GET A LITTLE DIFFICULT AT TIMES. IT IS A GIRL. I WANTED TO BE CNA AND MAYBE LATER ON I COULD BECOME AN LPN I COULD WORK TOWARDS THAT. YOU KNOW SO, I WANT HER TO BE ABLE TO HAVE EVERYTHING SHE NEEDS AS FAR AS SCHOOL CLOTHES, SCHOOL SUPPLIES. I AM NOT REALLY INTO A LOT OF MATERIALISTIC THINGS SO I DON'T NEED A GOOD CAR, YOU KNOW I DON'T NEED A BIG HOUSE. I JUST WANT TO BE SETTLED. I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO JUMP FROM PLACE TO PLACELIKE I USED TO WHEN I WAS YOUNGER, YOU KNOW, CAUSE IT IS HARD YOU KNOW? IT GETS VERY DIFFICULT AT TIMES SO. I WANT THE WORLD TO SEE HOW, YOU KNOW, HOW OUR YOUTH AND OUR CHILDREN AND OUR FAMILIES HOW WE ARE LIVING AROUND HERE. IT IS NOT A HAPPY PLACE. IT'S NOT THAT. IT'S NOT THAT BLUE WATER AND THAT GOOD HIGHWAY, NUMBER YOU DON'T GET THAT OVER HERE. EVERYTHING LOOKS LIKE TRASH. IT IS LIKE A GHOST TOWN WITH NO HOPE IN IT. NOTHING. THERE IS NOTHING HERE. &gt;&gt; I MEAN THEY JUST GAVE UP ON THIS SIDE. THEY JUST GAVE UP ON US TYPE OF PEOPLE MAN, YOU KNOW. &gt;&gt; WHAT KIND OF CHILDHOOD YOU WANT TO PROVIDE FOR YOUR DAUGHTER? &gt;&gt; A HAPPY CHILDHOOD. I DON'T WANT HER TO SEE HER MOTHER STRUGGLE, JUST IN CASE ME AND HER DAD DOESN'T MAKE IT. YOU KNOW. I DON'T WANT TO BE A SINGLE MOM STRUGGLING. I KNOW WOMEN NOW WHO WALK THE STREETS DAY AND NIGHT WITH THEIR CHILD BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY ARE GOING THROUGH. SO I JUST DON'T WANT TO BE IN A MESSED UP SITUATION TO WHERE I FEEL LIKE I FAILED. THAT'S LIKE THE BIGGEST THING FOR ME. I'VE BEEN DEALING WITH OBSTACLES ALL MY LIFE, SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE I CAN'T DO IT. I GIVE UP ON A LOT OF STUFF WHEN I FEEL LIKE IT'S HARD YOU KNOW. YOU THINK YOUR DAUGHTER WILL BE MOTIVATION TO STOP THAT?&gt;&gt; YES, THAT'S WHY I AM STARTING NOW. &gt;&gt; DO YOU HAVE A DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED NOW? YEAH. &gt;&gt; DO YOU HAVE A FEAR OF NOT SUCCEEDING? NO, AND IT IS BECAUSE IF I WANT TO SUCCEED, I WILL. IF I REALLY WANT IT, I WILL FIGHT FOR IT. [MUSIC] &gt;&gt; DO YOU THINK THE AMERICAN DREAM IS A REAL THING? DO YOU THINK IF YOU WORK HARD . &gt;&gt; . [ TRAIN] HAVE BEEN COMING HERE SINCE I WAS 12 YEARS OLD . I CUT HAIR AS A KID. AS A KID, I PLAYED AROUND CUTTING HAIR AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD ALL YOUR FRIENDS SAY "CUT MY HAIR, CUT MY HAIR." THEY SEE ME CUT MY HAIR AND THEY SAID WILL YOU CUT MY HAIR LIKE THAT? DOING LITTLE THINGS LIKE THAT, CUTTING HAIR AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD. BUT THEN AS I GOT OLDER I STARTED CUTTING, THEN I WENT ON AND WENT TO SCHOOL AS SOON AS I WENT OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL I WENT STRAIGHT ONTO BARBER COLLEGE. &gt;&gt; WELL IN 19 I GUESS IN THE 70S, 75 OR 80, IT WAS BOOMING DOWNTOWN THERE WERE SO MANY PEOPLE DOWNTOWN THAT YOU REALLY HAD TO WALK OUT IN THE STREET. YOU CANNOT REALLY WALK ON THE SIDEWALK THERE WERE THAT MANY PEOPLE. FROM ONE END OF FROM SECOND STREET ALL THE WAY DOWN TO ALMOST TO THE BANK. EVERYBODY HAS A DREAM, WHETHER THEY FOLLOW THROUGH WITH IT OR NOT IS ALL DEPENDS ON THEM.WE ARE ON THIRD AND MAIN 301 MAIN. &gt;&gt; HEY YOU KNOW DANTE, YOU KNOW THAT CAMERA ALWAYS FIND SOMEBODY THAT DON'TLIKE THE CAMERA. DON'T IT? THINK ABOUT IT THOUGH, LOOK WHERE IT'S AT. I AM DODGING IT, I WAS WAY OVER HERE ON THIS SIDE OF THE ROOM. I AM SERIOUS MAN! IT IS LIKE HE KNEW THIS. THIS CAMERA KNEW THAT I DID NOT WANT TO BE ON CAMERA STEVE. YOU SAW ME. SEE I WENT WAY OVER THERE. STEVE, I SAID COME ON MAN, THAT'S CRAZY MAN. &gt;&gt; I AM TRYING TO DO THIS DANTE BECAUSE I WOULD NOT MIND BEING AN ACTOR. I WOULD NOT MIND GETTING A ROLE IN A MOVIE SOMETIME SO I'M GOING TO TRY TO JUST TUNE THIS OUT AND ACT LIKE THIS IS MY PRACTICE RIGHT NOW. YEAH. &gt;&gt; I'M SERIOUS. RIGHT STEVE. I AM GOING TO ACT LIKE, YOU KNOW, THAT'S HOW YOU GOT TO DO, YOU CANNOT STARE INTO THE CAMERA YOU CAN'T LOOK AT THE CAMERA RIGHT. ACTION. [LAUGHTER] JOSH, YOU COLD MAN. &gt;&gt; WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL AS A KID MY DREAM WAS TO ONE DAY GET MY OWN PLACE OWN MY OWN BUSINESS AND START DOING THINGS. &gt;&gt; YOU DON'T LIKE FOOTBALL? THAT AIN'T AMERICAN IF YOU DON'T WATCH FOOTBALL. I USED TO ALWAYS SAY WHEN I WAS YOUNG KID ALL THE TIME; AT THE AGE OF 25 I WANT TO BUY ME A HOUSE AT THE AGE OF 30 I WANT MY OWN BUSINESS; AND BY THE AGE OF 30 I HAVE BOTH ACCOMPLISHED. AND THAT WAS ONE OF MY AMERICAN DREAMS. &gt;&gt; T IS, JUST IN. POP BARBERSHOP HAS FRESH CUTS INSIDE. WE MOVED IN WITH OUR CAMERAS AND WE CALL THESE BARBERS GIVING FRESH CUTS. JOSH GIVES FRESH CUTS. SO DOES TONY, DANTE, STEVE, SOLOMON, CHRIS, JOHNNY AND THE BIG GUY POP. AND IN THE BEAUTY SHOP ROMANDA AND BETTY HAVE GREAT STYLES FOR THE LADIES. SO R BARBER AND BEAUTY DOWNTOWN PINE BLUFF. DOWNTOWN PINE BLUFF IS MOSTLY ABANDONED TODAY. &gt;&gt; IT'S MORE LIKE OLD WOUNDS. THERE ARE A FEW OLD BUILDINGS THAT HAVE DETERIORATED AND LOOK LIKE THEY'RE ABOUT TO FALL DOWN. IT LOOKS PRETTY MUCH LIKE NOBODY COMES DOWN THERE. WELL YOU KNOW EIGHTH STREET IS CLOSED OFF TO SIXTH STREET BECAUSE OF THE COLLAPSED BUILDING THAT'S BEEN THERE FOR SEVERAL YEARS; FOR TWO YEARS. IN THE LAST TWO YEARS OR 2 AND A HALF YEARS, FOUR BUILDINGS HAVE EITHER COLLAPSED TOTALLY OR PARTIALLY ON MAIN STREET. &gt;&gt; LET ME PUT THIS FADE IN THERE FOR YOU. &gt;&gt; ALRIGHT POP. POP YOU GOING TO MAKE ME FEEL GOOD ON MY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW. &gt;&gt; THIS, WELCOME TO AGE 42, WELCOME TO 42 LET ME PUT THIS BLEND IN THERE FOR YOU. JOSH, YOU SAY THIS IS A DOCUMENTARY THE AMERICAN DREAM? ARE YOU LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM? &gt;&gt; IT'S FUNNY YOU KEEP COMING BACK IT'S FUNNY YOU'RE DOING THIS DOCUMENTARY POP BUT TO ME THE AMERICAN DREAM NOWADAYS IS TO BE HEALTHY. THAT'S THE AMERICAN DREAM, YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN? STAYING HEALTHY. LIVE. STAY HEALTHY AND TRY TO LIVE LONG. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF YOUR OPPORTUNITIES. THERE YOU GO. &gt;&gt; I SEE THE AMERICAN DREAM AS THIS LIGHT THAT IS SET ON A HILL THAT WE CAN ALL SEE. IT'S THERE, WE ALL KNOW IT'S THERE. BUT THERE ARE A NUMBER OF THINGS THAT HINDER SOME PEOPLE FROM GETTING THERE. WHETHER IT BE LACK OF EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES, LACK OF FINANCIAL OPPORTUNITY LACK OF JOBS, LACK OF RESOURCES. AND SO THE STATE OF IT, I THINK, IT IS IN TACT. IT HAS TAKEN SOME DAMAGE, IT'S BEEN DAMAGED. IT'S BEEN WOUNDED. IT'S PROBABLY BLOODY AND BEAT UP RIGHT NOW, BUT I THINK IT IS STILL ALIVE. MY BUSIEST DAY OF THE WEEK IS PROBABLY FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. ON FRIDAY I GET UP EARLY IN THE MORNING COME ON TO WORK, WHEN I PULL UP TO WORK, MY CUSTOMERS ALREADY KNOW THAT I WILL BE HERE AT 5 O'CLOCK I HAVE BEEN DOING FOR SO MANY YEARS SO MY CUSTOMERS ALREADY REALIZE POP IS GOING TO BE HERE AT 5:00. I KNOW I'M GOING TO BE HERE FIVE. SO I'M GOING TO GET UP HERE EARLY AND I AM GOING TO BE PREPARED ALREADY TO BE READY. ON MY WAY HERE I SAY A LITTLE PRAYER, I SAY LORD LET ME BE ABLE TO HANDLE THE CROWD THAT'S ALREADY HERE. I TRY TO SPEAK THAT INTO EXISTENCE. AND THEN WHEN I GET HERE I JUST GO AHEAD AND ON AND WORK ALL THROUGH THE DAY. THEN MOST TIME I HIM HIM TRY TO GET OUT HERE ABOUT 7:00 OR 8 O'CLOCK AND EVENINGS. &gt;&gt; ALL RIGHT. &gt;&gt; RIGHT ON POP. &gt;&gt; ALL RIGHT MAN. &gt;&gt;. [ TRAIN] AND THEN I AM BACK THE NEXT MORNING I GO HOME AND GET SOME REST AND DO THE SAME ROUTINE AGAIN HERE AT 5:00 AM THE NEXT MORNING. AND I COME TO DO THE SAME THING AGAIN. THE ONLY DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ON A SATURDAY, I TRY TO GET OUT HERE A LOT EARLIER ON SATURDAY. I'M A FAMILY MAN I TRY TO SPEND TIME WITH MY FAMILY. WHAT BUSINESSES DOWNTOWN ATTRACT CUSTOMERS? IT'S A COUPLE OF THEM, YOU'VE GOT THAT WIG STORE HERE. IT IS GOING OUT BUT IT'S STILL HERE NOW. YOU GOT US. YOU GOT RJ'S DOWN THE ROAD A LITTLE RESTAURANT DOWN HERE. I GUESS THAT'S PRETTY MUCH IT. THEN YOU'VE GOT CITY HALL. THE CITY'S GOT SOME SORT OF BUILDING DOWN HERE THAT'S ABOUT IT. &gt;&gt; DO I SEE YOU PROMISE? THAT IS A HARD QUESTION TO ANSWER. WELL AS FAR AS SEEN ANY PROMISE IN THE DOWNTOWN BUILDINGS I DON'T SEE ANY IN THE BUILDINGS THEMSELVES. I SEE SOME PROMISE IN SOME INDIVIDUALS IN PINE BLUFF. HEY TAKE A PICTURE OF ME. YES, I WOULD SAY I AM LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM. &gt;&gt; I FEEL LIKE THE AMERICAN DREAM IS WHEN YOU GET THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY. YOU GET THE RIGHT OPPORTUNITY AND MAKE THE BEST OUT OF YOUR OPPORTUNITY. &gt;&gt; Y'ALL HAVE A GOOD ONE. BYE-BYE. &gt;&gt; YOU DON'T HAVE TO, BUT IF YOU DROP A RHYME I MIGHT USE IT. GIVE SOMETHING INSPIRATIONAL. MOTIVATIONAL. &gt;&gt; RIDE THROUGH THE JUNGLE WITH MY BROTHERS. GOT TO KEEP IT REAL TRYING HARDNOT TO FUMBLE, RUMBLE. IF A DUDE TRY YOU YOU DON'T WANT IT &gt;&gt; THE AMERICAN DREAM FOR ME MAYBERRY. &gt;&gt; THE AMERICAN DREAM AND WORKING HARD IN BLYTHEVILLE I REALLY BELIEVE IF YOU PUT TIME AND COURAGE INTO WHAT YOU DO IT WILL BE A SUCCESS FOR YOU. &gt;&gt; THE AMERICAN DREAM FOR ME IS FREEDOM, LOVE AND PEACE. AND I MOST HONESTLY SAY YES I TRY TO LIVE THAT EVERY DAY. PEACE AMONG THE NATION. LOVE AMONG THE NATION. AND A UNDERSTANDING AMONG THE NATION. A CERTAIN FREEDOM LIKE A FREEDOM OF THE MIND. YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I'M SAYING? &gt;&gt; THE AMERICAN DREAM IN PINE BLUFF DOES EXIST. MY ENTIRE FORMATIVE YEARS WERE SPENT HERE IN BLYTHEVILLE. &gt;&gt; I BELIEVE IT IS COMING BACK. AND SO I WANT TO BE A PART OF THAT. I AM EXCITED ABOUT HELPING THAT AND I DO HAVE THE PHILOSOPHY THAT BLYTHEVILLE IS GETTING BETTER. STAY FOCUSED AND HUMBLE DON'T GET CAUGHT IN THE DRAMA. ALWAYS LISTEN TO MAMA. THE AMERICAN DREAM IS OWNERSHIP. OWNERSHIP. OWNERSHIP. &gt;&gt; TO ME, HERE IN BLYTHEVILLE, IT'S WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. YOU HAVE TO SEE IT AND BELIEVE IT AND ACHIEVE IT. &gt;&gt; WELL THE AMERICAN DREAM AND BLYTHEVILLE IS WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE IT IN BLYTHEVILLE I THINK YOU'VE GOT TO GET THE SKILLS AND RESOURCES AND EDUCATION TO GET WHAT YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF IT. &gt;&gt; I THINK YOU KNOW, A LOT OF PEOPLE USE EXCUSES BECAUSE WE LIVE IN BLYTHEVILLE YOU CAN'T SUCCEED, BUT IF YOU REALLY WANT TO PUT FORTH AN EFFORT I THINK YOU CAN MAKE THE AMERICAN DREAM RIGHT HERE BLYTHEVILLE. ALL I REALLY WANTED IN MY LIFE TO BE SUCCESSFUL MY BROTHER COME UP OUT THE FED, NOW EVERYTHING IS BETTER.

Contents

Geography

The Delta is subdivided into five unique sub-regions, including the St. Francis Basin, Crowley's Ridge, the White River Lowlands, the Grand Prairie, and the Arkansas River Lowlands (also called "the Delta Lowlands").

Grand Prairie

Rice field near Stuttgart
Rice field near Stuttgart

The underlying impermeable clay layer in the Stuttgart soil series that allowed the region to be a flat grassland plain initially appeared to stunt the region's growth relative to the rest of the Delta. But in 1897, William Fuller began cultivating rice, a crop that requires inundation, with great success. Rice cultivation still features prominently in the region's economy and culture today. Riceland Foods, the world's largest rice miller and marketer, is based in Stuttgart, Arkansas on the Grand Prairie.[6]

History

Early history and frontier Arkansas

In the earth's history, after the Gulf of Mexico withdrew from what was Missouri, many floods occurred in the Mississippi River Delta, building up alluvial deposits. In some places the deposits measure 100 feet (30 m) deep.[7]

The region was occupied by succeeding cultures of indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Some cultures built major earthwork mounds, with evidence of mound-building cultures dating back more than 12,000 years. These mounds have been preserved in three main locations: the Nodena Site, Parkin Archaeological State Park, and Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park.[8]

French explorers and colonists encountered the historic Quapaw people in this region, who lived along the Arkansas River and its tributaries. The first European settlement in what became the state was the French trading center, Arkansas Post.[9] The post was founded by Henri de Tonti while searching for Robert de La Salle in 1686.[10] The commerce in the area was initially based on fishing and wild game. The fur trade and lumber later were critical to the economy.[11]

Early European-American settlers crossed the Mississippi and settled among the swamps and bayous of east Arkansas. Frontier Arkansas was a rough, lawless place infamous for violence and criminals.[12] Settlers, who were mostly French and Spanish colonists, generally engaged in a mutually beneficial give-and-take trading relationship with the Native Americans. French trappers often married Quapaw women and lived in their villages, increasing their alliances for trade.

Around 1800 United States settlers gradually entered this area.[7] In 1803 the US acquired the territory from France by the Louisiana Purchase.[13] As settlers began to acquire and clear land, they encroached on Quapaw territory and traditional hunting and fishing practices. The two cultures had divergent views of property. Relations deteriorated further after the 1812 New Madrid earthquake, which was felt throughout the region and taken as a portent. Some Native Americans considered the earthquake to be a sign of punishment for trading with the European settlers.[14]

The beginning point of all subsequent surveys of the Louisiana Purchase was placed in the Arkansas Delta near Blackton. In 1993 this site was named a National Historic Landmark and later preserved as Louisiana Purchase State Park. A granite marker, accessible via a boardwalk through a swamp, marks the starting point of the survey.[15]

Territorial era through statehood

Lakeport Plantation in Chicot County, built ca. 1850, is one of the few remaining plantation houses in Arkansas.
Lakeport Plantation in Chicot County, built ca. 1850, is one of the few remaining plantation houses in Arkansas.

During the antebellum era, American settlers used enslaved African Americans as laborers to drain swamps and clear forests along the river to cultivate the rich alluvial plain. They began to develop cotton plantations, which produced the chief commodity crop of the region.[7]

After achieving territorial status in 1819, Arkansas reneged on an 1818 treaty with the Quapaw. Territory officials began removing the Quapaw from their fertile homeland in the Arkansas delta. The Quapaw had inhabited lands along the Arkansas River and near its mouth at the Mississippi River for centuries.

The invention of the cotton gin had made short-staple cotton profitable, and the Deep South was developed for cotton cultivation. It grew well in fertile delta soils. Settlers took these fertile lands for agriculture and pushed the Quapaw south to Louisiana in 1825-1826. The Quapaw returned to southeast Arkansas by 1830, but were permanently relocated to Oklahoma in 1833 under the Indian Removal Act passed by Congress.[16]

High cotton prices encouraged many planters to concentrate on cotton as a commodity crop, and the large plantations were dependent on slave labor. The plantation economy and a slave society were developed in the Arkansas Delta,[7] with black slaves forming the majority of the population in these counties. This region developed political interests different from outlying areas where yeomen farmers were concentrated.

Many African Americans were brought into the Delta throughout the early-to-mid-19th century through the domestic slave trade, transported from the Upper South. The counties with the largest populations of slaves by 1860 included Phillips (8,941), Chicot (7,512), and Jefferson (7,146).[citation needed] Prior to the U.S. Civil War, numerous Delta counties had majority-black and enslaved populations.[7] As Arkansas was developed later than some other areas of the Deep South, its wealthy planters did not construct as many grand plantation mansions as in other states. The American Civil War ended that prosperous antebellum period.[7]

The Civil War resulted in destruction to the river levees and other property damage. Expensive investment was required to repair the levees. The region's continued reliance on agriculture kept wages low, and the cotton market did not recover. Many freedmen stayed in the area, working by sharecropping and tenant farming as a way of life.

20th century, through Civil Rights era

Like other states of the former Confederacy, the state legislature of Arkansas passed laws to disenfranchise most blacks and many poor whites, in an effort to suppress Republican voting. It passed the Election Law of 1891, which required secret ballots, and standardized ballots, eliminating many illiterate voters. It also created a centralized election board, providing for consolidation of Democratic political power. Having reduced voter rolls, in 1892 the Democrats passed a poll tax amendment to the constitution, creating another barrier to voter registration for struggling white and black workers alike, many unable to pay such fees in a cash-poor economy. These two measures caused sharp declines in the number of African-American and white voters; by 1895 no African-American members were left in the General Assembly. The Republican Party was hollowed out, and the farmer-labor alliance collapsed. Most blacks were kept off the rolls and out of electoral politics for more than six decades, until after Congressional passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, although a concerted effort in the 1940s increased voter registration.

Social tensions rose in the area after World War I, as black veterans pushed for better conditions. Unlike other mass riots of Red Summer 1919, when whites attacked blacks in numerous northern and midwestern cities because of labor and social competition, the Elaine Race Riot, now known as the "Elaine Massacre", was the result of rural forces. It occurred near Elaine, Arkansas in the Delta, where local planters were trying to discourage the formation of an agricultural union among blacks. White mobs killed an estimated 237 blacks; five whites were killed in the unrest.

The area suffered extensively during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927, which put tens of thousands of acres underwater, caused extensive property damage, and left many people homeless.[citation needed]

In the 1940s the mechanized cotton picker was introduced into regional agriculture. This led to a significant decline in demand for manual labor. During World War II, the defense industry in California and other western locations attracted many African-American workers from Arkansas, Louisiana and Texas in a second wave of the Great Migration, resulting in a marked population decrease in the Delta. The lack of jobs continued to cause a decline. Charles Bowden of National Geographic wrote, "By 1970 the sharecropping world was already disappearing, and the landscape of today—huge fields, giant machines, battered towns, few people—beginning to emerge."[7]

Music

The Arkansas Delta is known for its rich musical heritage. While defined primarily by its deep blues/gospel roots, it is distinguished somewhat from its Mississippi Delta counterpart by more intricately interwoven country music and R&B elements. Arkansas blues musicians have defined every genre of blues from its inception, including ragtime, hokum, country blues, Delta blues, boogie-woogie, jump blues, Chicago blues, and blues-rock. Eastern Arkansas' predominantly African-American population in cities such as Helena, West Memphis, Pine Bluff, Brinkley, Cotton Plant, Forrest City and others has provided a fertile backdrop of juke joints, clubs and dance halls which have so completely nurtured this music. Many of the nation's blues pioneers were either born in the Arkansas Delta or lived in the region.

Today the region hosts several blues events throughout the year, culminating in the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Fest. The festival attracts an average of about 85,000 people per day over its three-day run; it is rated in the top 10 music events in the nation by festivals.com.

Gospel music, the mother of Delta Blues, is enshrined in the lives and social fabric of residents. Many popular Delta artists in all other genres had their start singing or playing in church choirs and quartets. Given the historic racism and entrenched segregation in the Delta, the African-American church and, by extension, its music, have taken on a central role in the lives of residents. African-American gospel music's roots are deep in the Delta. Unlike the blues, which has been historically dominated by men throughout the Delta, women established a pioneering role in gospel music. From the quartet traditions that dominate south Arkansas, to the classic and contemporary solo artists who have found national prominence in the east, gospel music in the Delta has made and continues to make a significant mark on the cultural landscape.

The Arkansas Delta's country music roots have depth, with legendary performers coming from the area. While more geographically dispersed throughout the region, these artists represent the very best in country genres, including bluegrass, rockabilly, folk music, and alternative country. This music expresses the long-standing relationship between blues and country. As young country musicians continue to develop in the Delta, they continue to help the genre grow and evolve.

R&B music has also had a presence as an outgrowth of the strong blues and gospel traditions. The East Central Delta area has produced a small number of talented and influential R&B artists.

Arkansas's blues Influence, shares a rich heritage with Mississippi and Memphis, Tennessee. Arkansas was home to numerous blues masters, who are held in high esteem by newer generations learning blues history. Arkansas blues artists influenced decades of pop culture music by such artists as Muddy Waters, Little Milton, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Joe Bonamassa, Stevie Ray Vaughan, George Harrison and the Rolling Stones. Some of the most notable Arkansas Delta born or affiliated blues/gospel artists include: Albert King, Big Bill Broonzy, Sippie Wallace, George Thomas, Bobby Rush, Eb Davis, Frank Frost, George Harmonica Smith, Hollis Gillmore, Howlin’ Wolf, Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, Johnny Shines, Junior Walker, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Junior Wells, Larry Davis, Louis Jordan, Luther Allison, Michael Burks, Robert Johnson, Robert Lockwood Jr., Al Bell, J. Mayo "Ink" Williams, Robert Nighthawk, Sam Carr, Houston Stackhouse, James Cotton, Johnny Taylor, Shirley Brown, William "Petey Wheatstraw" Bunch, Son Seals, Luther Allison, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Al Green, and others. Country/ Americana artists Johnny Cash and Levon Helm were also born and raised in the Arkansas Delta.

Today

Cotton fields in Poinsett County.  This flat, rural landscape is typical of the Arkansas Delta
Cotton fields in Poinsett County. This flat, rural landscape is typical of the Arkansas Delta
Jonesboro, the largest city in the delta region
Jonesboro, the largest city in the delta region

The Arkansas Delta economy is still dominated by agriculture. The main commodity crop is cotton; other crops include rice and soybeans. Catfish farming has been developed as a new source of revenue for Arkansas Delta farmers, along with poultry production.

The Delta has some of the lowest population densities in the American South, sometimes fewer than 1 person per square mile. Slightly more than half the population is African American, reflecting their deep history in the area. Eastern Arkansas has the most cities in the state with majority African-American populations. Urbanization and the shift to mechanization of farm technology during the past 60 years has sharply reduced jobs in the Delta. People have followed jobs out of the region, leading to a declining tax base. This hampers efforts to support education, infrastructure development, community health and other vital aspects of growth. The region's remaining people suffer from unemployment, extreme poverty, and illiteracy.

The Delta Cultural Center in Helena seeks to preserve and interpret the culture of the Arkansas Delta along with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff's University and Cultural Museum. The Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas in Pine Bluff is charged with highlighting and promoting works of Delta artists.

The ivory-billed woodpecker, which had not been sighted since 1944 and is believed to be extinct, was reportedly seen in a swamp in east Arkansas in 2005.

Principal cities

Higher education

Highways

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Williard B. Gatewood Jr. and Jeannie M. Whayne, eds. (1996). The Arkansas Delta: Land of Paradox. University of Arkansas Press. p. 3. ISBN 978-1-61075-032-5.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Gatewood and Whayne 1993, p. 3.
  3. ^ Smith, Richard M. (1989). The Atlas of Arkansas. The University of Arkansas Press. p. 19. ISBN 1557280479.
  4. ^ "The Arkansas Delta - The Region". Arkansas Delta Byways. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  5. ^ Gatewood and Whayne (1993), N.Pag..
  6. ^ Lancaster, Guy (December 16, 2011). "Grand Prairie". Retrieved August 28, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Bowden, Charles. "Return to the Arkansas Delta". (Archive) National Geographic. November 2012. Retrieved on June 3, 2013.
  8. ^ Early, Ann M. (November 5, 2011). "Indian Mounds". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. The Butler Center. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  9. ^ Smith, Darlene (Spring 1954). "Arkansas Post". Arkansas Historical Quarterly. Arkansas Historical Association. 13: 120.
  10. ^ Mattison, Ray H. (Summer 1957). "Arkansas Post: Its Human Aspects". Arkansas Historical Quarterly. Arkansas Historical Association. 16: 119.
  11. ^ Gatewood and Whayne 1993, pp. 8-9.
  12. ^ Gatewood and Whayne 1993, pp. 9-10.
  13. ^ Arnold et al (2002), p. 78.
  14. ^ Arnold et al (2002), p. 89.
  15. ^ Baker, William D. (September 16, 1991). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Louisiana Purchase Survey Marker / Louisiana Purchase Initial Point Site" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved July 31, 2012.
  16. ^ White, Lonnie J. (Autumn 1962). "Arkansas Territorial Indian Affairs". Arkansas Historical Quarterly. Arkansas Historical Association. 21: 197.

References

  • Arnold, Morris S.; DeBlack, Thomas A.; Sabo III, George; Whayne, Jeannie M. (2002). Arkansas: A narrative history (1st ed.). Fayetteville, Arkansas: The University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-724-4. OCLC 49029558.
  • Gatewood, Willard B; Whayne, Jeannie (1993). The Arkansas Delta: A Land of Paradox. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 1-55728-287-0.
  • Dollins, Mike. Blues Guitar News: A listing of Arkansas Blues Legends and Blues Highway 49 History.[1]

Further reading

External links

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