HOME
The Info List - Arkansas Delta



--- Advertisement ---


(i) (i) (i) (i) (i)

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

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

While the Arkansas
Arkansas
Delta shares many geographic similarities with the Mississippi Delta
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
Arkansas
River Lowlands (also called "the Delta Lowlands").

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

CONTENTS

* 1 Geography

* 1.1 Grand Prairie

* 2 History

* 2.1 Early history and frontier Arkansas
Arkansas
* 2.2 Territorial era through statehood * 2.3 20th century, through Civil Rights era

* 3 Music * 4 Today * 5 Principal cities * 6 Higher education * 7 Highways * 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 Further reading * 12 External links

GEOGRAPHY

See also: St. Francis River
St. Francis River
, Crowley\'s Ridge , White River (Arkansas) , and Arkansas
Arkansas
River

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
Arkansas
River Lowlands (also called "the Delta Lowlands").

GRAND PRAIRIE

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, to the region 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
Arkansas
on the Grand Prairie.

HISTORY

See also: History of Arkansas
Arkansas

EARLY HISTORY AND FRONTIER ARKANSAS

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

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
Nodena Site
, Parkin Archaeological State Park
Parkin Archaeological State Park
, and Toltec Mounds Archeological State Park .

French explorers and colonists encountered the historic Quapaw people in this region, who lived along the Arkansas
Arkansas
River and its tributaries. The first European settlement in what became the state was the trading center, Arkansas
Arkansas
Post . The post was founded by Henri de Tonti while searching for Robert de La Salle in 1686. The commerce in the area was not initially cotton but fishing and wild game. The fur trade and lumber later were critical to the economy.

Early settlers crossed the Mississippi and settled among the swamps and bayous of east Arkansas. Frontier Arkansas
Arkansas
was a rough, lawless place infamous for violence and criminals. 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. In 1803 the US acquired the territory from France by the Louisiana Purchase . 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.

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

TERRITORIAL ERA THROUGH STATEHOOD

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

American settlers drained swamps and cleared forests along the river to cultivate the rich alluvial plain. They began to develop cotton plantations.

After achieving territorial status in 1819, Arkansas
Arkansas
reneged on an 1818 treaty with the Quapaw. Territory officials began removing the Quapaw from their fertile homeland in the Arkansas
Arkansas
delta. The Quapaw had inhabited lands along the Arkansas
Arkansas
River and near its mouth at the Mississippi River
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
Louisiana
in 1825-1826. The Quapaw returned to southeast Arkansas
Arkansas
by 1830, but were permanently relocated to Oklahoma
Oklahoma
in 1833 under the Indian Removal Act passed by Congress. 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
Arkansas
Delta, with black slaves forming the majority of the population. This region developed political interests different from outlying areas where yeomen farmers were concentrated.

Many African Americans
African Americans
were brought into the Delta throughout the early-to-mid-19th century to work as slaves on plantations . Counties maintaining the largest populations of slaves by 1860 included Phillips (8,941), Chicot (7,512), and Jefferson (7,146). Prior to the U.S. Civil War
U.S. Civil War
, numerous Delta counties had higher numbers of blacks than whites, because of the thousands of persons enslaved. Arkansas was developed later and its wealthy planters did not construct as many grand plantation mansions as in other parts of the Deep South. The American Civil War
American Civil War
ended that prosperous antebellum period.

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 survived by sharecropping and tenant farming as a way of life.

20TH CENTURY, THROUGH CIVIL RIGHTS ERA

THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (June 2013)

Like other states of the former Confederacy, Arkansas
Arkansas
passed laws to reduce black and Republican voting, as well as that of poor whites. 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 for struggling white and black workers alike, many unable to pay such fees to register and vote. 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. It hollowed out the Republican Party and reduced the farmer-labor alliance. Most blacks were kept off the rolls and out of electoral politics until after Democratic 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 racial unrest erupted in numerous northern and midwestern cities because of labor and social competition, the Elaine Race Riot or the "Elaine Massacre" was the result of rural forces. It occurred near Elaine, Arkansas
Arkansas
in the Delta, where local planters were trying to discourage the formation of an agricultural union among blacks.

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.

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
Louisiana
and Texas in a second wave of the Great Migration , resulting in a 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."

MUSIC

The Arkansas
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
Mississippi Delta
counterpart by more intricately interwoven country music and R&B
R&B
elements. Arkansas
Arkansas
blues musicians have defined every genre of blues from its inception, including ragtime , hokum , country blues , Delta blues
Delta blues
, boogie-woogie , jump blues , Chicago blues
Chicago blues
, and blues-rock . Eastern Arkansas' predominantly African American population in cities like Helena , West Memphis , Pine Bluff , Brinkley , Cotton
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
Arkansas
Delta or lived in the region highlighting their craft. As a result, the region hosts several blues events throughout the year culminating in the Arkansas
Arkansas
Blues and Heritage Fest. The festival averages about 85,000 people per day over its three-day run and 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
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
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
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"> Cotton
Cotton
fields in Poinsett County. This flat, rural landscape is typical of the Arkansas Delta Jonesboro , the largest city in the delta region

The Arkansas
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
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
Arkansas
has the most cities in the state with predominately 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
Delta Cultural Center
in Helena seeks to preserve and interpret the culture of the Arkansas
Arkansas
Delta along with the University of Arkansas
Arkansas
at Pine Bluff 's University and Cultural Museum. The Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas
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
Arkansas
in 2005.

PRINCIPAL CITIES

* West Memphis * Blytheville * Forrest City * Helena-West Helena * Jonesboro * Marianna * Pine Bluff * Stuttgart * Newport * Augusta * Wynne * Osceola

HIGHER EDUCATION

* Arkansas
Arkansas
State University * East Arkansas
Arkansas
Community College * Southeast Arkansas
Arkansas
College * Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
Arkansas
* University of Arkansas
Arkansas
at Pine Bluff * University of Arkansas
Arkansas
at Monticello

HIGHWAYS

* Interstate 40 - From Brinkley to West Memphis * Interstate 55 - From West Memphis to Blytheville * U.S. Highway 278 * U.S. Highway 49 * U.S. Highway 61 * U.S. Highway 62 * U.S. Highway 63 * U.S. Highway 64 * U.S. Highway 65 * U.S. Highway 165 * U.S. Highway 67 * U.S. Highway 70 * U.S. Highway 79 * U.S. Highway 82

SEE ALSO

* Arkansas
Arkansas
portal

NOTES

* ^ Williard B. Gatewood Jr. and Jeannie M. Whayne, eds. (1996). The Arkansas
Arkansas
Delta: Land of Paradox. University of Arkansas
Arkansas
Press. p. 3. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * ^ Gatewood and Whayne 1993, p. 3. * ^ Smith, Richard M. (1989). The Atlas of Arkansas. The University of Arkansas
Arkansas
Press. p. 19. ISBN 1557280479 . * ^ "The Arkansas
Arkansas
Delta - The Region". Arkansas
Arkansas
Delta Byways. Retrieved July 31, 2012. * ^ Gatewood and Whayne 1993, N.Pag.. * ^ Lancaster, Guy (December 16, 2011). "Grand Prairie". Retrieved August 28, 2016. * ^ A B C D E F G Bowden, Charles. "Return to the Arkansas
Arkansas
Delta". (Archive) National Geographic . November 2012. Retrieved on June 3, 2013. * ^ Early, Ann M. (November 5, 2011). "Indian Mounds". Encyclopedia of Arkansas. The Butler Center. Retrieved July 31, 2012. * ^ Smith, Darlene (Spring 1954). " Arkansas
Arkansas
Post". Arkansas Historical Quarterly. Arkansas
Arkansas
Historical Association. 13: 120. * ^ Mattison, Ray H. (Summer 1957). " Arkansas
Arkansas
Post: Its Human Aspects". Arkansas
Arkansas
Historical Quarterly. Arkansas
Arkansas
Historical Association. 16: 119. * ^ Gatewood and Whayne 1993, pp. 8-9. * ^ Gatewood and Whayne 1993, pp. 9-10. * ^ Arnold et al 2002, p. 78. * ^ Arnold et al 2002, p. 89. * ^ Baker, William D. (September 16, 1991). "National Historic Landmark Nomination: Louisiana
Louisiana
Purchase Survey Marker / Louisiana Purchase Initial Point Site" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved July 31, 2012. * ^ White, Lonnie J. (Autumn 1962). " Arkansas
Arkansas
Territorial Indian Affairs". Arkansas
Arkansas
Historical Quarterly. Arkansas
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
Arkansas
Press. ISBN 1-55728-724-4 . OCLC
OCLC
49029558 . * Gatewood, Willard B; Whayne, Jeannie (1993). The Arkansas
Arkansas
Delta: A Land of Paradox. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas
Arkansas
Press. ISBN 1-55728-287-0 . * Dollins, Mike. Blues Guitar News: A listing of Arkansas
Arkansas
Blues Legends and Blues Highway 49 History.

FURTHER READING

* Ecoregions of the Mississippi Alluvial Plain
Mississippi Alluvial Plain
- Environmental Protection Agency