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ERIC Number: EJ883191
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0161-956X
King Cotton's Lasting Legacy of Poverty and Southern Region Contemporary Conditions
Guthrie, James W.; Peevely, Gary
Peabody Journal of Education, v85 n1 p4-15 2010
One hundred fifty years ago, cotton was considered as the king of all United States' agricultural exports. Cotton's dollar value far exceeded that of any other mid-19th-century United States trade item, much more than tobacco, fish, forest products, raw materials for manufacturing, or manufactured items. Indeed, in the mid-19th century, cotton was sufficiently large in terms of export value as to render the soon-to-emerge Confederacy the fourth largest economy in the world, behind only England, France, and what would soon come to be known as "Union States." However, at its agricultural outset, cotton had a large downside, too. Through a series of connected conditions, Black Belt (cotton growing) counties, and the states of which they are a part, have been economically handicapped ever since the initiation of cotton growing. The interaction of wide-scale commercial cotton farming, the primitive economic conditions that it reinforced, the institution of African slavery, and the growth and ideological hegemony of southern aristocratic culture condemned the Black Belt (which was named originally for the dark, loamy soils of central Alabama and only later for its racial composition) to seeming perpetual poverty. The authors discuss cotton's connection to slavery and its lasting legacy of poverty. One of the key implications of this article is that Black Belt counties confront shortages of resources and human and community capital that has the potential to create a perpetual cycle of poverty. (Contains 9 figures and 3 tables.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama