The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States

By Neal R. Peirce | Go to book overview

ARKANSAS
UP FROM PROVINCIALISM
Capsule History: 1541 to 1954 127 Arkansas in the '70s 147
Orval Faubus from Greasy Creek 130 A Right-wing Diversion 154
Winthrop Rockefeller: What a Yankee Fulbright, McClellan, Mills, et al 155
Transplant Did for Arkansas 134 The Ballads of Stone County 160

DOWN THROUGH HISTORY, touched less by the ways of industrialized society than any of its neighbors, a place obdurately independent and hopelessly provincial, came the state of Arkansas. It was an island set apart, a civilization primitive and poor. "Whar's this road go to?", the Arkansas Traveler asked. "I've been livin' here fer years, 'n' I ain't seen it go no place," the squatter replied.

Then two men changed it all. The first was named Orval Faubus, an Ozark original. He made the name of Little Rock known around the world, not always positively. The second was Winthrop Rockefeller, reared in the drawing rooms of New York, hardened in the oil fields of Texas. He began to free Arkansas from its age-old poverty of body and of spirit.

This Arkansas, 53,104 square miles in size, is tucked away in the lower valley of the Mississippi just southeast of the center of the continent. The WPA Writers' Project of the 1930s defined it as "between the South of the piazza and the West of the pony." Its eastern border is the Mississippi River, opposite Tennessee and Mississippi; here is the flat, immensely fertile Delta country which is part and parcel of the Old South. Gazing at the fields across the distant, level horizon, the mind's eye can conjure up the past vision of blacks stooping under a hot sun to pick the cotton of the great landowners; these days, machines do the picking, cotton is being crowded by other crops, and while the region still has the most blacks of any in the state, thousands have left for the North. Southern Arkansas has low hills and swamp and also vast stands of pine supporting a prosperous timber industry. Some of the area is reminiscent of neighboring Oklahoma

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The Deep South States of America: People, Politics, and Power in the Seven Deep South States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Foreword 7
  • The Deep South States "Free at Last"? 13
  • Louisiana an Evocation 46
  • Arkansas Up from Provincialism 123
  • Mississippi - HOPE AT LAST 162
  • Alabama the "Cradle" Gets Rocked 235
  • Georgia Empire State of the South 306
  • South Carolina - FOSSIL NO MORE 380
  • Florida the Man-Made State 435
  • Acknowledgments 495
  • Bibliography 500
  • Index 515
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