The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

Draft of Agenda for May 13, 2021 Delta Conference by Zoom-- 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m.--2:30 p.m.

Posted on May 06, 2021 at 12:17 PM

Delta Caucus Regional Conference by Zoom

May 13, 2021

Latest Draft of Agenda

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Qiq4MiwLSTORN0mH4CRgmA

Please note: You have to copy and paste or type in this link–it is NOT a direct link.

MORNING SESSION—9 A.M. TO NOON

9 a.m to 10:30 a.m.–Community, Health and Economic Issues in the Pandemic

(Listed times are flexible estimates and not to be taken literally as to the exact minute)

9 a.m.-—Introduction—Caucus Director Lee Powell

9:05 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Dr. Susan Ward Jones, CEO, MD, East Arkansas Family Health Center, headquarters in West Memphis, Arkansas, on the vital work of a major health care organization based in east Arkansas during the pandemic

9:15—9:23 a.m.—Mayor Flora Simon of Dumas, Arkansas—community, health and economic issues in the Dumas area in the pandemic

9:23-9:31 a.m.—Ateca Foreman, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s appointee as Delta Regional Authority Alternate for Arkansas, Deputy Chief of Staff of Internal Operations for Gov. Hutchinson

9:31—9:39 a.m–.Brad Cole, Executive Director, Municipal League of Illinois, Delta Caucus senior partner and veteran Delta regional advocate

9:39-949–The Hon. Rodney Slater, US Secretary of Transportation for President Clinton, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs firm, Washington, DC

The Hon. Bill Shuster, former Chairman of the US House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee

9:49—9;56 a.m.–Infrastructure—Wilson Golden, Presidential appointee at US Dept. of Transportation in the Clinton administration, Mississippi native

9:56—10:06 a.m.–Al Cross, Director, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, University of Kentucky

10:06 a.m. to 10:16 a.m.–Mayor Errick Simmons, Greenville, Mississippi—community, health and economic issues in the pandemic for one of the largest Delta heartland communities

Question and answer or two

10:30 a.m. to noon–Hunger and Nutrition during the Pandemic in the Delta

10:30—10:40 a.m–Stacy Dean, President Biden’s appointee as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services on the vital SNAP, WIC, school meals and other hunger and nutrition programs

Question and answer or two

10:45—10:52 a.m.–Tomiko Townley, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Director of Advocacy, a major advocacy organization in our region regarding hunger issues

10:52—11 a.m.–Lisa Church, Chief Advancement Officer Southeast Missouri Food Bank, based in Sikeston, Missouri and serving the southeast Missouri area

11—11:07 a.m.–Paige Vance, Impact Operations Manager, Second Harvest Food Bank, Feeding America, based in New Orleans and serving southern Louisiana

11:07—11:15 a.m.–Millie Atkins, Delta Caucus senior partner and veteran Delta regional leader based in Monroe, Louisiana, on hunger issues in northern Louisiana

11:15—11:25–Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America, national hunger and poverty organization with headquarters in New York

11:25—11:40 a.m.–Shannon Maynard, Executive Director, Congressional Hunger Center, Washington, DC, which among other activities administers the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellows program. She will be joined by Curtis Hills, Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow, Congressional Hunger Center, Washington, DC (Mr. Hills is originally from Mississippi)

Question and answer or two

11:45 a.m.—Doris Benford, Executive Director, Mississippi Action for Community Education (MACE), nonprofit promoting education and workforce development in the Delta

AFTERNOON SESSION—1 P.M. TO 2:30 P.M.–“Best Practices in Regional Development in the Delta”

1 p.m.—1:15 p.m.—Caucus Director Lee Powell—recent civil rights/diversity issues

(INVITED) Peggy Bradford, J.D., Ph.D., former President of Shawnee Community College in southern Illinois, Fulbright Scholar, Attorney and former Prosecutor

1:15-1:23 p.m.–Clint O’Neal, Arkansas Economic Development Commission Deputy Director for Global Business, and Delta Regional Authority Designee for Arkansas

1:23—1:33 p.m.–Representative Reginald Murdock, Marianna, Arkansas—community and economic development in the heartland of the east Arkansas Delta

1:33—1:41 ;.m.–Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama—long-time mayor of a heartland Alabama Black Belt community noted for major community and economic development initiatives

1:41—1:49 p.m.–Senator Dave Wallace, Leachville, Arkansas—state senator from the heart of the northeastern Arkansas Delta, on his efforts to establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit program in Arkansas

1:49 p.m. to 1:57 p.m.–Kyle Miller, Delta Cultural Center, Executive Director, Helena, Arkansas—Delta Heritage Tourism in Arkansas and its vital impact both educationally and in promoting regional economic development

2:05—2:13 p.m.–Sheila Smith, President, TS Police Support League, Greene County, Alabama—nonprofit raising funds for law enforcement officers’ needs and other community projects in the Alabama Black Belt

2:13—2:20 p.m.–Billy McFarland, TS Police Support League, Greene County, Alabama—veteran Delta/Alabama Black Belt regional advocate

A question and answer or two

APPRECIATION FOR SPONSORS

Illinois Municipal League

Cooperative Baptist Fellowship of Arkansas

Billy McFarland, Sheila Smith and TS Police Support League of Alabama

Mississippi County Economic Opportunity Commission, Blytheville, Arkansas

Zoom link info--Registration deadline is May 4; & Draft Agenda for May 13, 2021 Delta Zoom Conference

Posted on April 26, 2021 at 12:23 PM

For Delta regional conference attendees:

You need to register by acknowledging receipt of the Zoom registration link below to LeePowell@delta.comcastbiz.net.

You have to have the Zoom link in order to see and hear the speakers. PLEASE RSVP TO THIS EMAIL.

Delta Caucus partners are invited to the Greater Delta Conference by Zoom webinar on May 13, 2021.

Morning session on May 13 is 9 a.m. to noon and afternoon session is 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. CENTRAL TIME.

Register in advance for this webinar:

https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_Qiq4MiwLSTORN0mH4CRgmA

Please note: You have to copy and paste or type in this link–it is NOT a direct link.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

We want to increase the number of people who will be able to hear the great presentations of the Delta regional speakers.

Registration deadline is May 4, 2021 close of business for the May 13 Delta Zoom Conference, so please pay the $40 registration fees if you have not already done so.

The fastest and easiest way to register is to pay the $40 registration fees on the website at www.mdgc.us and go to the PayPal link at the top of the site that says “Donate.”

If you would prefer to pay by check, please make out the check to “Delta Caucus” and mail to:

Delta Caucus

5030 Purslane Place

Waldorf, MD 20601

Latest draft ot fhe agenda is below; Lee Powell, Executive Director, Delta Caucus (202) 360-6347.

Delta Caucus Regional Conference by Zoom May 13, 2021–Latest Draft of Agenda

MORNING SESSION—9 A.M. TO NOON

9 a.m to 10:30 a.m.–Community, Health and Economic Issues in the Pandemic

9 a.m.—Introduction—Caucus Director Lee Powell

9:05 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.—Dr. Susan Ward Jones, CEO, MD, East Arkansas Family Health Center, headquarters in West Memphis, Arkansas–on the vital work of a major health care organization in east Arkansas

9:15—9:22 a.m.—Mayor Flora Simon of Dumas, Arkansas—community, health and economic issues in the Dumas area in the pandemic

9:22-9:30 a.m.—Ateca Foreman, Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s appointee as Delta Regional Authority Alternate for Arkansas, Deputy Chief of Staff of Internal Operations for Gov. Hutchinson

9:30—9:36 a.m–.Brad Cole, Executive Director, Municipal League of Illinois, Delta Caucus senior partner and veteran Delta regional advocate

9:36—9;42 a.m.–Infrastructure—Wilson Golden, former US Dept. of Transportation official and Mississippi native

9:42—9:50 a.m.–Al Cross, Director, Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, University of Kentucky

9:50 a.m. to 10 a.m.–Mayor Errick Simmons, Greenville, Mississippi—community, health and economic issues in the pandemic for one of the largest Delta heartland communities

We have invited Congressman Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the US House Committee on Homeland Security. If he is able to schedule this we have asked Mayor Errick Simmons to give a brief introduction

(INVITED) Congressman French Hill, Arkansas

10:30 a.m. to noon–Hunger and Nutrition during the Pandemic

10:30—10:40 a.m–Stacy Dean, President Biden’s appointee as USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services

Question and answer or two

10:45—10:52 a.m.–Tomiko Townley, Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance Director of Advocacy

10:52—11 a.m.–Lisa Church, Chief Advancement Officer Southeast Missouri Food Bank, based in Sikeston, Missouri and serving the southeast Missouri area

11—11:07 a.m.–Paige Vance, Impact Operations Manager, Second Harvest Food Bank, Feeding America, based in New Orleans and serving southern Louisiana

11:07—11:15 a.m.–Millie Atkins, Delta Caucus senior partner and veteran Delta regional leader, on hunger issues in northern Louisiana

11:15—11:25–Joel Berg, CEO, Hunger Free America, national hunger and poverty organization with headquarters in New York

11:25—11:40 a.m.–Shannon Maynard, Executive Director, Congressional Hunger Center, Washington, DC and Curtis Hills, Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow, Congressional Hunger Center, Washington, DC (Mr. Hills is originally from Mississippi)

Question and answer or two

11:45 a.m.—Doris Benford, Executive Director, Mississippi Action for Community Education, nonprofit promoting education and workforce development in the Delta

AFTERNOON SESSION—1 P.M. TO 2:30 P.M.

“Best Practices in Regional Development in the Delta”

1 p.m.–1:10 p.m.–Diversity and other key issues for the Delta region, Caucus Director Lee Powell and Caucus senior adviser Millie Atkins

1:10–1:18 p.,.–Clint O’Neal, Arkansas Economic Development Commission Deputy Director for Global Business, and Delta Regional Authority Designee for Arkansas

1:18–1:28 p.m.–Representative Reginald Murdock, Marianna, Arkansas—community and economic development in east Arkansas

1:26–1:35 p.m.–Senator Dave Wallace, Leachville, Arkansas—on his efforts to establish a state Earned Income Tax Credit program in Arkansas

1:33–1:44 p.m.–Mayor Sheldon Day, Thomasville, Alabama—long-time mayor of a heartland Alabama Black Belt community noted for major community and economic development initiatives

1:44–1:52 p.m.–Kyle Miller, Delta Cultural Center, Helena, Arkansas—Delta Heritage Tourism in Arkansas

1:52–2 p.m.–Alan Gumbel, Executive Director for the Greater Memphis Alliance for a Competitive Workforce, Memphis, Tennessee, veteran Delta regional advocate including the Clinton administration’s Delta Regional Initiative and the Lower Mississippi Development Commission of the late 1980s

2 p.m.–2:08 p.m.–Sheila Smith, TS Police Support League, Greene County, Alabama—nonprofit raising funds for law enforcement officers’ needs and other community projects in the Alabama Black Belt

2:08–2:15 p.m.–Billy McFarland, TS Police Support League, Greene County, Alabama—veteran Delta/Alabama Black Belt regional advocate

A question and answer or two

Gov. Asa Hutchinson Brings Diversity to Delta Regional Authority State Senior Post by naming Ateca Forman Arkansas' DRA Alternate

Posted on March 15, 2021 at 04:03 PM

The Delta Caucus would like to commend Gov. Asa Hutchinson for designating a senior official of his administration, Ateca Foreman, to one of the two state senior posts for Arkansas at the Delta Regional Authority.

Ms. Foreman is an African American woman with a lengthy, distinguished career in public service. She is Deputy Chief of Staff for Internal Operations for Gov. Hutchinson’s administration and now joins Arkansas Economic Development Commission Director Clint O’Neal, DRA Designee, as one of the two state officials for Arkansas at the DRA.

The Delta Caucus previously sent messages to Gov. Hutchinson and the other seven governors pointing out that all 10 of the state designee and alternate posts at the DRA are held by whites. This was an unfortunate oversight in a diverse region with a large African American population and other minority groups.

We are glad that Gov. Hutchinson has now brought diversity to the state senior posts in Arkansas, and we urge the other seven governors to follow his example.

Gov. Hutchinson has a strong track record of support for the DRA going back to his support for the legislation creating the agency when he was a Member of Congress in 2000 and continuing during his gubernatorial administration.

The DRA is a federal-state agency, with the President appointing the Federal Co-Chairman and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman to the federal component of the board, and the eight governors serving on the board and designating state alternates and designees to assist with the agency’s work of community and development in the 8-state Greater Delta.

There has also unfortunately been an oversight at the federal level, for all six of the Presidential appointees to the DRA in its 20-year history have been white males.

We wrote to Biden administration officials asking them to bring diversity to the federal posts. We know that influential people at federal and grassroots levels have weighed in for African American representation at the DRA federal level, and we hope this oversight will be corrected soon.

We look forward to working with Ateca Foreman at the DRA and praise Arkansas’ action as a step forward for diversity.

Before coming to work for the Hutchinson administration, Foreman worked in a number of jobs on important issues, including at the Metropolitan Housing Alliance. While there, she created a system to bring all the tenant files, more than 1,000, into compliance with HUD regulations within about 18 months of her hiring, an achievement of which she’s proud.

Ms. Foreman has an undergraduate degree from Hendrix College and a Master’s in Public Administration from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

Foreman also has volunteered with a number of children’s organizations, including Big Brothers Big Sisters and Court-Appointed Special Advocates, or CASA.

Opportunity: Hunger Free America's Summer Associate Program 2021 on Hunger, Nutrition and Poverty

Posted on March 08, 2021 at 04:32 PM

Hunger Free America to Host 10-Week AmeriCorps VISTA associates this Summer for Hunger, Nutrition and Poverty Issues

March 8, 2021

The Delta Caucus would like to make our partners aware of this great opportunity presented by nationally recognized hunger and poverty expert Joel Berg, CEO of the national Hunger Free America organization:

Hunger Free America’s Summer Associate Program 2021

Hunger Free America is now recruiting sites to host 10-week AmeriCorps VISTA associates this summer for outreach and site work for summer meals programs, as well as other appropriate summer anti-hunger and anti-poverty activities.

Nonprofit groups (including food banks, soup kitchens, food pantries, gleaning groups, etc), tribal governments, state child nutrition agencies, and school districts, all could be eligible to host VISTAs over the summer.

You can type in the link here to use if they are potentially interested in applying to host one or more VISTAs this year: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdxQ0C38fwbORI6-rS-HwrynKSIeOKvgDYclt3QJLGGta8ctw/viewform (PLEASE NOTE—this is not a direct link so you will have to type it in manually)

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to reach out to CEO Joel Berg at(718) 362-0471 at his New York headquarters or the Hunger Free America VISTA Director, Ms. Vicky Dumbuya: VDumbuya@hungerfreeamerica.org, 212-825-0028 x 219.

The Hunger Free America website is at www.hungerfreeamerica.org

More information on Hunger Free America’s Summer Associate Program 2021

The Summer Associate program is a short-term, summer-only complement to our full-year VISTA program. Through this program, we place 80 members nationwide at organizations for 10 weeks.

You can request as many members as you feel you have the capacity to support. While in the program, members will receive a bi-weekly living allowance from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).

After successful completion of the program, members will receive an education award, that can be used for future schooling or to pay of past loans, or a cash stipend.

Members will focus primarily on strengthening the capacity of the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) by enhancing awareness and educating families. Members will also focus on the following tasks:

• Summer Meals outreach (street canvassing)

• Directly serving summer meals

• Researching ways to promote summer meals

• Provide education for and increase access to security resources, including SNAP, WIC, and other local resources

• Recruiting volunteers

• Improve access to nutritious food options by building the capacity and sustainability of farmers markets, community gardens, and/or nutrition education programs.

• COVID-19 response, which will include helping staff hunger hotlines, help collect data on food availability for hunger hotlines and web listings, help struggling families access food benefits via phone and by computer and/or smart phone.

Given the current COVID-19 crisis and the uncertainty of how long it will continue, VISTA positions may need to be altered to meet stay-at-home and social distancing orders. Depending on where we are when members begin their service, they might have to serve remotely so have a plan for that.

Cost Share

We ask that partners pay a cost share for members, if they are able to, based on the following:

Org. Budget: Match for 1 summer associate: Match per subsequent summer associate:

$0 - $250K: $56.78 $42.59

$250,001 - $500K: $289.58 $217.18

$500,001 - $1M: $579.15 $434.36

$1,000,001 - $5M: $868.73 $651.54

$5,000,001+: $1,158.29 $868.48

If you are interested in applying to host one or more summer VISTAs, please complete the short application you can find on the Hunger Free America Link by March 12th.

If you fill out the form you will need to fill out the following information on the Hunger Free America link: Organization name and address

Name, email address, and phone number for the contact person

How many members are you requesting? Please provide details about the key objectives of the position and the tasks that will be assigned to the member(s).

If your member(s) will serve onsite, please provide details about the safety precautions you have in place for COVID-19.

Need for Diversity in the Delta Regional Authority State Alternates and Designees, March 1, 2021

Posted on March 01, 2021 at 05:57 PM

The Delta Caucus is bringing to the attention of the governors of the eight Delta states the need to promote diversity at all levels of the agency. Currently all 10 of the DRA state designees and alternates are whites, and this sends the wrong message for such a diverse region with a large African American population.

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state agency. The President appointees the Federal Co-Chairman and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman to the board. On the state side, the eight governors are state board members and they select alternates and designees to help supervise the ongoing legwork for the agency’s mission of community and economic development for the eight-state region. The full-time career staff play a crucial role, of course.

The Delta areas of these states have very large African American populations, so we are asking all eight governors to add African Americans to the state designee and/or alternate posts. All these posts should not be held by white individuals.

We need to make absolutely clear that we support the DRA and believe that it is doing a fine job for the region on the whole. We feel sure this is just an oversight that will soon be corrected regarding the state designees and alternates.

Delta Caucus partners were involved in creating the DRA in 2000, and over the past 20 years we opposed efforts by President George W. Bush, President Donald Trump and others to abolish it or slash its funding. Now in the Biden-Harris administration we believe there is a great opportunity to expand and improve the agency. It should have a much larger budget than the currently small 28 million to help fight poverty in a region of 10 million people.

We have sent messages in the spirit of constructive advice to all eight governors and hope to get feedback from all of them.

We would like to express our appreciation to Clint O’Neal, director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission as well as being the DRA designee for Arkansas, for expeditiously responding to the letter and indicating he will take up this matter with Gov. Asa Hutchinson. We will report back on his response as soon as we receive it, along with responses from the other governors.

Unfortunately we have not yet received any response from the other seven governors. This is disappointing. They need to at least have a dialogue about this issue.

We are not blaming anyone at this point, but just calling to the governors’ attention the unfortunate–to put it diplomatically–situation were all 10 state designees and alternates are white.

Now, of course the voters determine who the governors of the eight states are. All eight governors happen to be white, but we are not addressing that here because, again, those were the voters’ decisions.

Please look at the DRA website at www.mdgc.us and you will see the 10 white state designees and alternates along with the eight governors. In total, we see 18 white faces in the leadership positions for a highly diverse region. Below in this message see data on the large African American populations in the region.

Six of the eight states currently have only one post filled, either an alternate or designee filled, so we would encourage them to add an African American appointee as soon as possible.

Tennessee and Alabama currently have both state appointed posts filled, so we are encouraging them to appoint an African American at the next opening in those posts.

With the sad history of racial oppression in the Greater Delta along with the hard-fought but obviously incomplete progress that has been made in the last 50 years, we would really urge the DRA to promote diversity at all levels of its structure.

On the federal side, President Biden and Vice President Harris have of course only recently assumed office and are filling posts now, but have understandably not yet gotten to the DRA posts. There is some Congressional opposition to some of their nominees, so that is delaying matters.

We would encourage the Biden-Harris administration to appoint an African American–preferably a woman–to the Federal Co-Chairman post, and in the spirit of diversity to appoint a white male to the Alternate Federal Co-Chair post. Diversity of course means that whites, African Americans and all people should be represented.

With President Biden having appointed substantial numbers of minorities thus far and Vice President Harris being the first African American and the first woman to be Vice President of the United States, we would expect that they will be amenable to having one African American and one white male in the top two posts at the DRA.

Unfortunately, thus far in its history since being created in 2001 all of the six individuals who have held either the Federal Co-Chair or Alternate Federal Co-Chair posts have been white males. For such a diverse region, this was tone-deaf. The Biden-Harris administration can remedy this problem by bringing an African American to the DRA now in the name of diversity.

Some people have expressed the view that since there are only two DRA Presidential posts, perhaps it might be better to spread those opportunities to new appointees rather than give them again to people who have already had the opportunity to serve at the DRA–HOWEVER–there are others who make a good case that if one of the individuals wanted to serve again and was paired with a new person who had not yet served at the DRA, that would be fine. We could see it going either way–SO YOU DECIDE.

We understand that the full-time career staff includes African Americans and we would encourage that trend to continue.

We do not make these recommendations in a rigid, mechanical way. If, for example, the Biden-Harris administration were to nominate a well-qualified white male as Federal Co-Chairman and an African American woman as Alternate Federal Co-Chairman, that would also be a positive combination regarding racial and gender diversity.

The DRA Presidential appointees should be people who have a long track record of dedication to, involvement in, and knowledge of the Delta’s community and economic development. It is not our intention here to do a “sales job” for any particular individuals, but just to present a couple of examples of people who are well qualified, we would mention Millie Atkins, an African American community leader from Monroe, Louisiana, long-time executive in the private sector, and veteran Delta regional advocate. Similarly, we would mention Mike Marshall, veteran Delta regional advocate, formerly Alternate Federal Co-Chair at DRA, currently CEO and Executive Director of the Sikeston, Missouri Regional Chamber and Economic Development Corp. Either Ms.Atkins or Mr. Marshall would be fine examples of well-qualified candidates for either of the posts, although there will be a large number of candidates. We will work with whomever the Biden-Harris administration chooses.

Diversity means that we need to include whites as well as minorities. But we can all agree that 10 appointees of one race and zero of the other is a far cry from reasonable diversity.

Just for the record, we would like to clarify that Delta Caucus Director Lee Powell has taken himself out of the running for Federal Co-Chairman for the obvious reason that he advocates in favor of the appointment of an African American to that post. While he indicated he could consider the Alternate Federal Co-Chair post if it should be offered–provided that the other Presidential appointee goes to an African American–that is very unlikely. Powell indicates that he is happy to stay where he is at the Delta Caucus. We mention this because a number of people jumped to the conclusion that Powell was actively campaigning for the DRA Federal Co-Chair post when in fact that is not the case.

We welcome everybody to contact the Biden administration or the White House Presidenitial Personnel Office and recommend a well-qualified candidate for the DRA posts. These are the taxpayers’ jobs and everybody is free to weigh in.

DATA ON THE LARGE AFRICAN AMERICAN POPULATION IN THE DELTA

LOUISIANA

Statewide percentage of African Americans is 32.2%

Delta areas are even much higher:

New Orleans’ population is 59% black.

Tallulah, Louisiana in the northeast Delta is 77% black

Monroe, Louisiana–one of our larger cities–is more than 50% black.

MISSISSIPPI–

Statewide population is 37.7% black.

The heart of the Delta area in Mississippi is the Second Congressional District represented by Rep. Bennie Thompson, and it is approximately 65% black.

ARKANSAS

Statewide percentage is 15.4% black.

However, the non-Delta western part of the state is heavily white.

Little Rock is 42.1% black. We consider Little Rock part of the region, especially its diverse, economically challenged neighorhoods.

Pine Bluff is 75% black.

Helena, Forrest City and many other eastern and southeastern Arkansas areas have very high African American percentages of the population.

The Second District that contains a substantial part of the Delta is 19.4% black.

The First Congressional District is 16.6% black. The southern and eastern parts of that district have much higher lack populations.

TENNESSEE

Statewide population is 17.1% black.

However, Memphis is the heart of the west Tennessee Delta, and it is 64% black.

Another larger community in western Tennessee is Jackson at 49%.

ALABAMA

Statewide percentage is 26.8% black.

The Alabama Black Belt is included in the DRA because it is demographically, socially, economically and historically similar to the heart of the Delta region.

The Alabama Black Belt is 52.24% black.

Selma, Alabama is 80.3% black.

(HISTORICAL NOTE–The Alabama Black Belt originally received its name because of the rich, dark soil that produced such bountiful crops. After the influx of large numbers of African Americans during the slavery and Jim Crow eras, it acquired a different connotation in many people’s minds as having the “Black Belt” refer to the large number of African Americans who lived there.)

MISSOURI

The “Delta portion” of Missouri, as is also the case with western Kentucky and southern Illinois, is such a small percentage of the state’s population that statewide figures do not mean very much.

The key southern Illinois city of Sikeston is about 25% black.

Caruthersville in the Missouri Bootheel is 39% black.

The Delta counties of Pemiscot (26.1%, Mississippi County (24.7%), and New Madrid (15.8%) have substantial African American populations.

ILLINOIS

The key southern Illinois city of Carbondale is 25% black.

Some southern Illinois counties have very small African American populations, such as Williamson, Union and Faulkner, all at 5% or less.

Perry, Jefferson and Jackson counties in southern Illinois have 15% or less black populations.

KENTUCKY

Kentucky as a whole is only 8% black and some DRA areas of the state have small African American populations.

The key western Kentucky city of Paducah is 21.77% black.

Fuller County is 24.2% black and Union County is 13.4% black. Most other western Kentucky counties have substantially smaller black populations.