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Social and Political Interaction in the Delta

Social and economic systems, political movements, and government policies have a long history of shaping life in the Delta. Trade patterns, political institutions, and warfare of mound-building peoples predate Europeans by many centuries. The struggles caused by European migration and settlement, slavery, Native American removal, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement are only the most recent reflections of human interaction within the Mississippi River Delta.

  • The Delta's earliest inhabitants established trade networks, fought for control of vital resources, and built fortifications to protect themselves.
  • European political and social practices disrupted and altered Native American cultures and eventually forced them from their homelands. European diseases decimated tribes across the Delta.
  • Slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and the Civil Rights Movement are key stories of national impact in the Delta. The Delta was the national focus for the civil rights struggle in the 1950s and 1960s. Local African-American churches were the springboards for civil rights actions.
  • The struggle to close the gaps between racial, ethnic, cultural, and economic differences has a long history in the Delta that continues today. The challenges of the twenty-first century require a greater capacity to pursue development goals within a multicultural, global economy.


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Last Updated: March 14, 2001