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