The Most Southern Place on Earth: The Mississippi Delta and the Roots of Regional Identity

Paperback | February 1, 1989

byJames C. Cobb

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"Cotton obsessed, Negro obsessed," Rupert Vance called it in 1935. "Nowhere but in the Mississippi Delta," he said, "are antebellum conditions so nearly preserved." This crescent of bottomlands between Memphis and Vicksburg, lined by the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers, remains in some ways whatit was in 1860: a land of rich soil, wealthy planters, and desperate poverty--the blackest and poorest counties in all the South. And yet it is a cultural treasure house as well--the home of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Charley Pride, Walker Percy, Elizabeth Spencer, and Shelby Foote. Painting afascinating portrait of the development and survival of the Mississippi Delta, a society and economy that is often seen as the most extreme in all the South, James C. Cobb offers a comprehensive history of the Delta, from its first white settlement in the 1820s to the present. Exploring the richblack culture of the Delta, Cobb explains how it survived and evolved in the midst of poverty and oppression, beginning with the first settlers in the overgrown, disease-ridden Delta before the Civil War to the bitter battles and incomplete triumphs of the civil rights era.In this comprehensive account, Cobb offers new insight into "the most southern place on earth," untangling the enigma of grindingly poor but prolifically creative Mississippi Delta.

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From Our Editors

In this comprehensive account, Cobb offers new insight into 'the most southern place on earth, ' untangling the enigma of the grinding poor but prolifically creative Mississippi Delta.

From the Publisher

"Cotton obsessed, Negro obsessed," Rupert Vance called it in 1935. "Nowhere but in the Mississippi Delta," he said, "are antebellum conditions so nearly preserved." This crescent of bottomlands between Memphis and Vicksburg, lined by the Yazoo and Mississippi rivers, remains in some ways whatit was in 1860: a land of rich soil, wealthy...

From the Jacket

In this comprehensive account, Cobb offers new insight into 'the most southern place on earth, ' untangling the enigma of the grinding poor but prolifically creative Mississippi Delta.

James C. Cobb is Bernadotte Schmitt Professor of History at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. His books include The Selling of the South, Industrialization and Southern Society, and The New Deal and the South.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 5.31 × 7.99 × 0.83 inPublished:February 1, 1989Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195089138

ISBN - 13:9780195089134

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From Our Editors

In this comprehensive account, Cobb offers new insight into 'the most southern place on earth, ' untangling the enigma of the grinding poor but prolifically creative Mississippi Delta.

Editorial Reviews

"Fulfilling the ironic meaning of the title, James Cobb provides the first comprehensive history of the Mississippi Delta to appear in half a century....His exposition of the often misunderstood sharecrop and tenant systems is a much needed contribution, but the sections devoted to the Delta'sdistinctive cultural life, both white and black, are outstanding. Like some of the notable works by Delta writers, whom Cobb discusses, The Most Southern Place on Earth will take its place among the classic texts in Southern studies."--Bertram Wyatt-Brown, University of Florida, author of Honor andViolence in the Old South