Geology and Election 2000: History

Steven Dutch, Professor Emeritus, Natural and Applied Sciences,Universityof Wisconsin - Green Bay

Cotton and Slavery, 1830-1880

In 1830, slavery is solidly established in South Carolina and beginning to penetrate Mississippi and Alabama. The central Black Belt of Alabama is evident. Note the concentration in Georgia at the southern boundary of the Piedmont.
Cotton production is concentrated along the Cretacoeus belt in Mississippi and Alabama, but in the Piedmont in Georgia and South Carolina.
By 1840, the Black Belt in Mississippi and Alabama is obvious.
In 1850, the Black Belt in Mississippi and Alabama is obvious. In Georgia there is a belt of slavery along the southern edge of the Piedmont.
By 1860, interestingly, slavery becomes less prevalent in some areas but more concentrated in others.
As devastating as the Civil War was to the South, cotton production in 1879 is more widespread with the overall pattern unchanged.
By 1880, the black population, now free in legal if not social terms, dominates the Black Belt of Alabama and Mississippi.

High Tide and Ebb, 1880-2000

The pattern shows little change by 1900.
1910 probably marke the high water point of black population.
By 1930, black population has dropped dramatically and tends to persist most tenaciously along the axis of previously densest population.

The Great Migration, reinforced by the shabby treatment of black refugees during the great 1927 Mississippi River floods, changes the demography of both South and North.
The present black population concentration might be considered an "erosional remnant"
The growth and decline of black population in these states is so monotonic (steadily increasing or decreasing) that each can be shown on a single map. This map shows counties where slaves were the majority of the population.
This map shows majority black population by county for each of the census years shown. Only in the case of a single county (shown with the plus sign) was there a new black majority county.

Return to Overview
Geology and Election 2000: Election Returns
Geology and Election 2000: History
Geology and Election 2000: Economics and Land Use
Geology and Election 2000: Demographics
Geology and Election 2000: Conclusions

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Created 23 January 2002, Last Update 24 May 2020