The Inland South - Arizona Geographic Alliance

The Inland South
Physical Geography
• Includes portions of several physiographic
– Atlantic Coastal Plain
• Flat, sandy soil; meandering rivers; swamps
– Piedmont
• Fall line settlements; largest cities in South
– Appalachia
• Not affected by glaciation; reduced erosion
– North American central lowland
• Geologically Appalachian, but more like Heartland
Physical Geography
• Climate & Hazards
– Humid sub-tropical (Cfa)
• Appalachians affect local climate
– Tornados
– Hurricanes
• But not surf-pounding
– Abundant precipitation
• Flooding
Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA)
• Conceived by President Franklin D.
Roosevelt early in his first term
• Designed to…
– Deal with the chronic floods
experienced throughout the Tennessee
– Develop the river for transportation
Tennessee River Basin
Historical Settlement
• Large Native American population
• Early English settlers, 17th century
• Trail of Tears, 1830s
Historical Settlement
• Civil War and Slavery
– Secession
– Inhabitants dependent on agriculture
– Sharecropping
– Poverty
• Segregation
– Jim Crow laws
Long Term Consequences
of Civil War
• Persistent Poverty
• Racial Segregation
• Sectionalism
– Led to the formation of the “solid south”
– Enhanced by the following…
 Four years of war fought on southern soil
 Loss of the war
 Repressive aspects of reconstruction
 Occupation by a conquering army
Long Term Consequences
of Civil War
Out-migration was slow for ~50 years after
the Civil War:
A lack of information
Initial improvements in local opportunities
Skill and education limitations
Simple inertia
Long Term Consequences
of Civil War
• Migration patterns during the post WWI era
• Push Factors
• Jim Crow Laws
• Violence
• Subsistence economic conditions
• Pull Factors
• Jobs in industry
• Opportunity for a better life
• Positive info/feedback from family & friends
• The Great Migration = negative impact on
the Southern economy
High school dropout rates, 1990
The national dropout rate for adults 25
and over was 25 percent in 1990.
Unemployment rate, 1995
The national unemployment
rate was 5.5 percent in 1995
Civil Rights Memorial
Major Components of Southern Culture
Strong Rural Provincialism
Lack of Influence from Non-British Sources
Persistent Adherence to Various Protestant
• Amalgamation of Southern White and
African Cultures
• Antiblack/Pro-Slavery Attitude
Major Components of Southern Culture
• Agrarian
– Spatial organization based on early plantation
– Rural population spread evenly, with the few
large export cities
– Cities located on the coast or at major transport
routes along inland waterways
• Strong Rural Provincialism
– Rural isolation = distinct local allegiances
Major Components of Southern Culture
Lack of Influence from Non-British Sources
Immigration limited due to a lack of
opportunities available within a plantation
─ Region well-established by 1840
Persistent Adherence to Various Protestant
Major Components of Southern Culture
• Amalgamation of Southern White and
African Cultures
– Cultural borrowing affected patterns of speech,
diet, and music
– Amalgamation process ≠ transculturation or
• Antiblack/Pro-Slavery Attitude
– Supported the plantation system
– Required to justify the practice
Places in Inland South: Appalachia
• Two distinct sub-regions:
– Southern
• Rugged topography; isolated; WASPs
– Northern Appalachia
• Thrives on relative location; less poverty; better
US Poverty
• Settlement Patterns
– Outset, small farms of 25-50 acres
– Predominantly rural
• Regional Economy
– General farming, hindered by physiography
• “Hillbilly” stigma endures
– Most “hillbillies” are WASPs & low-income
Inland South’s Economic Reorganization
• 1870 to Mid-1930s
– Agrarian; Capital deficient
– Featured sharecropping and the crop-lien
– Crop-Lien System
• A farm-financing scheme
• Money loaned at the start of growing season
• Subsequent harvest used as collateral
– Urban Structure
• small market centers, railroad towns, textile mill
towns, and county seats
Inland South’s Economic Reorganization
• 1950 – Present
– By 1950, half of the labor force engaged in urbanbased nonagricultural employment
– Sharp increases in tertiary economic sectors
– Agriculture more diversified
– Mechanization increases, sharecropping declines
– Rural to urban migration continues to increase
The Inland South Today
• “New South”
– Breaking down isolation and modification of
distinctive southern culture
– Usually refers to the south post-World War II
– Trends:
• 2/3's of the region's people live in major
metropolitan centers
• In 1940: 35 cities had populations > 50,000
• In 1950: 42 cities had populations > 50,000
• In 1996: 110 cities had populations > 50,000
• In 2000: ~200 cities have populations > 50,000
Changes in
Regional Distribution
US Black Population
The Inland South Today
• Low costs of living and cheap labor
attracts many industries
• Significant infusion of Northern migrants
bringing “cultural baggage”
• Isolation, sectionalism, and racism
Discussion & Reading
• Reading: The Vidalia Onion: Only grown in
How will the continuing influx of more and
more ethnic groups affect the “New
Related Books
• Abramson, Rudy and Jean Haskell, eds. 2006.
Encyclopedia of Appalachia. Johnson City TN: The
Center for Appalachian Studies and Services.
– Enlightening book smattered with well-known and little-known
Appalachian facts.
• Hart, John Fraser. 1998. The Rural Landscape.
Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
– A geographic interpretation and analysis of the evolution of rural
landscapes of the United States, with a focus on the Inland
South and Midwest.
• Jordan-Buchov, Terry. 2003. The Upland South: The
Making of an American Folk Region and Landscape.
Harrisonburg, VA: University of Virginia Press.
• Wilson, Charles Reagan. 1995. Judgment and Grace in
Dixie. Athens: University of Georgia Press.
– Analysis of how Southern religious values have impacted North
American culture.
• Inland South
• Atlanta Tourism