The Black Belt is a region of the U. S. state of Alabama. The term referred to the region's rich, black topsoil, much of it in the soil order Vertisols; the term took on an additional meaning in the 19th century, when the region was developed for cotton plantation agriculture, in which the workers were enslaved African Americans. After the American Civil War, many freedmen stayed in the area as sharecroppers and tenant farmers, continuing to comprise a majority of the population in many of these counties; the physical geography of the "Black Belt," as related to the history of this cotton-dependent region, refers to a much larger region of the Southern United States, stretching from Delaware to Texas but centered on the Black Belt of uplands areas of Georgia, Alabama and Louisiana. In the antebellum and Jim Crow eras, the white elite of the Black Belt dominated Alabama state politics well into the 1960s; as in other Southern states, the white-dominated state legislature of Alabama passed laws and a constitution that created barriers to voter registration disfranchising most blacks and many poor whites.
In addition, the state legislature did not redistrict congressional or state legislative districts after 1901 until it did so in the 1960s under US Supreme Court order. The white rural elite continued to dominate the state despite the rise of urbanized, industrial cities such as Birmingham, Alabama. Montgomery, the Black Belt's largest city, has been the capital of Alabama since 1846. Montgomery and Selma and other parts of the Black Belt were important centers of African-American public activism during the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s to 1968. Since the black population gained the renewed ability to exercise their franchise after 1965 under the Voting Rights Act, they have supported Democratic Party candidates; this is in contrast to the majority-white areas of the state, where since the late 20th century, conservatives have shifted from the Democratic to the Republican Party. The region is underlain by a thin layer of rich, black topsoil developed atop the chalk of the Selma Group, a geologic unit dating to the Cretaceous.
The soils have developed continuously at least since the Pliocene Epoch. Because the underlying chalk is nearly impermeable to groundwater, the black soils tend to dry out during the summer; the natural vegetation of the chalk belt consisted of oak-hickory forest interspersed with shortgrass prairie, while the sandy ridges flanking the chalk belt supported pine forest. Lacking a reliable source of water, the earliest settlers avoided farming the black soil in the belt until the discovery that deep artesian wells could be drilled to supply water for people and crops. Beginning in the 1830s after Indian Removal, cotton plantations were developed that produced the commodity crop that became Alabama's greatest source of wealth. Before the American Civil War, these plantations were worked by thousands of African-American slaves; the Black Belt region was majority-black. The white planters and their elected representatives of the Black Belt established political power in the state legislature in the cotton era.
The state legislature did not redistrict to reflect population changes and the rise of urban areas from 1901 to 1972, when it was ordered by a federal court, following important apportionment cases such as Baker v. Carr. Birmingham, the largest and most industrialized city in the state, was among those whose residents, both black and white, had been underrepresented for decades in the state legislature; the Black Belt's largest city, was designated as the capital of Alabama in 1846. Because Alabama was geographically central to the slave states, Montgomery was designated as the original capital of the Confederate States of America; the region's distance from the front lines during the American Civil War saved it from much of the ravages of war. Many of the Greek Revival mansions of the 19th-century planters have survived, as have some of the plantations' slave quarters. Gaineswood in Demopolis and Magnolia Grove in Greensboro, Alabama are among those that can be visited by tourists today. Many descendants of freed slaves continued to work as sharecroppers and laborers after emancipation, but many migrated among the counties, moved to cities, or left the state for other opportunities.
Around 1910–20, the infestation of the cotton crop by the boll weevil destroyed much of the crops and plantation system, but the lingering effects of a cotton economy remain evident. To escape lynchings and social oppression, after the boll weevil and increased mechanization of agriculture, thousands of African Americans left Alabama to go to industrial cities of the North and Midwest in the Great Migration of the first half of the 20th century, but African Americans continue to make up the majority of the population in most rural Black Belt counties. Today the term "Black Belt" is used by scholars and the media as a geologic characterization; some of the most important events of the Civil Rights Movement occurred in the Black Belt of Alabama. These included Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her bus seat, they had been disenfranchised after conservative white Democrats regained political power in the state in the late 19th century. Whites made voter registration and voting so difficult that most blacks and many poor whites were excluded from the political system for decades.
The Ackland Art Museum is a museum and academic unit of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It was founded through the bequest of William Hayes Ackland to The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, it is located at 101 S. Columbia Street near the intersection of Franklin Street at the northern edge of campus. With its connection to the university, the museum is committed to education and to programs that enhance learning for both adults and children, it is free of charge to visitors, offers a wide selection of events related to exhibition and university topics. William Hayes Ackland, a native of Tennessee and an amateur art collector, wanted to leave money in his will to establish an art museum at a Southern university. In a 1936 will, he narrowed his choices to Duke University, UNC-Chapel Hill, Rollins College in Florida, in that order, with UNC receiving the donation if Duke refused it. After a visit to Duke's campus and meetings with the then-eager administration, Ackland decided that only Duke should receive the $1.25 million bequest and removed UNC from his will, with Rollins receiving a much smaller donation.
Ackland, who had turned down the chance to attend Harvard College due to family pressure to stay near home, always regretted the decision. Some commentators speculate that he might have viewed Duke as "the Harvard of the South."Ackland bequeathed Duke his entire fortune on the condition that he be buried within the newly built museum. After Ackland died in 1940, Duke decided, but three Duke benefactors—all from the Duke family—had been buried on the Duke campus. Ackland's nieces and nephews went to court to claim the inheritance for themselves, Rollins College and the University of North Carolina followed in an attempt by each college to receive the funds for the art museum; the relatives took the case to the United States Supreme Court, arguing that since only Duke had been mentioned in their uncle's will, only Duke could receive the gift. They should receive the money due to Duke's refusal. Five years after the suit was filed, Ackland's family members lost their case in the Supreme Court. In 1947 a Washington, DC court found that in his final days, Ackland had been more partial to Rollins than UNC.
But the Ackland trustees had decided that UNC-Chapel Hill should receive the donation, based on both the financial condition of the university and its proximity to Duke. An appeal of the lower court decision resulted in UNC being ruled the recipient of Ackland's bequest in 1949. Ackland's remains were moved from Mt. Olivet cemetery in Nashville and he was reinterred at the museum at UNC; the permanent collection at the Ackland holds about 17,000 works, with its most notable regional holdings in Asian art as well as works of art on paper. The collection has important holdings of European masterworks, twentieth-century and contemporary art, African art, North Carolina pottery. Artists in the collection include Eugène Delacroix, Albrecht Dürer, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, Käthe Kollwitz, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Max Weber. Select gallery List of places named after people Official website
Helen F. Ladd is an education economist who works as the Susan B. King Professor Emeritus of Public Policy and Economics at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy. In recognition of her research on the economics of education, she has been elected to the National Academy for Education and the National Academy of Sciences. Helen Ladd earned a B. A. from Wellesley College in 1967, a master's degree from the London School of Economics in 1968 and a Ph. D. from Harvard University in 1974, writing a thesis on the relationship between local public expenditures and the composition of the property tax base under Richard Musgrave and Martin Feldstein. After her Ph. D. Ladd worked as Assistant Professor of Economics at Wellesley College and as Assistant Professor and Associate Professor of City and Regional Planning at Harvard University before moving to Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy in 1986. There, she has been a Professor of Public Policy and, since 1991 a Professor of Economics, until her emeritation in 2017.
Since 2014, she has been the Susan B. King Professor Emerita of Public Policy and Economics. Additionally, Ladd has held visiting appointments at the University of Wellington, University of Cape Town, University of Amsterdam and at the Institute for Fiscal Studies. In addition to her academic positions, she is affiliated with the Brookings Institution, Learning Policy Institute, National Bureau of Economic Research, Urban Institute, has presided over the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. Moreover, she has co-chaired a National Academy of Sciences Committee on Education Finance from 1996 to 1999, she performs editorial duties for Regional Science and Urban Economics, Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, has done so in the past for Research on Urban Policy, Journal of the American Planning Association, Evaluation Review, the National Tax Journal. Helen Ladd is married to Edward Fiske. Helen Ladd was one of the signees of a 2018 amici curiae brief that expressed support for Harvard University in the Students for Fair Admissions v. Harvard lawsuit.
Other signees of the brief include Alan B. Krueger, Robert M. Solow, George A. Akerlof, Janet Yellen, as well as numerous others. Helen Ladd's research focuses on school finance, school accountability, teacher labour markets, school choice, early childhood programmes. Therein, she has collaborated with Charles Clotfelter, Jacob Vigdor as well as with her husband and fellow educational researcher Edward Fiske. According to IDEAS/RePEc, she belongs to the top 5% of economists in terms of research output. Early in her research career, Ladd has conducted extensive research on local public finance, she finds that commercial property in Boston has a stronger impact on the demand for local education expenditures than industrial property and criticizes the use of total property tax base per pupil as a measure for local fiscal capacity for education. Ladd has contributed to the debate on how to optimize state aid in the U. S. in order to offset fiscal disparities across communities. Together with Yinger, Ladd has further expanded on the fiscal crisis of U.
S. cities in the 1970s and early 1980s in her book America's Ailing Cities, wherein she explores how it affected cities' policies and disparities between them. Researching local tax mimicking between neighbouring U. S. counties, Ladd finds evidence of it with regard to the burdens of total local taxes and property taxes but not of sales taxes. Studying the relationship between public finances and local population growth in the U. S. Ladd finds a U-shaped relationship between spending and density and a positive relationship between local population growth and per capita public spending, with the effect reflecting the higher population density and a larger share of local public spending, suggesting that established residents in fast-growing areas may experience declining quality in public services and/or rising local tax burdens. Since the mid-1990s, Ladd has performed research on the topic of school accountability. In Dallas, she finds performance-based school accountability to increase the outcomes of Hispanic and Caucasian 7th-graders but not Afro-American students, to decrease drop-out and principal turnover rates.
In the late 1990s, Ladd criticized the implementation of value-added measures of school effectiveness, arguing based on her observations in e.g. North Carolina that these measures' lack of consideration for differences in schools' resources discouraged effective teachers and principals from working in schools with large shares of disadvantaged students and exacerbate educational inequality. In sum, she has argued, along with e.g. Eva Baker or Edward Haertel, that test scores should only be one part of teacher evaluation and not dominate decisions about teachers' compensation or promotion. Ladd and Sheila Murray find no evidence of a direct effect of the share of elderly households on spending on education, though they may do so through their locational decision: as they tend to live in counties with low shares of children, the tax price of education is higher in other counties, which could decrease education spending in those counties. With regard to school vouchers, Ladd has argued that the gains in student achievement from voucher programmes are to be small and to harm many disadvantaged students due to parents' tendency to judge schools by the characteristics of their students, with a better case being made for means-tested vouchers.
In research with Robert Bifulco on charter schools in N. C. Ladd finds