Black Belt of U.S. region : ブラックベルト

The Black Belt is a region of the Southern United States. The term originally described the prairies and dark fertile soil of central Alabama and northeast Mississippi. Because this area in the 19th century was historically developed for cotton plantations based on enslaved African-American labor, the term became associated with these conditions. It was generally applied to a much larger agricultural region in the Southern US characterized by a history of cotton plantation agriculture in the 19th century and a high percentage of African Americans outside metropolitan areas. The slaves were freed after the American Civil War, and many continued to work in agriculture afterward.

During the first half of the nineteenth century, as many as one million enslaved Africans were transported through sales in the domestic slave trade to the Deep South in a forced migration to work as laborers for the region’s cotton plantations. After having lived enslaved for several generations in the area, many remained as rural workers, tenant farmers and sharecroppers after the Civil War and emancipation. Beginning in the early 20th century and up to 1970, a total of six million black people left the South in the Great Migration to find work in industrial cities, especially those in the North, Midwest and West Coast.

Because of relative isolation and lack of economic development, the rural communities in the Black Belt have historically faced acute poverty, rural exodus, inadequate education programs, low educational attainment, poor health care, urban decay, substandard housing, and high levels of crime and unemployment. Given the history of decades of racial segregation into the late 20th century, African-American residents have been disproportionately most affected, but these problems apply broadly to all ethnic groups in the rural Black Belt. The region and its boundaries have varying definitions, but it is generally considered a band through the center of the Deep South, although stretching from as far north as Delaware to as far west as East Texas.


この呼称は元来、アラバマ州中央部からミシシッピ州北東部にかけて広がるプレーリーと黒土に由来しているものだった。 しかし、アフリカ系アメリカ人の割合が高い、貧困、過疎、不十分な教育制度、低い教育水準、貧弱な健康対策、標準以下の住宅、高い犯罪と失業率などに特徴づけられるアメリカ南部の広範囲を指し示すものとして長く使われている。




1820-30年代には、このブラックベルト地帯は綿花のプランテーション地帯として重要な位置を占めるようになり、「アラバマフィーバー(Alabama Fever)」として知られる、農園主とその奴隷の移民ラッシュが起きた。これによりこの地域はアメリカ南部の大部分に広がる綿花プランテーションの体制における核の1つとなった。そして時間が経つにつれて「ブラックベルト」という用語は、奴隷制プランテーション農業や綿花、米、砂糖、煙草などいわゆる換金作物に歴史的に深く関係しているアメリカ南部の大部分を示すようになった。




しかし「アメリカで最も黒い都市(The Blackest City In America)」といえばデトロイトを指すのが一般的である。実際デトロイトは約875,000市民の85%が黒人であり、合衆国内で最も黒人が多く住む都市である。