Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hollandale, Part Five:

“That Mississippi sound, that Delta sound is in them old records. You can hear it all the way through.”
Muddy Waters

Hollandale is slowly shrinking, dying really, from lack of industry. The population in 1983 is estimated by Burford and Sanders to be about 5,500. The population in 1990 was 3,576. In 2000 it was 3,437. In 2004, it was 3,202. In 14 years more than a tenth of the population has left. In 21 years 42% of the population has left.

83% of the current population is African-American, 16.5% is White, and .5% is Other. 56% of the population is female, 44% is male.

The per capita income is $9,251. 39% of the residents live below the poverty line, including 54% of the people under the age of 18. 9.7% of the population is unemployed. 40% of the population makes less than $15,000 a year. 70% of the population makes less than $35,000 a year.

About 10% of the adult population has less than a 5th grade education. More than 50% of people over the age of 25 have not graduated high school. About 10% of residents over the age of 25 have graduated from a four-year college. Four people, all women, have a Ph.D.

“The condition of the water and sewer facilities is desperate,” said Mr. Burford. “Roads are in terrible condition. There is no room in the budget for anything more than filling in a pothole.”

“The streets are deplorable,” said Mr. Sanders. “Pretty soon we’ll have problems with the sewers.”

The train tracks are completely grown over and, at this point, probably unusable. There is a small municipal airport, used mostly for crop dusters. The closest shipping port is Greenville (30 miles). Highway 61 and Highway 12 both run through Hollandale.

There are few, if any, cultural resources. The most popular events are high school sports. Simmons High School is particularly good in basketball and has won two state championships in the past five years.

There are several juke joints, known as “Blue Front,” located by the train tracks.

“What is there to do? For a young person? Walk the around the streets and play ball at the center,” said Ms. Richmond. “That’s it.” The center is an outdoor basketball court...

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