Black Belt, term applied to several areas of Mississippi and Alabama, the heart of the Old South, which are characterized by black soil and excellent cotton-growing conditions. The Black Belt area was historically important as the nation's main cotton producer in the mid-1800s. Soil depletion, erosion, the boll weevil, and economic conditions combined to eliminate cotton from the region. Livestock, peanuts, and soybeans have become the area's chief crops.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.