THE DELTA 339 THE DELTA 339 numbers and eventually came to hold major public offices in the region. Robert Clark of Holmes County became the first African American member of the Mississippi legislature since Reconstruction. Former segregationists and anti–civil rights politicians such as James Eastland even had to reckon with African American voters after 1965. In Eastland’s case, he reached out to Aaron Henry in the 1970s and won the Clarksdale pharmacist’s endorsement during his Senate campaign in 1978. Henry translated his civil rights activism into a political career in the Mississippi legislature during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1986, Democrat Mike Espy of Yazoo City became the first African American Mississippi congressman since Reconstruction when he won election to Mississippi’s Second Congressional District, an African American-majority district covering the Delta. After Espy left the House to become Secretary of Agriculture in President Bill Clinton’s administration, former Hinds County Supervisor Bennie Thompson took over the House seat from the Second District. Thompson has held that spot since 1993 and currently serves as the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Homeland Security. With the tenures of Espy and Thompson, at least one member of the Mississippi Congressional delegation has been African American for the past thirty years. Economically, the Delta witnessed significant change in more contemporary times. At the end of World War II, agriculture in the region was defined by human labor, mules, and sharecropping. From the late 1960s forward, mechanical cotton pickers, plows, and pesticides became the keys to modern farming. The Delta’s agricultural economy had once hinged almost entirely on cotton, but crop diversification took hold in the late twentieth century. The expansion of rice, soybeans, and corn production signaled the end of cotton’s reign in the Delta. Catfish farming, which involved the raising of catfish in high-tech ponds, became an important part of the Delta economy from the 1970s through the 2000s. Gaming Jackpot Perhaps the biggest economic transformation over the past several decades has been the rise of the gaming industry and the financial windfall it brought to the Mississippi Delta. Starting in the 1990s with new legislation allowing for GRAMMY MUSEUM MISSISSIPPI Located on the campus of Delta State University in Cleveland, the Grammy Museum Mississippi is the first of its kind to be built outside Los Angeles. The museum commemorates the wealth of music and musicians that have come from Mississippi and, in particular, the Delta, the birthplace of the blues. The Grammy Museum Mississippi allows visitors to learn about the history of the Grammy awards, watch Grammy performances in a mini-surround sound theater, experience walking the red carpet, and see collections of costumes, instruments, and other artifacts demonstrating the rich history of music making in America and the Delta. The museum strives to educate guests about the important role music has played in history and focuses on how Mississippi music has influenced the world. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE CLARION-LEDGER PHOTO BY HORTON PHOTOGRAPHY, COURTESY OF GRAMMY MUSEUM® MISSISSIPPI In 1986, Democrat Mike Espy of Yazoo City became the first African American Mississippi congressman since Reconstruction when he won election to Mississippi’s Second Congressional District, an African American-majority district covering the Delta.