THE DELTA 323 countryside swelled with the throng of new residents. Leflore County, which was formed in 1871 out of parts of Carroll and Sunflower counties, had a population of roughly 10,000 in 1880. By 1930, the county recorded more than 53,000 residents. Created in 1877, Quitman County, in the northern part of the Delta, had only 1,407 people in 1880. Fifty years later, upwards of 25,000 people lived in Quitman. Coahoma County saw a population expansion of more than threefold from 1880 to 1930. Washington County’s population of approximately 54,000 in 1930 was more than double its 1880 population. Bolivar County boasted a population of 18,652 in 1880. The 1930 U.S. Census revealed the county to have a population of 71,051, making it the second-largest county in the state and trailing only Hinds County. Important local and regional institutions emerged during this period of expansion. The resilience of King GROUND ZERO BLUES CLUB Founded in 2001 by Mississippi natives Morgan Freeman and Bill Luckett in Clarksdale, the club serves as the current ground zero of blues music. Ground Zero is an old cotton warehouse next door to the Delta Blues Museum, which was renovated to provide a place for people to experience the food, culture, and music innate to the blues. PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL Cotton led to the creation of not only larger and more prosperous cotton plantations than in the antebellum era but also brokerage firms and merchants who capitalized on the cotton trade. Merchants played a critical role in the postbellum cotton economy by offering supplies and goods on credit to cotton farmers. Unfortunately, the merchants’ insistence upon the planting of cotton in order to receive credit exacerbated the region’s dependence upon the white fiber and prevented the development of a more diversified agriculture. Ethnic Diversity The Delta’s growing population consisted, as it had since the 1830s, of mostly African American and white residents. A changing economy and new opportunities,