THE CLAY HILLS 379 carcass of bourbon democracy” and then pass regulations to curtail the power of railroads and other corporate powers. Burkitt and his followers also made more radical calls for the state to establish warehouses where farmers could store crops until prices rose while issuing receipts that could be used as legal tender. Burkitt and others within the Alliance strongly supported the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 which institutionalized Jim Crow by disenfranchising black voters with its literacy clause and poll tax provisions. The Alliance gave little if any attention to the plight of African American farmers. Theirs was a whites-first-and-only movement. As such, it was more reactive than radical. Their public image declined, and they garnered a lot of bad publicity when one leader fought with another at their statewide meeting in Starkville and then drew his pistol for a duel. The movement ultimately died by the mid-1890s when the candidates they ran for office, including Burkitt, failed to get elected. The Clay Hills thus ended the century on decidedly mixed note politically. Early Twentieth Century—A New Century With Ties To The Past (1900-1945) An uneasy blend of progressive innovation and conservative ties with the past marked the early twentieth- century Clay Hills. In some respects, it was a time of new beginnings. Dairy farming took on new importance in the region as did textile mills. The growth of those industries encouraged migration to the region’s larger towns, most especially Starkville and Columbus. Lumbering and milling took off, and cattle ranching cattle ranching did too. Even cotton agriculture changed as mechanization and the boll weevil affected crop yields and reduced labor demands. The region also gained from new technologies, such as automobiles, planes, and household appliances, which were benefitting all Americans. All these innovations fueled the growth of the areas institutions of higher education. There were also plenty of costs to bear. The two World Wars of the first half of the century brought much disruption and loss. The wars and the production demands they generated in the industrialized states of the Midwest and West, prompted a mass out-migration of some whites and many African Americans who left to seek jobs and new opportunities in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, and Los Angeles. Such massive waves of departures profoundly reshaped the region’s racial demography, reconfiguring the Clay Hills as a white majority region for the first time in its history. The economy of the Clay Hills witnessed several major economic innovations during the early twentieth century. The innovations were prompted by the continued downturn of the state’s cotton economy which suffered another severe decline after cotton demand and prices dropped dramatically following World War I. Noxubee County, one of the traditional cotton-producing counties in the region, led the Clay Hills in production of cotton in 1925 with 25,000 bales. When cotton prices went down, Noxubee farmers added other crops and livestock to their farms to help them make ends meet. With lots of good pastureland in the region, dairying emerged as the most viable alternative. Noxubee County farmers found the combination of cotton and dairy cows to be the most profitable. Some also raised beef cattle and saw considerable profits from that pursuit during World War I. Sheep and commercial poultry raising grew more common. More livestock, in turn, demanded more corn, grain, and soybean production as feed, and this changed the types and proportions of crops planted. With encouragement from International Harvester, some farmers in the Black Prairie adopted alfalfa as well. Raising dairy cows required milk-processing facilities. Consequently, creameries began to crop up rapidly in the eastern Clay Hills after 1910. Noxubee County had two by 1920, and the Macon plant was the only one in the state to produce the dried buttermilk used in poultry feed. Starkville, home to the state’s agricultural college, emerged as the center of the region’s dairy industry in the 1920s. Dairying had been long hailed by some as a viable alternative to cotton. But was not until the prominent Starkville planter and agricultural reformer, Col. W. B. Montgomery, a trustee at the college, brought in the first Jersey cow to the United States in the 1870s that Oktibbeha County farmers and others began to embrace the pursuit. By the early 1900s, thanks to Montgomery’s efforts, the eastern Clay Hills was emerging as a center of the industry. One measure of its success was the founding of the A & M Cooperative Creamery in 1912, one of the first such enterprises in the South. The Cooperative Creamery, which specialized in the production of sweet cream butter, grew rapidly during the 1910s and 1920s. More significant was the establishment of the Borden Southern Company’s (Borden Milk) condenser plant in An uneasy blend of progressive innovation and conservative ties with the past marked the early twentieth- century Clay Hills.