426 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI AUTO PARTS MANUFACTURING Auto Parts Manufacturing Mississippi (APMM) is a Tier-1 supplier to Toyota Mississippi, as well as Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada. APMM produces stamped metal and resin molded injection parts for Toyota’s Corolla and Highlander models. APMM started producing parts in September 2011. More than 500 people are employed by the company. PHOTO COURTESY OF AUTO PARTS MANUFACTURING Tombigbee rivers. The Corps and the Alabama and Mississippi congressional delegations sold the project to the nation as a bargain at about $3.25 million dollars, but it eventually cost almost $2 billion. The Corps and their contractors moved more earth than the building of the Panama Canal had required. The Corps had predicted that the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway, known as the Tenn-Tom, would float 27 million tons of freight in its first year of operation in 1985, but that year’s total tonnage reached only a third of that goal. For some years, recreation on the Tenn-Tom proved more significant than industrial use. The states managed almost 90,000 acres along the waterway, and the system proves to be a magnet for sportsmen and boaters. This began to change in 1988 with the closure of the Mississippi River due to low water levels. Barge traffic was diverted to the Tenn- Tom and industrial usage reached its potential for the first time. A 2009 study by Troy State University and the University of Tennessee found that the canal had more than paid for itself. The study attributed 29,000 new jobs in the region directly to the waterway and perhaps that many again indirectly in industry to industry transactions. Researchers attributed $2.9 billion in tax revenues paid in state and federal taxes to the canal’s existence between 1995 and 2009. The development of a reliable water route to the world certainly benefited the once isolated region in the Northeast Corner of Mississippi. Not all segments of the northeast corner’s population shared equally in its economic growth. In 1960, the income of African American people averaged half that of the whites, and three fourths of employed African American women worked as domestics in white households. The Ku Klux Klan had been strong in the corner and African Americans had fled the area since Reconstruction, but that began to change in the late 1960s. McLean had organized desegregated RCDC organizations, editorialized in favor of free public education for all, and developed personal relationships with African American leaders. Through the turmoil of the 1960s, McLean served on biracial committees with Amos Reece, a “black” son of a prominent white citizen who identified with his mother’s community. The color While the region had attracted 200 furniture manufacturing companies, it had also used the Community Development Foundation (CDF) to support existing industries that were being buffeted by international competition.