THE NORTHEAST CORNER 429 compensation for Pasto in court, but the city refused to fire the officers involved. This prompted marches that were followed by a boycott demanding more hiring of African Americans by the city and town merchants. In an effort to avoid bad publicity, Tupelo’s aldermen accepted a plan drawn up by Pasto’s attorney. The city hired more African American employees, and racial conflict died out. The brief eruption of racial conflict seemed to have little impact on the momentum for industrialization of the region. The 2007 announcement that Toyota intended to build a manufacturing facility in Blue Springs capped off the process of development of human capital that had begun after World War II. Of the thirty-five companies listed as leading employers in north Mississippi, twenty-two were located in the counties of the Northeast Corner. When Caterpillar announced a restructuring plan to reduce its world- wide workforce, it added employees in Corinth and Booneville. Fortune 500 companies are common in northeast Mississippi in the twenty-first century. By concentrating on education, health, and quality of life, a region that seemed doomed by its history of one-crop poverty as late as the mid-twentieth century has emerged as an economic star in the twenty first. The hard scrabble lives of most people in the Corner produced some remarkably creative musicians. Elvis Presley’s paternal line descended from a female sharecropper who bore nine illegitimate children. One of them was Elvis’s grandfather Jessie Presley who, along with many other sharecroppers, moved into Tupelo. Jesse helped his son Vernon build the house in which Elvis was to be born. Vernon would later be sentenced to Parchman for altering a $4 check made out to him as the price of a pig that he sold. He felt that he had been cheated but was convicted for forgery when he tried to increase the price paid for the hog by altering the check. Elvis’s mother lost their house while Vernon was in prison and the united family landed near the African American residential area. It was there that Elvis absorbed the music that would make him the “King.” Although the family moved to Memphis, Elvis’s homecoming appearance in 1956 was in Tupelo. The adulation of the Tupelo crowds made his return a triumph and demonstrated the region’s appreciation of the culture reflected in his music. The queen of country music, Tammy Wynette, also came from the Corner. Wynette was born Virginia Wynette Pugh in Tremont on May 5, 1942, and lived with her cotton-farming grandparents after her father died and her mother could not support them both. She was an outstanding basketball player, but did not finish high school and instead married at the age of seventeen. Tammy would go on to become a hair dresser and would give birth to three daughters. She began moonlighting by singing in the evenings, but her husband did not support her dreams of stardom. The marriage ended in divorce, and Tammy Wynette’s career took off. She would marry several times, once to country music icon George Jones. Although their marriage would not last, they continued to collaborate even after their divorce. Ironically, Wynette’s most famous hit was “Stand by Your Man.” Despite earning millions as one of the most successful singer/songwriters of all time, Wynette kept her license to work as a hair dresser just in case she ever had to have a day job again. Like Elvis Presley and Tammy Wynette, many families in the Northeast Corner came up through hard times and remember their family roots. The population of northeast Mississippi has made the transition to an industrial economy, but the people of the corner value their culture as it has been shaped by rural life centered around family, church, and egalitarian values. Those values and the work ethic that they inspire have contributed mightily to the region’s rise from poverty to relative prosperity. The 2007 announcement that Toyota intended to build a manufacturing facility in Blue Springs capped off the process of development of human capital that had begun after World War II.