NORTH MISSISSIPPI 463 DUNLAP & KYLE COMPANY More than eighty years ago, Jack Dunlap of Batesville opened a Chevrolet dealership and later sold International Harvester tractors before finding success in the tire business. Together with his son Robert, who joined the business in 1954, the Dunlaps turned their homegrown business into one of Mississippi’s largest and most successful companies. The Batesville-based company now operates wholesale operations known as Dunlap & Kyle Company, Hesselbein Tire Company, and Gateway Tire Company. All retail operations are Gateway Tire & Service Centers in Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, and Ohio. PHOTO BY GREG CAMPBELL The Economy Diversifies Coinciding with the civil rights revolution was an even more fundamental revolution in the day-to-day lives of Mississippians. Called by some historians the “Southern Enclosure Movement” the decades following World War II saw massive rural depopulation and the transformation of agriculture. Across the south, farming became more concentrated, more mechanized, and more industrial. Increasingly modern technologies such as mechanical cotton pickers and chemical herbicides replaced the labor of workers in the field. In 1952, leading landowners Jack Slayden and the Curl brothers, Ralph and John, brought the first mechanical cotton picker to Marshall County. The introduction of an effective mechanical cotton picker made superfluous thousands of workers previously needed to pick the bolls by hand. Southerners left the countryside for urban areas and new occupations by the millions. For generations, large majorities of Mississippians made their living either as farmers or in occupations closely related to agriculture. In 1960 Panola County, 54.7 percent of the population lived on farms and only 11.4 percent lived in urban areas. African Americans, especially, were heavily overrepresented as tenants, farm workers, and sharecroppers. However, even in the rural counties of North Mississippi, the old sharecropping system was being rapidly phased out. Increasingly, Mississippi farmers were abandoning their ruinous dependence on cotton and introducing a variety of new crops.