Editorial Roundup: Mississippi

Greenwood Commonwealth. June 18, 2022.

Editorial: No Giving Up On The Delta

Delta Council’s annual meeting doesn’t draw the news media presence it once did. Friday’s 87th gathering of the regional economic development gathering had no one there from the media outlets in Jackson or Memphis, or from most anywhere else other than Cleveland, Leland and Greenwood.

That absence, though, is more a reflection of the difficult times in the news industry than the difficult times in the Delta.

Sure, this region has many challenges — endemic poverty, high rates of single-parent households, low rates of academic achievement and multiple negative health indicators. One of its most troubling trends is the steady loss of population that has been going on for decades.

But it also has many assets. Abundant fertile land and plenty of rainfall. A music and food culture that are as delightful as anywhere. A low cost of living. Multiple opportunities for those who like to hunt, fish or otherwise enjoy the outdoors. A strong religious foundation and active church life. A uniqueness, a warmth and a sincerity in the people.

That last asset is always on display at every Delta Council annual meeting. People in the Delta are not just tied to the land. They are tied to each other. They have a genuine desire to work together to help this region tackle its challenges so that it can prosper. And they like to have some fun along the way.

Delta Council works hard to lobby for flood control and highways and bridges. It advocates in Washington and in Jackson for farmers and manufacturers. It works to diversify this economy by recruiting new industries. It supports education at all levels and greater access to health care. It gives the 19 counties it represents a unifying voice. It helps groom and elevate new generations of leaders, such as Wade Litton and Patrick Johnson.

Litton, 41, took over Friday as president of Delta Council from Johnson, who is also in his 40s.

Litton, the bright and engaging CEO of Wade Inc., continues a long line of Delta leadership. Both his father, Bill Litton, and his grandfather, George K. Wade, served as Delta Council presidents. The family’s successful farm implement dealership is heavily invested in the Delta, with locations all over the region. The family is committed to helping not just Greenwood but all of the Delta thrive.

We congratulate Wade Litton on this honor. Even more so, we thank him for taking on this important responsibility.

As Johnson, a Tunica farmer, was making some of his last official remarks as Delta Council president, he said something that all of us who love the Delta should embrace. It is a response to those who have written off this region. It is a challenge to those of us who have not.

“And to those that suggest the Delta’s best times are behind us, we look forward to proving them wrong. The history of the Delta is a testament, as William Faulkner so eloquently put it, to a ‘spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.’”

With the leadership of Delta Council, with the help of chambers of commerce and other similar community organizations, and especially with the commitment of all of the people who are devoted to this region, there is no reason to doubt, as Johnson said, “that our best days are in front of us.”