Cotton was king in the Arkansas Delta — the alluvial floodplain of the Mississippi River. Just like on the Mississippi side of the river, rich white planters held the reins of political and economic power, while the Black majority worked as sharecroppers and tenant farmers. The Delta’s entrenched racial hierarchy perpetuated Black second-class citizenship. Codified racial discrimination was often accompanied by Klan violence and economic terrorism to stem Black resistance. SNCC began organizing voter registration in the Delta in 1963. The organization saw the right to vote as the first step towards securing Black political power.