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(L-R) Jabari Wilson sits next to his cousin Korwin "Quan" and mother Ellen in the dining room of the home he shares with his mother, sister Nikki and her girlfriend Dominique in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on Saturday, November 6, 2010. Jabari and his sister Nikki both work to support their mother who has a number of health problems and is unable to work. Quan (center) lost his mother in a car accident as a child and has been raised by his grandmother ever since.

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Poverty and Affluence Live Side By Side in the Delta

The Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Miss., is predominantly black and poor. Across town, life couldn’t be more different for the mostly white, more affluent residents.

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Ellen Wilson smokes a menthol while cooking some french fries in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on Saturday, May 22, 2010. Ellen suffered a stroke a few months after this image was made.

Ellen Wilson smokes a menthol cigarette while cooking French fries in the Baptist Town section of Greenwood, Miss. For the past four years, photojournalist Matt Eich has been documenting life in Baptist Town, a largely black and impoverished neighborhood. He was drawn to the area because of the deep socioeconomic divide between blacks and whites.

While blacks make up the majority of Greenwood residents, they are much more likely to be poor than white residents, who make up less than a third of the population. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 49 percent of blacks and 8 percent of whites in Greenwood lived below the poverty line in 2010. "While we like to pretend that segregation is behind us, the numbers reflect a different reality in the economically-challenged neighborhood of Baptist Town," Eich said.

Matt Eich / AARP Bulletin
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Dialia Wooten walks home from church in Baptist Town, Mississippi on Sunday, May 23, 2010. The youngest of three children, her father is currently in prison for running guns. Dialia's mother Vicki stresses the importance of an education to rise above their surroundings and the children all proudly bring home above average grades.

Dialia Wooten walks home from church in Baptist Town. The youngest of three children, her father is currently in prison for running guns. Dialia's mother Vicki stresses the importance of education as a way to rise above their surroundings. The children all bring home above-average grades.

Once home to blues legend Robert Johnson and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman, Baptist Town thrived as residents worked in industries such as cotton and catfish production. But as jobs left the Delta, Baptist Town began a decline into poverty, unemployment and crime in recent decades. Now the neighborhood sits in stark contrast to the white picket-fenced homes on the other side of town.

Matt Eich / AARP Bulletin
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(L-R) Pat Hawkins, Roger "Winky" Williams, Eddie "Head" Taylor and Robert Pritchett load into a van on the fourth of July in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi before driving out to the lake in Grenada on Sunday, July 4, 2010.

(L-R) Pat Hawkins, Roger "Winky" Williams, Eddie "Head" Taylor and Robert Pritchett load into a van in Baptist Town on the Fourth of July before driving out to the lake in nearby Grenada.

Matt Eich
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A man's hands are covered in car oil after working on a car in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on July 3, 2010. Many residents of the town will attempt to repair their own vehicles, or hire neighbors as a means of conserving money.

A man's hands are covered in oil after working on a car. Many Baptist Town residents will attempt to repair their own vehicles, or hire neighbors as a means of saving money and supporting the informal economy that many depend on to help make ends meet. Blacks between the ages of 20 to 24 in Mississippi had an unemployment rate of about 32 percent in 2012, much higher than the state’s overall unemployment rate of 9 percent.

Matt Eich / AARP Bulletin
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A young man lit only by the dim glow of street lights stands on the corner of Young and Pelican late at night in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on Thursday, November 4, 2010.

A young man lit only by the dim glow of street lights stands on the corner of Young and Pelican in Baptist Town late at night.

Matt Eich
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Jabari Wilson leans over a table while rolling up a blunt in his home in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Jabari Wilson leans over a table while rolling up a blunt in his home in Baptist Town. Jabari lives with his mother, Ellen, and does his best to help support her. He used to work in a local catfish plant but is currently unemployed.

Matt Eich / NBC.com
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Dwight Harris plays pool in Odessa Nicks' one-room bar in Baptist Town, Mississippi on Saturday, May 22, 2010.

Dwight Harris plays pool in Odessa Nicks' one-room bar. Other than a convenience store, Odessa’s is the only building in the neighborhood where people can go to socialize.

Matt Eich / AARP Bulletin
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Friends and family of the Mize family celebrate during a wedding rehearsal dinner on the north side of Greenwood, Mississippi on September 30, 2011.

The Mize family and friends celebrate during a wedding rehearsal dinner on the north side of Greenwood, in a mostly white neighborhood.

Matt Eich
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A home being built in the Robert E. Lee subdivision on the north side of Greenwood, Mississippi on January 31, 2014.

A home being built in the Robert E. Lee subdivision on the more affluent north side of Greenwood.

Matt Eich / NBC.com
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A coach whispers a play to a pee wee football player during a practice in Greenwood, Mississippi on August 2, 2012. Football is a big part of life and culture in the Mississippi Delta.

A coach whispers a play to a pee-wee football player during practice. Football is a big part of life and culture in the Mississippi Delta.

Matt Eich
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The wake of Demetrius "Butta" Anderson, 18, in Greenwood, Mississippi on Thursday, November 4, 2010. Butta was shot and killed on October 27, 2010 by a man he had assaulted a year before. His older brother was shot and killed in 1996 and his cousin, Bianca Keys, was also 18 when she was murdered in 2009. Butta's girlfriend was pregnant with his first child, due barely a month after his death. Violence seems to be an accepted part of life within this part of the community as the cycles of poverty perpetuate.

Mourners attend the wake of Demetrius "Butta" Anderson, 18, who was shot and killed on October 27, 2010, by a man he had allegedly assaulted a year before. Butta’s older brother was shot and killed in 1996 and his cousin, Bianca Keys, was 18 when she was murdered in 2009. Butta's girlfriend was pregnant with his first child, due barely a month after his death. For many in Baptist Town, violence is a part of life.

Matt Eich
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(L-R) Jabari Wilson sits next to his cousin Korwin "Quan" and mother Ellen in the dining room of the home he shares with his mother, sister Nikki and her girlfriend Dominique in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on Saturday, November 6, 2010. Jabari and his sister Nikki both work to support their mother who has a number of health problems and is unable to work. Quan (center) lost his mother in a car accident as a child and has been raised by his grandmother ever since.

(L-R) Jabari Wilson sits next to his cousin, Korwin "Quan," and mother Ellen in the dining room of the home he shares with his mother, sister Nikki and her girlfriend Dominique. Jabari and his sister Nikki both work to support Ellen, who has a number of health problems and is unable to work. Quan (center) lost his mother in a car accident as a child and has been raised by his grandmother ever since. In Mississippi, 56 percent of grandparents are raising their grandchildren.

Matt Eich
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Richard Devon Taylor, 17, (a.k.a “Pokey”) shows a scar left by medical treatment following a gunshot wound. Pokey was 16 when young men from another neighborhood who were “beefing” with the boys from Baptist Town shot him as he walked out of a store around 11 p.m. after getting a snack. The bullet passed through Taylor’s stomach and came out his back. After being driven to the hospital by friends, he was put on a life-flight helicopter to Jackson where they treated his extensive injuries.

Matt Eich
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Sharon Harris' children entertain themselves on an improvised chalkboard made out of cardboard in their bedroom in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on November 30, 2011.

Sharon Harris' children entertain themselves on an improvised chalkboard made out of cardboard in their bedroom.

Matt Eich
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The wedding of Shameka DeShann Wilson and Samuel Lee Smith Jr. on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at Jennings Temple on Avenue G in Greenwood, Mississippi.

The wedding of Shameka DeShann Wilson and Samuel Lee Smith, Jr., on Saturday, February 19, 2011, at Jennings Temple in Greenwood. In the area’s black community, about 19 percent of married-couple families and 58 percent of female-headed households live below the poverty line, according to Census data.

Matt Eich
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Jarvis Benford of Delta Blaze semi-pro football team during a game at Amanda Elzy High School in Greenwood, Mississippi on July 28, 2012.

Jarvis Benford of Delta Blaze semi-pro football team during a game at Amanda Elzy High School. "When you look at the Mississippi Delta, there aren't a whole lot of options, a whole lot of dream chasing going on," says coach Darrell Sproles, 31. "When you add the element of the Delta Blaze, it's a way of keeping hope alive. It's a bunch of guys coming together, trying to make their dreams come true."

Matt Eich
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Dash Brown lights a cigarette in his bedroom recording studio where he makes music with other young people from Baptist Town.

Matt Eich
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A teacher interacts with students at Delta Streets Academy, a high school for at-risk young men in Greenwood, Mississippi on February 2, 2014. Founded in 2012 by T.Mac Howard, a former public school teacher in Greenwood, Delta Streets seeks to equip young men coming from at-risk neighborhoods to be future leaders. Howard became aware of the community's need while seeing the astronomical dropout rates in the public school system. The school currently houses 7th - 9th grades, but they hope to expand to be 7th - 12th grades.

A teacher speaks with students at Delta Streets Academy, a high school for at-risk young men in Greenwood. Founded in 2012 by T. Mac Howard, a former public school teacher, Delta Streets seeks to equip young men from at-risk neighborhoods to be future leaders. Howard became aware of the community's need while seeing the high dropout rates in the public school system. The school currently houses 7th - 9th grades, but they hope to expand to include 7th - 12th grades.

Matt Eich / NBC.com
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Parishioners step into the rain outside of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Greenwood, Mississippi on Super Bowl Sunday, February 2, 2014.

Parishioners step into the rain outside of New Zion Missionary Baptist Church. Religion permeates this rural, southern community.

Matt Eich / NBC.com
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Lorenzo Gore, 20, gives a trim to Thaddeus Walls, 23, outside of Thaddeus's father's shop in Greenwood, Mississippi on January 31, 2014. As I wrote down their names, the dad chimed in to say, "And write down that they're both unemployed and looking for jobs!"

Lorenzo Gore gives a trim to Thaddeus Walls outside of Thaddeus's father's shop in Greenwood. As photojournalist Matt Eich wrote down their names, the dad chimed in to say, "And write down that they're both unemployed and looking for jobs!"

Matt Eich / NBC.com
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Emily Benford hangs a child upside down while playing in front of the Benford family's home in the Baptist Town neighborhood of Greenwood, Mississippi on October 17, 2013. While the Baptist Town community is home to a host of issues, it is also an incredibly tight-knit place where neighbors become like family and everyone knows your name.

Emily Benford hangs a child upside down while playing in front of the Benford family's home in Baptist Town. While the community is home to a host of problems, it is also a tight-knit place where neighbors are like family.

Matt Eich
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