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Black Belt Action Commission For example, the previously mentioned traditional definition, which is based on agriculture, includes 17 Alabama counties. The definition used by the University of Alabama Institute for Rural Health consists of 19 counties excluding Montgomery, Russell, and Pike counties while including Escambia, Washington, Clarke, Pickens, and Conecuh counties.
Even official numbers can be tricky in the Black Belt. For starters, no one agrees on how many southern and western Alabama counties are in it. Some counts say 19. The commission Riggs heads says 10. Alabama's official Black Belt Action Commission says 12. That state list includes Pickens, Sumter, Choctaw, Greene, Hale, Marengo, Perry, Dallas, Wilcox, Lowndes, Macon and Bullock counties.