Utica is a predominately African-American rural town with a population of 869, according to U.S. Census estimates, tucked away in the southwest corner of Hinds County. Also, a majority of the population is elderly and getting older. Abandoned businesses and other shuttered buildings occupy most of Main Street and are prevalent throughout the town.
Initiatives offered by groups such as Hope Credit Union, a community development financial institution, aim to bolsters economically distressed and low-wealth areas like Utica by providing residents with financial and other community services.
This photo essay explores Utica and its people, who symbolize the fight for the future of predominantly black rural areas throughout the South.