Robeson County


Robeson County is NC’s poorest county where more than 34% of the residents live in poverty, according to the 2012 US census. Business North Carolina Magazine commissioned Steve Exum to illustrate a cover story about the county’s struggle to innovate and emerge from its economic challenges. Robeson has a diverse and colorful history of ethnic cultures including black, white, Lumbee Indian and Hispanic. Many of the county’s residents blame international trade agreements like NAFTA and “globalization” as the root cause of economic decline which caused thriving textile industries to shut their doors around the county and move manufacturing jobs outside the US. Thanks to folks like community advocate, Mac Legerton, who directs the Robeson County Center for Community Action and the Director of Economic Development, Greg Cummings, opportunities are emerging for the county. To read Business North Carolina’s full story click here. Photography by Steve Exum