I blogged recently on how the Greyhound bus line is cutting stops to small towns all across the country, including much of the Southeast. This site has a list of all the known towns to lose their stops so far (and it won't end here, as Greyhound says their "streamlining" program is only 62 percent complete). The cuts, it seems, will weigh heavily on rural and small-town African Americans, particularly in the Black Belt cutting across Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and other states. It will certainly have a disproportionate effect on black passengers in North Carolina. (Click here to listen to a report on the Greyhound cuts from North Carolina Public Radio.)

Ten North Carolina towns are losing their Greyhound stops: Dunn, Hamlet, Hickory, Mount Airy, Raeford, Red Springs, Rockingham, Spindale, Wadesboro, and Wingate. Eight of these ten towns have African-American populations well above the state average (ranging from 25.1 percent in Spindale to 56.6 percent in Wadesboro). Those eight towns together are 37.6 percent African-American (compared to a state average of 21.9 percent).

Since the effect of the lost stops is greatest in smaller, more isolated places with fewer transportation options, I think it's significant that the typical loser in Greyhound's effort at greater efficiency is a small town with relatively large numbers of African Americans.

Moreover, it might be a slight public-relations problem that one of the other two towns (the only ones with lower than average numbers of black citizens) is Mount Airy. In case you didn't know, this is the home town of Andy Griffith and the model for the fictional Mayberry, widely perceived as the archetypal American small town.

Archetypal white small town, that is -- African Americans make up only 8.1 percent of its population, though I think you'd guess zero percent based on the tv show.