A crisis is a turning point, a moment of instability when problems come to a head and decisive change—toward either improvement or deterioration—is at hand. Much evidence suggests that the rural South is in a state of crisis. Recent events, especially changes in farm economics, have brought longstanding problems of rural life in this region to the fore. The present crisis, however, involves much more than farming. What the rural South faces is a community crisis. It is a crisis that cuts across the whole of local social and economic life in the small towns and rural areas of this region. It involves jobs and income but also services and group life, and it affects the quality of social relationships among people who live together in rural settlements. The crisis in the rural South—a crucial turning point in the history and well-being of the region—is a crisis in communities, but also to no small degree it is a crisis of community.