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AfriGeneas States Research Forum

[MS] A Fatal Flood: Before Katrina

Hi Doll:

The story of the 1927 Flood in Mississippi is best showcased on the Afrigeneas States Research Forum. Hurricane Katrina will always be in the memory of the Lower South. Mississippians surely remember 1927 when another flood changed devastated its people and lands.

"A Fatal Flood: A Story of Greed Power and Race" was broadcast on PBS' "American Experience." Its introduction describes the film as:

"In the spring of 1927, after weeks of incessant rains, the Mississippi River went on a rampage from Cairo, Illinois to New Orleans, inundating hundreds of towns, killing as many as a thousand people and leaving a million homeless. In Greenville, Mississippi, efforts to contain the river pitted the majority black population against an aristocratic plantation family, the Percys-and the Percys against themselves. A dramatic story of greed, power and race during one of America's greatest natural disasters."

The American Experience's on-line presentation features video clips, audio interviews and historical documentation including the efforts of Robert Moton. There's also interesting link to the Delta Blues.

"One window into life during and after the flood is Delta blues music, which was blossoming in Mississippi at the time of the disaster. Blues artists from Bessie Smith to Barbecue Bob recorded over 30 songs related to the Great Flood of 1927. Though many blues performers did not personally experience the flood, they understood the hardships the Delta's predominantly African American sharecropper population faced."

The flood had an devastating impact on the Mississippi Delta. The unimaginable cruelty toward black sharecroppers, the ugly racism, and the greed of the planters changed the region forever. The film summarizes its impact:

"African Americans reacted to the flood of 1927 by severing their ties with the planters of the Delta who had treated them so badly during the disaster. As the Mississippi River retreated, tens of thousands of sharecroppers began migrating to Northern cities."

Please click on the link below and experience Mississippi's Fatal Flood."

K Wyer Lane

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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