45 minutes | May 18, 2022

The Great Mississippi Flood | Dirty Water | 2

Early in the morning on April 22nd, 1927, flood waters from a break in the Mound Landing levee entered the town of Greenville, Mississippi. Within hours, the town was submerged in 10 feet of water. Thousands of residents fought to reach higher ground, desperately clinging to tree tops and floating houses.

The flood inundated 27,000 square miles in seven states. Soon, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover to manage relief efforts for the Red Cross. But Hoover’s decision to decentralize relief would have unintended consequences – especially in towns like Greenville, where thousands of Black sharecroppers were virtual prisoners, detained in brutally policed refugee camps.

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