Race and the Storm

In April, 1927, after spring thaws and weeks of heavy rain, dozens of swollen tributaries poured into the Mississippi River, pushing it beyond its boundaries and initiating the twenty-seven-thousand-square-mile catastrophe that came to be known as the Great Flood. The river breached levees, funnelling as much as thirty feet of water into the surrounding areas; swept away homes; and wrought devastation unfathomable even in a region long accustomed to cyclical flooding. Bessie Smith etched...

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